How Should I Treat a Cold?
Definitely don't starve it. In fact, you might indeed start with some chicken soup.
The average adult has two to four colds a year. Children get up to 10. Colds are passed by a virus . You touch a doorknob, then rub your eye — that sort of thing. The best prevention: Wash your hands a lot.
If you catch cold, here's what works, according to an article in this month's issue of the Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource:
Chicken soup, along with just about any fluid, can help. Liquids help loosen the mucus that causes congestion. Humidity is a good thing, too. Acetaminophen will reduce a fever and ease sore throat pain. Aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, also are an option but can cause stomach upset .
What kinda works:
Decongestants help ease stuffiness . They shrink swollen tissue inside the noses. But decongestant sprays or drops can worsen congestion if used more than two or three days. Talk with your doctor before using a decongestant if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease, glaucoma, thyroid problems or diabetes. Saline nose drops or sprays also ease congestion.
What doesn't work:
Skip the antihistamines, according to the article. Often used to treat allergies , antihistamines dry up nasal membranes and slow the mucus flow that helps rid your nasal passages of germs.
Cough medicine? Many doctors, including those with the American College of Chest Physicians, say non-prescription cough medications don’t help much.
Vitamins? Most studies don’t support using vitamin C, echinacea or zinc as cold remedies. Ionized zinc lozenges, however, may shorten the duration of symptoms.
If you have high fever, body aches or loss of appetite, it's possible you have the flu instead and should see the doctor, the Mayo Clinic advises.
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