According to the National Library of Medicine, Americans get over one billion (yes, you read that right, with a “b”) colds every year. And although colds and cold weather are not necessarily synonymous, right now is the height of cold season, so it seems appropriate to take a closer look at the common cold and see what we can do to stem the spread of the highly infectious disease, and to help those who are suffering from a cold feel better soon.
For some general information about colds, check out this page from the National Library of Medicine, as well as this one from the American Lung Association. Keep in mind that even if you are sneezing, coughing, stuffed up, or suffering from a runny nose, it may not actually be a cold — the common cold can look an awful lot like an allergy, or even the flu. Check out these handy tables from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to help figure out what you might be dealing with.
As they say, there is no cure for the common cold. But that doesn’t mean you can’t treat it. Here’s a list of ways you can help alleviate suffering from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. If you’re looking at trying some home remedies, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has a couple of pages in which they assess different treatments, here and here.
Or perhaps you’re thinking that a good ol’ antibiotic might be able to wipe it out for you. Not necessarily, as colds generally are caused by viruses, which aren’t responsive to antibiotic treatment. Check out this article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help determine if antibiotics will help whatever bug you’re fighting.
After all this, perhaps you’re one of the lucky ones that hasn’t caught a cold yet. If so, congratulations! And here’s a list of ways to avoid getting and spreading the disease.
Best of luck this cold season, and here’s to staying healthy!