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How to treat a cold: budget funds that really help
How to treat a cold: budget funds that really help

Life hacker found the best cold medicine and found out whether it is worth torturing yourself with mustard plasters and gargling with iodine and buying antiviral drugs.

How to treat a cold: budget funds that really help
How to treat a cold: budget funds that really help

A cold is not a diagnosis. This is a common household name for diseases that attack us mainly in winter and autumn, when it is cold outside.

Colds are recognized by a runny nose, stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, headache, and weakness. Sometimes the temperature rises.

Where does the cold come from?

Colds are not caused by cold, as the name suggests. Typically, a cold is a viral infection, what is indicated on the cards by the abbreviation ARVI.

Around us there are a huge number of viruses that cause similar symptoms. Viruses spread through the air or touch in places where many people congregate: in transport, offices, schools. When microbes enter the body, our immune system responds to the attack and produces antibodies - protective proteins that kill the virus. It takes several days, from three to ten, and then the immunity destroys the microbe.

Viruses spread during the cold season, and it is not known exactly why this happens. There is a theory that at low temperatures our immunity weakens and is less resistant to virus attacks. This means that it is not a forgotten cap that is to blame for a cold, but the body's unpreparedness to fight microbes.

By the way, the flu also belongs to the same "cold" ARVI, but it is a much more complex and dangerous virus. Lifehacker has already written how to deal with it.

How to treat a cold

A cold actually goes away on its own in about a week when the antibodies appear. But we can help the body to cope with the disease more easily.

Stay home and rest

Of course, we are very busy and cannot afford to relax because of a runny nose. But the body is also very busy: it is overwhelmed by the fight against viruses. And his deadline is more important.

Bed rest is just what you need if you feel unwell.

In addition, respiratory viruses (those that infect the respiratory system) are highly contagious. If you have the strength to go to work or school even if you are sick, then think that you can transmit the virus to a weakened person. And it will not be so easy for him to cope with a cold.

Drink plenty of fluids

This is not a "drink eight glasses a day" advice. The liquid is really needed for colds. Dried fruit compote or warm tea helps to cope with unpleasant symptoms. Drink 3-5 more cups a day than when you are healthy.

When there is enough fluid in the body, it is easier for all mucous membranes (which are most affected by viruses) to work. When a person is sick and drinks a lot, phlegm from the lungs and mucus from the nose easily come out, which means that viral particles do not stay in the body.

With a fever, the body loses a lot of moisture, so a high temperature is also a reason to drink a cup of tea.

Herbal decoctions can be added to tea: chamomile, linden, sage. They help alleviate the symptoms of colds and bring at least some variety to the tea menu.

Use nose drops

Nasal drops are different, because a runny nose is different.

  1. Salt water drops … Saline solution 0.9% is a good remedy for moisturizing the mucous membrane. It will help to gently rinse your nose and remove mucus. Some manufacturers offer seawater, but in general, you can use regular saline, which is sold at the pharmacy: it is cheaper. Salt water can also be prepared at home. To do this, a teaspoon of salt must be dissolved in one liter of water. You can bury such water often, every half hour. Then you will really feel the full power of a simple remedy.
  2. Oil drops … Helps when the nose is not blocked. They moisturize the mucous membranes and make breathing easier.
  3. Vasoconstrictor drops … They remove the swelling of the nose, in which it is impossible to breathe. Such drops must be used with caution: do not use them for more than five days, so as not to become addictive, do not exceed the dosage indicated in the instructions, so as not to provoke poisoning with the active substance (this is especially important for children).

Help your throat

Sore throat is best helped by mild therapy: warm tea in small sips, warm gargle, lozenges.

Gargling is better if you feel good about it. For example, the same decoctions of herbs: chamomile or calendula.

Do not force yourself to make elixirs from iodine, soda, or aloe with kerosene.

The purpose of rinsing is to relieve pain and swallowing, not to destroy all living things. The virus still cannot be washed off in this way.

Use pain relievers

When your head just breaks, do not force yourself to suffer and take products based on ibuprofen or paracetamol.

Let the temperature run

Bring down the temperature above 38.5 ° C. Until this figure, it is better not to fight fever, because it is needed to destroy viruses. Of course, if you are not feeling well, then it is better to help yourself with painkillers and antipyretic drugs.

Ventilate rooms and walk

Draft and fresh air from the vent will not cause deterioration. On the contrary, they will help. Airing is a way to clean the air in a room from germs, the simplest and most affordable method of disinfection.

Calm walks in the fresh air also help you feel better, only you need to walk not in a shopping center, but in a park or at least an alley where there are not so many people.

Of course, walking is a remedy in case you feel more or less normal or are already recovering.

How not to treat a cold

It turns out that a cold goes away by itself and there is no need to treat it. But this is difficult to accept, I want to do something as quickly as possible and somehow influence the body - do not sit idly by? But this is exactly what should be done. In case of colds, care and regimen are the treatment, do not underestimate their importance.

When your hands reach for the first aid kit, remember what not to do:

  1. Drink antibiotics … Antibiotics work only on bacteria and do not kill viruses. Drinking antibacterial drugs without indications is dangerous: you can collect a bunch of side effects and grow a superbug on yourself that will not respond to treatment. The life hacker has already written about this in detail.
  2. Buy antiviral drugs and immunomodulators at the pharmacy … They have no proven effectiveness, 100% only work to empty wallets. The same is true for homeopathy.
  3. Put on mustard plasters and soar your feet … What grandmothers and parents love so much is too dangerous: there is a high risk of getting burned from hot water or mustard. These procedures do not kill viruses. I'll tell you a secret that in medical colleges they are held within the framework of the theme "Distracting procedures" so that the patient feels cared for and thinks less about the disease.
  4. Drink handfuls of vitamins … Especially vitamin C. It was once thought to help with colds. This is not true, but old beliefs last a long time.

Why is a cold dangerous?

For a more or less healthy person, a cold is not dangerous. But if you mock yourself and prevent the body from recovering, it can lead to complications. For example, a bacterial infection will join a viral infection, which must be treated for a long time, or a cold will turn into pneumonia. In addition, the infection can become chronic, meaning it keeps coming back.

So any cold is a reason to take care of yourself and give yourself time to recover.

When to Seek Help

More serious illnesses can be hidden behind the mask of a cold. Be sure to seek medical attention if:

  1. Symptoms have lasted for three weeks.
  2. A symptom has become very severe or painful.
  3. It became difficult to breathe.
  4. There was pain in the chest.