By Kennedy Shelley
It is the cold and flu season. If you get one, the question is “do you feed it or starve it?”
But there should be other questions you should ask:
Do I go to the doctor for antibiotics?
Do I want to take a fever reducer such as Tylenol or Aspirin?
These are all good questions because we want the dang thing to end as quickly as possible so the misery will stop, and we can be productive again.
Here are the three major stages of a cold:
Usually, a sore throat starts. Slightly runny nose, some noticeable fatigue. This goes on for a few days.
Runny nose, with congestion. Mild body aches start, getting more fatigued and then you get a cough. This goes on for a few days or so. This is about as bad as it is going to get. The mucus may start changing colors and thicken.
Recovery takes about a week to get back to 100%. You still may be stuffy, but you are on the mend.
Now the question is how you treat each phase of the cold to get back on your feet the quickest.
The first thing people want to do as soon as they get sick is to rush to the doctor and get an antibiotic.
The problem is they confuse their stuffy nose with a sinus infection. Infections are bacteria gone wild.
Colds are virus-based. You can’t stop a virus with an antibiotic.
And there are a host of reasons why you should want to avoid antibiotics in the first place.
These things kill many helpful bacteria, especially in your gut. It can’t be avoided.
Overuse of antibiotics has created super bacteria that are resistant to almost all antibiotics.
Since most people quit taking them before the course of treatment is done because they quit taking them when they feel better, they don’t kill all the bacteria.
This creates even more resistant bacteria.
Some antibiotics have a risk of muscle and tendon damage associated with them.
There is a myth that yellow or green thick mucus is a sign of infection, but that has not been proven true.
So, don’t think you need an antibiotic just because your snot is particularly icky.
“Take two aspirin and call me in the morning” is what doctors used to tell their patients who got sick at night.
But do we want to stop the inflammation associated with a cold?
Well, lets first look at the changes in sprains and sports injuries.
Doctors used to recommend RICE for a sprain – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
All these treatments were supposed to stop swelling and inflammation associated with a joint twist that started swelling.
Recent research shows that actually it’s better to let a swollen ankle swell. That’s the body helping the injury to heal itself.
So why not let the body heal itself naturally from a cold?
Young children should never be given aspirin for a viral condition because of the risk of Reye’s Syndrome.
There are some studies that suggest that aspirin might not only bring some pain relief but might also help cure the body and get rid of the virus.
Either way, there really isn’t a cure as such, but you have a miserable few days. So, embrace it, stay home, drink water and get caught up on your favorite TV shows.