Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 29th 2014 Contents Facing that familiar enemy---the
Don t drop your gloves and resign
to days of coughing, sneezing, aching
and nose-dripping. Fight back! The
tips below---many of them old fashioned
and cheap, if not free---will help you
manage those symptoms while the cold
runs its course.
Wendy Bennett, internist at the Johns
Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in
Baltimore, calls this "symptom man-
The actions below are "not going to
decrease the amount of time that you re
sick," she says, "but overall, they ll make
you feel better and more functional to
do the things you want to do."
Here s your battle plan, with advice
from Bennett and William Schaffner,
chairman of the Department of Pre-
ventive Medicine at Vanderbilt Univer-
sity School of Medicine in Nashville,
Hydrate. We might as well scream
this tip from the rooftops. "Drink plenty
of fluids" is likely the advice every
parental figure has drowned you in
since you were a wee, sniffling cold
sufferer. And yes, the long-standing
guidance to hydrate holds water
(sorry)---in fact, it s the first tip both
Schaffner and Bennett suggest.
"If you re drinking water and aim
for a tall glass every couple hours, I d
say that s probably good," Bennett says.
In addition to water, go for teas and
broths. And of course, nothing can
undo your hydration efforts quite like
coffee and alcohol. Avoid these dehy-
drating beverages while you re sick, or
at least cut back on your intake.
Take a hot shower. Stuffed up?
Draw a hot, steamy shower. And we re
talking steamy, not sexy---especially if
you take Schaffner s suggestion: "As
you re in the shower, and the moist air
gets into your sinuses, gently blow your
nose one nostril at a time," he says.
You can also "gather a handful of show-
er water and put it up your nose and
kind of snuffle it up through your nose,
and it ll help open up your sinus pas-
sages and promote drainage," he says.
An abbreviated option if you re con-
gested and don t feel like jumping in
the shower: Run the hot water in the
sink spigot and lean over it with a towel
draped over your head. Breathe in that
hot, moist air.
Add an extra pillow. Here s another
tip for folks feeling like the bulk of their
body weight has gravitated to their
sinuses. Instead of lying awake in bed
because you just---can t---breathe---add
an extra pillow to raise your head higher.
"This promotes sinus drainage down
the back of your throat and will open
up your nasal passages a little bit," says
Shaffner, who is also the past president
of the National Foundation for Infec-
Try over-the-counter medicines.
Remember, we re talking symptom
management. So while those products
on drugstore shelves won t shorten the
length of your cold or kill the virus,
they ll likely help nullify the symptoms.
Cough and cold medications can bring
some relief, Bennett says, adding that
antihistamines may help watery-eyed,
sneezing cold sufferers, and saline nasal
solutions may help folks with dry noses.
Ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help
subdue body aches and slight fevers.
Drink hot tea. Not only is sipping
on tea a tasty way to hydrate, but it
can bring some calming relief to a
scratchy throat, Bennett says. Plus, she
points out, there s something thera-
peutic about drinking tea. "I think one
of the reasons a cup of tea makes you
feel good is because it s a hot drink,
and you have to drink it slowly," she
says. "You have to take a few deep
breaths, and you have to be mindful of
how you re feeling and your environ-
Gargle salt water. A slightly less deli-
cious way to relieve a sore throat: Gargle
a mixture of warm water and salt.
Eat chicken noodle soup. How would
something so classic not make the list?
Chicken noodle soup offers that much-
coveted hydration, Schaffner says, "and
it offers some nice, gentle, easily
Lubricate a chapped nose. "We ve
all been there," Schaffner says. "You
have a runny nose; it s cold outside,
and the openings of your nostrils get
chapped and uncomfortable." How s
this for an affordable, old-fashioned
solution: Shaffner suggests rubbing a
dab of petroleum jelly to the chapped
areas for instant relief.
Get some rest. "Often with a cold,
you ll feel a bit more fatigued. Give into
it," Schaffner says. Now s the time to
go to bed earlier and take it easy.
Continue exercising if you're up for
it. This advice is a bit tricky. If you re
capable of some exercise, go for it.
"Don t train for the Olympics in the
middle of having a cold," Schaffner
says. "But gentle exercise? Yes, it actu-
ally helps. You ll feel better having done
it." Bennett points out that if you re
one to max out at the gym every day,
you may want to cut back on your rou-
tine. Don t lift as much weight; don t
run quite as fast; and maybe sub a yoga
class in for your CrossFit workout.
Just be sure to cover your sneeze at
the gym and sanitise your treadmill
handle. Which brings us to...
Practise proper cold and flu hygiene.
Don t spread your sickness to others,
and don t pick up another person s flu
virus on top of your cold. Cover your
coughs and sneezes, sanitise germy
spots and perfect your hand-washing
Don't take an antibiotic. Remember,
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, January 29, 2014
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YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and advice
beat a cold
the common cold is caused by a
virus, and antibiotics treat bacterial
infections. "Do not go to your doc-
tor or health care provider and ask
for an antibiotic," Schaffner says.
"Even if you have grossly green
discharge from your nose and such,
an antibiotic will not help."
Don't spend your money on
high-dosage vitamin C, echinacea
or zinc. Schaffner and Bennett are
not impressed with these products
that claim to help cold sufferers
and say the research is not com-
pelling. Schaffner says one of his
colleagues puts it like this: "If you
take all that stuff, you re making
expensive urine." Stick to the tea
and over-the-counter symptom
relief, Bennett says.
"I typically don t recommend
people spend their money on that
kind of stuff," she says. "I d rather
they stocked up on the nasal saline
and a humidifier---and work on
(US News & World Report)
Chicken noodle soup offers that much-coveted hydration and it offers gentle, easily digestible nourishment.
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