Tag Archives: common cold

Cold Care – Tips and Tidbits (Part 2)

Cold And Flu

There are over 100 different viruses that can cause the common cold. The two most prominent are the coronavirus and rhinovirus. While there is no “cure” for the common cold, there are things you can do to alleviate your symptoms and help ease you into recovery.

What To Do When Prevention Fails?

You tried every preventative measure you could think of but still caught that cold, so what now? Well, there are many traditional remedies that may help ease your symptoms, as well as certain over the counter (OTC) medications. Natural remedies also exist that may help your illness pass quickly and quietly. Some of the most widely accepted cold-fighting measures to take include getting plenty of rest, hydrating more than normal to flush out the germs more quickly, and avoiding secondhand smoke or other irritants that may bother your upper respiratory tract even more.

Avoid Unnecessary Meds

Many cold-marketed cough syrups and other medications claim to ‘cure’ but don’t actually work for colds, and can be counterproductive to your recovery. Common cough syrups contain a cough suppressing agent called dextromethorphan (DM) which can actually stall your recovery and can be especially dangerous to asthmatics and children. There is a reason we cough when we are sick; coughing and sneezing are your body’s ways of purging unwanted germs. You want to get that gunk out of your lungs as soon as you can, so let your annoying coughs resound!

Natural Remedies That Help

While many natural remedies have been debunked or remain unproven, there are those that help. Some of the more beneficial ones include:

  • Salt water – The healing power of salt water is pretty widely accepted, and saline nasal sprays can act as decongestants while salt water gargles can help heal sore throats.
  • Ginger and peppermint – Ginger has shown some promise helping with certain bad stomach issues, while peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties and may help with sinuses (in steam) or the digestive tract.
  • Sipping warm liquids – The warmth can break up mucus and get it flowing to help clear you out.
  • Vaporizers and humidifiers – Adding moisture to the air can also help decongest some people.

Meds That Do Work

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil or ibuprofen (not aspirin) can help alleviate any inflammation or aches and pains associated with your cold and help bring down mild fevers. Decongestants have also proven successful for some cold sufferers, as they help decrease inflammation in the nasal passages and airways while helping to soothe stuffiness.

Don’t Run For The Antibiotics!

Many people go to the doctor with the first onset of a cold symptom expecting antibiotics. In actuality, the vast majority of colds are viral, not bacterial, so antibiotics won’t help one bit. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily or too frequently contributes to antibiotic resistance which could work against you when you really need them in the future. Antibiotics also disrupt the gut’s bacterial ecosystem, killing off good bacteria along with the bad. Lastly, antibiotics are medications which, like any, have potential side effects. Too many antibiotics can be especially troublesome for causing diarrhea in children.

When To Visit The Doc

Most colds resolve themselves within 7-10 days, but that is not to say no one should go to the doctor for a cold. If your baby or young child has a cold, definitely take them to a doctor as soon as possible. If you are immunocompromised (hindered by a chronic condition such as AIDS or a respiratory disease) you should also touch base with your doctor as you may need medications (such as corticosteroids) to help your body fight the bug. Lastly, if your cold is hanging on too long and not improving, or you have a high, persistent fever, it is time to visit your doctor, or download the DocChat app to have a video consultation with one of our top-notch physicians today!

Cold Prevention – Tips And Tidbits (Part 1)

Young businesswoman with a seasonal cold and flu


A sick person can sneeze literally millions of virus particles into the air, which can make cold prevention pretty tricky. But luckily there are things we can do to minimize our chances of getting sick during cold and flu season.

Steer Clear Of Obvious Carriers

Adults catch 2-3 colds on average annually, but perhaps those numbers could be decreased a little if we all took more preventative measures. If you work in an office or another public environment, be sure to wash your hands (for about 20 seconds) several times throughout the day, especially before eating or touching your face. If you succumb to the germy habit of nail-biting, stop now. We all know to steer clear of those who are coughing and sneezing, but many people don’t realize just how easily viruses are transmitted. About 80% of contagious illnesses are spread through person-to-person contact. A gesture as simple as a handshake or high five with an infected person can gain you a cold. Even touching an infected surface and touching your face can do the job.

Cold Carrier Etiquette

If you are sick with the common cold, you should stay at home to rest up while it is in full swing until you can better control those coughs and sneezes. When you do go to work, clean and sterilize surfaces frequently and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching your face, or if you must make contact with another person. When at home, be sure to throw out contaminated tissues directly after use. This may seem like a weird tip but tissues left lying around will create a germ free-for-all, putting your family members at greater risk of catching your bug.

General Lifestyle Tips

Exercise, diet, and sleep also have bearing on the common cold, just as they do with almost any illness. It is always a good idea to maintain a healthy lifestyle including getting routine exercise and making sure you are getting enough sleep and rest. Diet is also an important factor, there are various vitamin and mineral rich foods you should be adding to your plate such as leafy green veggies and vitamin rich fruit. A tip-top system will be better at staving off infectious intruders.

Kids And Colds

Young kids are the most frequent catchers of colds, racking up approximately 6-10 a year! According to Pulsus, “Young children have more colds than older children and adults because they haven’t built up immunity (defenses) to the more than 100 different cold viruses that are around.” Young children also catch more colds than adolescents or adults because of such close proximity to their little peers in elementary schools paired with the fact that young children simply aren’t that concerned about preventative hygiene.

Teaching Children Preventative Habits

It is no secret that children are usually the culprits in contracting and spreading the family cold, but there are measures you can take to keep your child (and your family) safer against viruses. Many children don’t wash their hands correctly – or even at all after using the bathroom or getting them dirty. It’s important to instill proper hygiene habits in our little ones, such as how to wash their hands with soap under warm water for about the time it takes to sing 2 run-throughs of the happy birthday song in their heads. We can also stress to them the importance of removing themselves from a group of other kids if they have to cough or sneeze, or if one of the kids in the group is openly coughing and sneezing.

Educate Little Ones About Major Germ Hiding Places

According to WebMD, “A 2005 study of germs in schools found that classroom water fountain spigots and plastic cafeteria trays were the germiest spots in school. The spigot had 2,700,000 and the tray 33,800 bacteria per square inch, compared with 3,200 on the restroom toilet seat.” This statistic illustrates just how important it is to educate our little ones about taking precautions in very germy areas such as fountains. Try filling up a water bottle for the child to cut down on exposure to such places.

Thanks for visiting DocChat for our cold prevention tips. For suggestions on what to do when you can’t prevent a cold, be sure to check back tomorrow for cold management tips and tidbits!