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How to Prevent Common Colds--Editorial

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Prevention is better than cure in relation to catching a cold. Hand washing techniques are to be practiced in order to avoid the spread of pathogens that cause a cold. Health care workers are given instructions on universal precautions at the beginning of employment during the orientation seminars. The top-most item on the list of universal precautions is hand washing technique. After contact with each patient, starting intravenous injections or changing linen on patient beds, health care workers are urged to wash their hands with antibacterial soaps that are provided everywhere or with antibacterial liquids. At present times there are liquids that are 99 percent antiseptic that are placed even at non-medical work places and public places like restaurants and malls. Patients in hospitals are more prone to infections and colds due to suppressed immune systems and should be handled with care. Sneezing in public places, cleaning noses with tissues and touching other objects such as phones, books, pens, papers, clothes, etc... could cause the spread of germs faster. Care should be taken to wash hands after sneezing or coughing so it won't be passed on to others. Infants and elderly people catch colds faster than most others and retain the symptoms for longer times. When an infant or a child catches a cold, care should be taken to change the clothes, sheets and to wash clothes before handling them. Warm and comfortable clothes should be worn. Outdoor activities should be kept to a minimum. The household should be cleaned every day in order to avoid dust and dirt. Everything that a baby touches should be disinfected as often as possible with mild soap and warm water or mild sprays. Baking soda is the best cleaner in the household to take care of baby items. Soaps, shampoos, detergents, and house cleaning liquids should be mild and scent free. Arm & Hammer products are most useful in disinfecting and cleaning any surfaces or objects around the house. Plain warm saltwater is good enough when others are not available. My father used to have us cover ourselves with plenty of blankets and covers so the body will sweat in order to get rid of the germs faster through our system. Hair should be dried properly and socks should be worn as head and feet are the main sources of a cold to enter the body.

The old saying goes "feast the cold, fast the fever," which I find to be true. Getting rid of cold symptoms or getting out of chronic cold and coughs depends on what kinds of foods we eat too. Vitamin C is believed to be the best source in order to avoid and prevent colds because it is an immune booster. Citrus fruits, lemon or orange juices, tomatoes, and tamarind, among other foods, have high amounts of vitamin C. Drinking warm water with a half a spoon of honey and two teaspoons of lemon or lime juice will not only soothe the itchy and dry throat but also boosts the immune system with vitamin C. Chicken soups are the best way to go as far as food is concerned as they tend to keep the temperatures intact in the body and helps in decongestion. Spicy foods are good to get rid of a stuffy nose and nasal congestion and lets us breathe easy. Drinking plenty of water at room temperature will help in clearing stuffy noses and heads and also hydrate our bodies. Avoiding sugary products and oily foods is necessary so we do not get dehydrated. Black pepper is sometimes used with tea or warm milk to clear the nasal passages. Eucalyptus oil was used to rub our heads, chest and back to reduce discomfort and also drops were added to our milk or water to drink. This oil was also added to a plain tissue or handkerchief to breathe in to get rid of stuffy nose and chest congestion.

Antihistamines and decongestants such as Nyquil and Vicks are helpful in suppressing the colds and coughs. Robitussin and sugar free Robitussin are commonly-used decongestants. There are plenty of cold and cough products sold over the counter in pharmacies. Care should be taken when taking cold medicines as most of them tend to make us drowsy. Remember these are all temporary remedies only. Multi vitamins along with plenty of rest and healthy food and exercise are all essential in recovering or preventing these conditions. Until now hand washing seems to the best method of avoiding and treating a person with common colds and coughs. And no matter what we do to treat our colds there is no more perfect cure than mental peace and a stress free life which is in our hands to make. Personally, I would just get into bed, cover myself with lots of blankets, switch on my soft music with lots of chicken broth with lots and lots of black pepper and a nice book in hand when I have severe cold and cough. How could I not chill in bed as long as I don't have to go to work that day? Next time when you get a cold or cough that you cannot seem to get rid of easily, try my way--just chill at home and take it easy because, OUR LIFE MATTERS.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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