Fighting the Common Cold with Common Cold Medications


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Efforts toward fighting the common cold should include practicing good health habits, focusing on good nutrition and using natural products that support immune system function and strength. Over the counter common cold medications will not prevent a cold or reduce the duration of symptoms and most have unwanted side effects.

Good health habits include hand washing. This may be understood by many, but sometimes it helps to understand the reasons why. Viruses that cause common cold symptoms can remain active on the skin and surfaces for a number of hours. Anytime you touch a surface that someone with a cold has touched, the viruses can be transferred to your hands. If you then touch your face, mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands, then you are likely to become infected. Hand washing gets rid of the viruses. It is also helpful to wipe down public surfaces, telephones, doorknobs and hand rails on a regular basis, with a disinfectant. Fighting the common cold spread in schools involves teaching children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze and wash their hands regularly. The CDC recommends alcohol based hand cleaners when soap and water are not available. These may not kill the viruses, but the rubbing action should wipe them off.

The idea that over the counter common cold medications can prevent a cold has no merit. These may be helpful for relieving symptoms, but can have unwanted side effects and none are recommended for continuous use. Read the ingredients and if you do not know what it is then look it up, before you buy it. Products that contain pseudoephedrine may cause nervousness, dizziness, heart palpitations, insomnia and can be habit forming. This drug is used to relieve nasal decongestion and sometimes as a cough suppressant. Antihistamines, which can relieve itchy eyes, throat and runny nose, can cause drowsiness and should only be used occasionally, when falling asleep is not hazardous; not before driving or operating equipment.

Good nutrition is important for fighting the common cold and for overall good health. It is not always possible to eat the right foods in the right combinations every day. A good age and sex appropriate multi-vitamin is insurance against malnutrition. Poor nutrition does not always have obvious symptoms. Those who have frequent colds or other infections may need to look no farther than their diets. Chronic deficiencies in any necessary vitamin, mineral or trace element can cause frequent infections by impairing immune system function.

Rather than using over the counter common cold medications, try adding natural products that support immune system function. If you do not take a good daily multi-vitamin and you do not always eat right, then you may be suffering from the effects of poor nutrition. Alcohol, tobacco and caffeine can cancel the effects of many vitamins and minerals, so if you use these substances, you may need to increase your vitamin intake. Some natural plant components and herbs have been shown in scientific studies to increase immune system function and may be effective for fighting the common cold . To learn more about these products, please visit the Immune System Booster Guide .

Patsy Hamilton has more than twenty years experience in health care and currently writes informational articles for the Immune System Booster Guide. Visit us at


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