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The Common Cold and Cough

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The common cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract (viz) nose and throat, and could be caused by any one of more than 200 viruses. It gets its name probably from the fact that it is the most frequent infection that affects humans.

Many have heard it being said – “If you medicate a cough and cold, it will leave in one week. If not, it will stay for seven days.” When enquired about, it is also referred to as “just a cold”. It is so common that almost everyone has contracted it.

The following prevention tips help, not only for the common-cold and cough, but also in keeping other serious respiratory infections such as the coronavirus away.

Prevention Tips

Cleanliness is key to a disease-free home. It is necessary to use disinfectants and sanitizers to wipe down surfaces that are frequently accessed.

Using disposable tissues instead of cloth handkerchiefs and paper towels in the kitchen area prevents other members of the family from getting infected.

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet – complete with whole grains, pulses, vegetables, fruits, nuts, lean meat, egg and fish keeps the common cold at bay.

Spice up your meals and beverages with cold-attacking pepper, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and honey.

Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or hand-rub.

Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water keeps the mucous moving and relieves the stuffiness that makes the infection most bothersome. Water is also known to be a defence mechanism that helps the body recover faster.

Make exercise a lifestyle. Everyone who has had a cold would vouch for the fact that curling up in bed only makes the congestion worse. A little movement, and there’s relief. Hence, it is advisable to resort to mild exercises and for shorter durations.

Using an antiseptic gargle or just plain salt water gargle clears up the phlegm and soothes the throat.

Rest is one of most under-estimated requirements during an illness, especially with a common-cold and cough. A person who has ample rest tends to recover faster than one who has his nose to the grindstone.

Avoid smoking. It worsens the condition of the lungs that are already struggling. Smoking increases cough and extends recovery time.