Many of us catch what we understand to be ‘the common cold’ on an almost yearly basis. The virus which most widely causes cold symptoms is the rhinovirus and it is basically a viral infection of the upper respiratory system. We’re all familiar with the symptoms of the common cold which include coughing and sneezing, a runny nose, fatigue, sore throat and fever.
It’s surprising that there is no medication available to actually treat or cure the common cold, just a vast number aimed at making the symptoms a little more tolerable. Some go a step further by helping to reduce the chance of the cold developing into a more serious form of infection which can take weeks to recover from.
The key to the common cold should be prevention. There are some methods we can adopt to help reduce the chances of contracting these cold symptoms and we need to use these methods particularly during the peak cold season. Maintaining a healthy immune system is the body’s main defense against viral infection, so we should look to improve the effectiveness of our immune system when we are most at risk. Vitamins, minerals and specific types of nutrients may help with boosting our immunity to viral infections and other types of infection which attack the immune system.
In the USA it is estimated that around 500 million colds afflict the population in the course of a single year, which equates to almost 2 colds for every man, woman and child in a single season (Spring and Fall are when most colds are recorded).
Once infected with the cold virus the immune system reacts by: releasing inflammatory cytokines and increasing mucous production and it is in this early stage of the symptoms developing that we need to take rapid action to prevent the symptoms developing further.
Many people think that once they have the early cold symptoms, it’s impossible to prevent the cold running its usual course. This isn’t true, you can do things to minimize the discomfort and actually shorten the duration of the common cold.
The factors which lead to one becoming more susceptible to catching the cold virus are:
– insufficient vitamin C
– poor sleeping patterns
– high stress situations
– lack of exercise
– poor overall diet
– other inherent factors which result in a weakened immune system such as an existing illness or medical condition.
Anti viral medication can be obtained by prescription whereas most of what you can buy without a prescription is going to be aimed at masking the symptoms rather than removing them. There are vitamin supplements with anti viral properties and these include bee propolis. These products may be beneficial as a preventative and to impact upon the symptoms once they’ve been contracted, but there are no real conclusive medical studies relating to human beings.
Generally, any vitamin, nutrient etc with a known capacity to support immune system health may be beneficial in helping to reduce the severity and duration of a common cold.
Amino acids are present in bee products like royal jelly, propolis, bee pollen and honey, so these may help if you’ve contracted a cold. Many people increase their intake of the C vitamin once a cold has been contracted and the general consensus is that this is beneficial. (Taking more fluids, consuming fluids high in Vitamin C like orange juice etc).
We still maintain that prevention is the best course of action, so adopting immune system strengthening supplements year-round is our favored course of action in dealing with (or not having to deal with) the common cold.