Got a cold? You’re not alone
By Dr. Sandy Stevens, InterMed Urgent Care
Chances are that you or someone you know has picked up the cold that’s making its way around the area. Adults generally suffer two or three colds a year; children tend to experience more.
Symptoms of a cold usually include sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, headaches, and body aches.
Colds are most commonly spread:
- Through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- By touching a contaminated surface, such as a door knob, counter top, children’s toy, or exercise equipment.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for a cold, and because it’s caused by a virus, antibiotics simply won’t work. The good news is that you can reduce your chances of catching a cold:
Wash hands often
- The cold virus can live on your hands, and regular handwashing with soap and water helps remove them. Remember to wash for 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice). Encourage your children to do the same.
- No soap and water? Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
- Viruses that cause colds can enter your body this way and make you sick.
Keep your distance from people who are sick
- Sick people can spread viruses that cause the common cold through close contact with others.
Clean and disinfect those surfaces where germs may live
Self-Care when you’re sick
Despite your best efforts, you still came down with a cold. What can you do to feel better?
- Get lots of rest
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water (add a squeeze of lemon or honey if you’d like some flavor). Coffee, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol should be avoided, as they make dehydration worse.
- Gargle with saltwater to help temporarily relieve a sore throat. Ice chips or lozenges may also provide some relief.
- Some people find over-the-counter medications, including a nasal saline spray, help them feel better. Unfortunately, they won’t make the cold go away any faster.