At the Homewood Chiropractic Clinic, we take a holistic approach to the health of our clients. Aside from providing world class chiropractic care, we help our patients maintain their general health and wellbeing by providing nutritional advice and exercise tips.
We also offer advice on ways to avoid common illnesses. In this post, our Fareham chiropractor focuses on a very common illness in the winter months in the UK — the common cold. They’ll share several tips for avoiding a cold, which will help you enjoy a healthy and illness-free winter.
What Is The Common Cold?
The common cold is a viral infection that affects the respiratory tract. There are over 200 viruses which can cause the common cold, including:
Responsible for about 20% of all common colds, coronavirus tends to become prevalent in winter and early spring. There are six species of human coronaviruses known with one of those species having two types. Some zoonotic coronavirus strains are quite deadly, like SARS-CoV-2 (the strain that causes COVID-19).
Active in autumn, spring, and summer, Rhinovirus causes anywhere between 10 to 40% of common colds. Although this virus can make you feel worse for wear, it is unlikely to make you seriously ill.
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
This form of the common cold usually affects babies and young children. In rare cases, it can lead to severe illnesses like pneumonia or bronchiolitis.
This virus also infects infants and young children and can lead to more serious illnesses. RSV and Parainfluenza combined cause about 20% of all cases of the common cold.
The vast majority of cases of the common cold are harmless and only involve minor symptoms like sneezing, coughing, a runny or stuffy nose, mild headache, body aches, low-grade fever, fatigue, and sore throat. However, some strains carry the risk of additional complications like pneumonia, which may be life-threatening.
How To Avoid The Common Cold
#1 – Wash Your Hands Regularly
The viruses that cause the common cold are usually transmitted through respiratory secretions from an infected person. In other words, being sneezed on or coughed on.
Viruses can also live on objects for a short amount of time. So if someone coughs on a table, then you touch the table and touch your face, you may contract one of the viruses that causes the common cold
The simplest way to avoid catching the virus in this way is to wash your hands regularly using soap and water. You can also use hand sanitiser throughout the day and do your best to avoid touching your face.
#2 – Avoid Crowded Indoor Locations
It’s much more likely that you will encounter the virus in locations where there are dozens of people in close proximity with one another. Avoid crowded bars, restaurants, and mass transit as much as possible during cold and flu season.
#3 – Eat Green Vegetables
Green vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which can strengthen the immune system. Eat plenty of broccoli, green beans, kale, spinach, collard greens, and cabbage.
#4 – Don’t Share Drinks Or Utensils
Avoid sharing drinks or utensils with anyone who may be ill, including family members. If you know someone in your household has cold symptoms, have them use their own utensils and avoid handling them.
#5 – Avoid Close Contact With Sick People
If you suspect that someone you know or see in public is exhibiting symptoms of illness, employ social distancing. Social distancing involves staying at least 1.5 metres from them and avoiding physical greetings like handshakes, kisses, and hugs.
#6 – Disinfect Your Home
If someone in your household is ill, step up your cleaning regime. Make sure that any shared spaces are disinfected regularly, including bathrooms and toilets.
#7 – Take Care Of Yourself
Self care techniques can bolster your immune system and make your body more resilient against illnesses. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and exercise during the colder months. You might also find stress reduction techniques beneficial.
#8 – Cut Back On Alcohol Consumption
Researchers recently discovered that alcohol can damage the body’s dendrite cells, which are an important part of the immune system. They found that mice fed ethanol had impaired immune system function compared to mice that didn’t consume alcohol.
That means excessive alcohol consumption may impair your immune system and increase the risk of contracting the common cold. In other words, take it easy on the drinks this winter to stay healthy!