10 Things You Didn't Know About Colds

cold flu scott olson getty images 10 Things You Didn't Know About Colds

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

It’s raining; it’s pouring; here comes cold season! Not prepared? Don’t worry. We’ve got advice on how you can avoid, fight, and get over the common cold.

1. It takes about 48 hours to infect you and make you sick.

Shaking hands with Mr. Sicky McSickerton two days ago. He’s probably the one who made you sick. Ron Eccles, BSc, PhD, DSc, director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University in the U.K. gives this rule of thumb about cold onset: “Cold viruses do not usually cause fever in adults,” he says. “Sudden onset, fever and cough are the best predictors of influenza.”

2. The best cold-fighting weapon may be your tennis shoes.

Exercise is one of the best ways to fight a cold and booster the immune system. To ward off colds completely this season, work out at least 5 days per week. A brisk 30-minute walk 5 times per week might be all you need. “Mild exercise is good as it moves the blood around the body and also moves the immune white cells around to search for infection,” says Dr. Eccles.

3. Late nights could be contributing to your sniffling and sneezing.
If you got fewer than seven hours of sleep last night, you’re three times more likely to catch a cold. It’s also important to increase your “sleep efficiency.” For instance, study participants who spent less than 92 percent of their time in bed asleep were at least five times more likely to pick up a cold virus than those who fell asleep quicker and stayed asleep longer.

4. A tall glass of orange juice isn’t a cold cure-all.

Researchers at Australian National University and the University of Helsinki say that for the majority of people, vitamin C does nothing to prevent or reduce the symptoms of a cold. But, a daily dose of vitamin C may reduce your chances of catching a cold by about half. Eat up on these foods: oranges and citrus, of course, and also papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, red peppers and kiwi.

5. There’s a flower that may help fight cold viruses.

University of Connecticut researchers put the Echinacea flower to the test recently, and they reported that not only did Echinacea cut the chances of catching a cold in half, but also those study participants who took it reduced the duration of their colds by about 1.4 days.

6. A cold virus could make you fat.

According to researchers at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, they found that kids who had been infected by adenovirus 36, a common cold virus that causes typical cold symptoms and sometimes gastrointestinal issues, were, on average, 50 pounds heavier than children who hadn’t been infected by the strain, suggesting that a viral infection may cause excess weight gain.

7. Hot drinks can help zap the symptoms of cold viruses.

Not only does tea and hot soup feel good when you are sick, it’s good for you. According to a study published in a recent issue of the journal Rhinology, researchers in England say that simply sipping a hot beverage can provide immediate and sustained relief from your worst cold symptoms, like coughing, sneezing, runny nose, sore throat and fatigue. Try herbal tea with a squeeze of lemon and one teaspoon of honey, which has also been proven to soothe sore throats.

8. An ingredient found in breast milk can make you feel better fast.

Tom Bayne, DC, a practitioner with ChicagoHealers.com says, “A derivative of lauric acid, monolaurin, is a fatty acid found naturally in breast milk,” explains “It is known to decrease symptoms of the flu and fatigue.” You can find monolaurin supplements at any health food store or vitamin shop and at most pharmacies.

9. The average person gets 200 colds in his or her lifetime.

By 75, you’re likely to have suffered through 200 colds. But while children typically get between four and eight colds per year, older people get a break from them. Experts believe this is due to the fact that most elderly people have already been exposed to the majority of cold viruses circulating. But, adds Dr. Eccles, a new virus can be devastating to the elderly, often manifesting in upper respiratory illness.

10. Colds are really not that contagious.

“Colds are not very contagious, and most colds are caught at home from kids and partners from prolonged and close contact,” says Dr. Eccles. In other words, no need to don a mask in public—just use common sense.

[Source: Yahoo! Health]


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