More and more people are coming down with the common cold. The cold weather is not to blame; rather being stuck indoors in close proximity other infected people spreads the illness more at this time of year. The common cold, also known as a viral upper respiratory tract infection, is a contagious illness that can be caused by a number of different types of viruses. Because of the great number of viruses that can cause a cold, the body never builds up resistance against all of them. For this reason, colds are a frequent and recurring problem. Symptoms of a common cold include nasal stuffiness and drainage, sore throat, hoarseness, cough, and perhaps a fever and headache. Many people with a cold feel tired and achy and symptoms typically last from 3-10 days. Although there is no way to prevent the common cold, there are some steps you can take to lessen your chances of becoming sick.
The single best way to avoid catching a cold is to thoroughly wash your hands -- before eating, when preparing food, after using a phone, light switch or door knob, and any time you touch something someone else may have touched! That is a lot of hand washing, but it is worth it if it protects you! Hand washing is so important because colds are spread mostly by hand-to-hand contact. To review how to wash properly:
- Wet your hands and apply liquid or clean bar soap.
- Place bar soap on a soap dish that allows it to drain.
- Rub your hands together vigorously, scrubbing all surfaces for 15 to 20 seconds. That's about how long it takes to hum "Happy Birthday" twice.
- Rinse thoroughly and dry your hands. Use paper towels to dry and then to turn off the faucet, turn off the light and open the door to avoid re-infecting with the same places you touched prior to washing.
- In the absence of soap and water, use alcohol-based disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers.
Other basic prevention tips include:
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes without first washing your hands.
- Do not share cups or utensils with family members.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue yourself. Then wash hands!
- Avoid sharing personal items like toiletries, towels, and pillows.
- Get proper rest and good nutrition to help improve resistance.
You should make these precautions become permanent habits, even when others around you do not seem sick. People are often too late in guarding against infection because they were probably exposed to the virus before symptoms appeared.
If you do end up sick with a cold, zinc tablets may help reduce the duration of your symptoms. In a recent trial, zinc gluconate lozenges reduced the duration of symptoms from a common cold by about 3 days if started within the first 24 hours of symptoms. Also, Vitamin C, if taken on a regular basis, can help reduce the duration of symptoms from a common cold. It does not prevent you from getting a cold, however, and starting it after you have a cold doesn't help either.
Conshohocken Physical Therapy is not an ordinary Physical Therapy clinic. We believe in changing your life. We are driven by the desire to make a positive impact, both personally and therapeutically, on every person who enters our office.
You will experience pain relief, improved motion and a greater quality of life. Our approach is friendly, evidence-based and innovative and our Doctors of Physical Therapy have the most specialized training in treating your body.
Learn more about Conshohocken Physical Therapy by visiting us online at www.conshypt.com.