Runny nose? Check. Scratchy throat? Check. Watery eyes? Check. Cough and congestion? Check. If you?re experiencing any of all of these symptoms, you may be coming down with something. And that ?something? is most likely the common cold.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the common cold accounts for approximately 22 million school days lost in the U.S. each year. Their sheer quantity is mind-boggling, with some experts claiming Americans suffer one billion colds per year.
What exactly is the common cold? A viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, it is typically obtained by touching your eyes or nose after coming in contact with germ-laced surfaces. While there are more than 200 different types of viruses, the most prevalent are rhinovirus, coronavirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that account for 10-40%, 20% and 10% of cases, respectively.
Cold symptoms usually kick in within three days of exposure, and can last anywhere from two days to two weeks. The good news is that unlike other viral infections, the common cold isn?t typically accompanied by a high fever or overwhelming fatigue. But you?ll still be in a world of hurt, with sneezing, slight body aches, and draining mucus adding to your already-long list of symptoms.
While colds are commonplace, especially in cooler months where your nose?s lining gets drier and is more susceptible to a viral infection, they can be effectively staved off. Dr. Sergey Kalitenko, a holistic doctor with two practices in the New York City area, advocates taking plenty of vitamins and taking good care of your mind and body. As someone who has naturally fortified his immune system, and as a result has not been sick for at least five years, Dr. Kalitenko recommends getting adequate amounts of vitamins C and D. He also suggests consuming enough zinc along with copper, as zinc taken alone my block copper absorption, and addressing any sources of chronic inflammation (such as allergies, sinuses, gut and teeth) that may compromise your immune system.
But what if it?s too late ? and you?re already sick? Dr. Kalitenko offers these common-sense cures for the common cold:
- Consume adequate amounts of vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc
- Reduce your stress levels to ensure you have enough of the cortisol hormone in your system to suppress inflammation
- Get plenty of rest and quality sleep
- Stay well-hydrated - with hot tea with lemon being especially soothing for a raw, scratchy throat
- Eat plenty of protein
- Gargle with warm salt water
And yes, the age-old adage of homemade chicken soup having medicinal properties still rings true today. A natural common cold solution, this popular comfort food also packs a solid nutritional punch.
As temperatures and humidity levels drop, the need to be even more aware of the potential for a common cold concomitantly rises. Adopting a few simple nutritional and lifestyle strategies standpoint may be enough to ward it off ? or to mitigate its impact and duration if you are exposed to a virus.
For more information about how to address the common cold from a holistic perspective, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kalitenko at his Brooklyn office (718-382-9200) or Great Neck office (516-467-0253.)