Combat pesky germs with preventative measures

Combat pesky germs with preventative measures

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With the seasons changing and the dry air swirling around, the common cold is spreading quickly and putting students out of commission. Once one person has it, more people catch it, and it feels like a never-ending cycle of pain attempting to drive you crazy.

If you are looking for ways to combat the cold without using over-the-counter medications, here are some tips on natural ways to fight back.

The first step to overcoming your cold is to identify it as the monster infection it is. Pacific’s Health Services reports the common cold is “a mild viral infection involving the nose and respiratory passages.” The symptoms of a cold can be confused with allergies, but there are several differentiating characteristics between them.

WebMD lists the major differences between these two illnesses, stating that people catch colds from various viruses and get allergies from an overactive immune system. The website reveals that a cold can last up to two weeks, while allergies affect someone as long as they are near the irritant. While a cold can take longer to reveal itself, allergies attack immediately after someone is exposed to the allergen. Both a cold and allergies can share similar symptoms, but someone with allergies will not have aches or a fever, unlike someone with a cold.

After you have determined whether you have a cold, the next step is to treat it. As one of the symptoms of a cold is trouble breathing or excessive mucus in the throat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you use a humidifier to alleviate the congestion in your chest and the mucus in your throat.

If you have trouble with a runny nose, WebMD provides a home remedy for a nasal spray that can clear it up: “Mix 3 teaspoons of iodide-free salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Place in an airtight container. Add 1 teaspoon of this mixture to 8 ounces of lukewarm boiled or distilled water. Fill a bulb syringe with this solution (or use a Neti pot, available at most health foods stores). Lean your head over a basin, and using the bulb syringe, gently squirt the salt water into your nose. Hold one nostril closed by applying light finger pressure while squirting the salt mixture into the other nostril. Let it drain. Then treat the other nostril.”

To alleviate a scratchy or sore throat, WebMD further suggests you gargle with salt water about four times a day. Use about half a teaspoon of salt for every 8 ounces of warm water and allow it to dissolve completely before use. If your sinuses are bothering you, apply hot packs to your sinuses to clear the congestion and discomfort.

When you have a cold and are dreading the pharmacy, use these tips to get better fast!

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Allison Williford

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