It's the season for getting a cold. The number of colds go up in fall and winter as we move inside and holiday gatherings bring us together. An adult may average 2-4 colds a year and a child may get double that number. Colds develop 1-3 days after exposure and usually last about a week. Here are the answers to four important questions about colds.
How do you get a cold?
-One of the over 200 viruses, most often the rhino virus travels through the air from a person with a cold as they cough,sneeze or just talk
-The virus can live on skin for 4-5 hours and also on keyboards, phones, and door handles for at least that long
-The virus enters the body of the next victim through the nose and mouth
-Avoiding colds means protecting these areas
What's the best treatment?
-Fluid but no caffeine or alcohol
-Chicken soup, it's anti-inflammatory and thins out mucus
-Flush out the nose with saline
-Gargle with warm salt water
-Relieve pain with Tylenol, Aleve or Advil, aspirin is fine for adults.
-Honey at night to stop cough
What other remedies exist?
-Echinacea may lessen symptoms
-Vitamin C not for preventiom but large dose taken at the beginning may shorten duration
-Zinc might reduce symptoms but don't use the spray
When do I see the doctor?
-Temperature above 102
-Cough with colored sputum that persists it could be bronchitis or pneumonia
-Persistent sinus pain