Water and the Common Cold
It's that time of year again: the season of colds, coughs, and flu. Most adults are likely to suffer an average up to four times a year, and children even more frequently. Just think of the yearly economic burden through lost workdays - around 3 billion Euros! And there is nothing we can do about it. Or, is there?
The runny nose, fever, sore through, etc. are all familiar symptoms of the common cold, an ailment where doctors and pharmaceutical companies have still not made a miracle cure discovery. In fact, the over-the-counter drugs available only battle the symptoms, and not the cause. The fact of the matter is that little can actually be done once a cold or flu virus sets in, except to ride them out.
The best way to fight a cold is to prevent it from overtaking the body in the first place. There are ways to prevent the flu and colds, including washing hands frequently, taking vitamins and avoiding people who have them. But perhaps the most important and easiest form of prevention of the common cold is sometimes also the most overlooked: sufficient fluid replacement. Fluids flush out harmful impurities and toxins in our bodies, and aid in the production of mucus. Since the body uses even more fluid than usual when fighting off a cold or the flu, the body can be left severely dehydrated without it. Dehydration, among many things, can result in high fever. This is why extra water should be ingested when suffering these symptoms. In fact, the lack of water can make the cold and/or cough worse.
Water is obviously the fluid of choice, but juice, tea and soup broth are also acceptable. Water in other forms can be of help too. Hot beverages can be soothing to a sore throat and can even help with decongestion. Also recommended is gargling salt water, and inhaling moist air, possibly through a humidifier.
In natural medicine, colds are looked at as the body's way of detoxifying. During the autumn and winter, our bodies actually attempt to harmonize with the season. The body then condenses waste and cleanses excess mucus and congestions from tissue, which will improve circulation and get the blood pumping to keep us warm. However, this process gives flu like symptoms. Drinking more water will help the body detoxify. Exercise and sweating can also help keep the body clear of toxins.
In the way of coughs, drinking the proper amount of water will keep the mucus lining in the lung area thin and lubricated, making it easier to have a productive cough. Water will also help loosen phlegm, and just plain soothe an irritated throat.
Not only can water help prevent a cold, but it can also help sufferers feel better. More water in essence can build a stronger immune system, so drink up and stay healthy, and actually enjoy the cold season!