Driving Through The Cold Season

Sniffles and a cough can’t keep you from getting that load delivered. Though there is no cure for the common cold, there are ways to steer around it while on the road.

It’s not like you can simply call in sick. Sniffles and a cough can’t keep you from getting that load delivered. Though there is no cure for the common cold, there are ways to steer around it while on the road.

OVER-THE-COUNTER RELIEF. While they don’t fight a cold virus, over-the-counter remedies do a good job of suppressing the annoying symptoms produced by it. Cold medicines typically contain antihistamines, for counteracting the body’s natural efforts to repel the virus, and a pain reliever.

Night-time cold meds, often combining antihistamines with alcohol or a nonalcoholic sleeping aid, promise relief from coughing and other symptoms so you can get a good night’s sleep. In addition to possibly affecting your driving ability, some over-the-counter remedies can also dangerously interact with prescription drugs. Pay close attention to labels.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses, but your doctor might prescribe them to treat a secondary bacterial infection, such as in your lungs. If a cold does not run its normal course and lingering symptoms hint at a bacterial infection, go to the doctor.

ECHINACEA. Whereas drugs like antibiotics attack infections, Echinacea appears to prevent infections. It is not effective in treating colds once they have fully begun. It is available over-the-counter in pill form.

ZINC TABLETS. The common dose is 23 mg of zinc gluconate every two hours at the earliest sign of a cold. Studies have been inconclusive as to whether zinc works.

Prolonged high doses of zinc are toxic and should not be taken for more than a week.

VITAMIN C. Studies have found that doses of 1,000 mg taken three times a day may modestly moderate cold symptoms, especially if taken with citrus bioflavonoids, which are the natural pigments in fruits and vegetables. Bioflavonoids can be found in the pill form of vitamin C and are essential for total vitamin C effectiveness.

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CHICKEN SOUP. This favorite will soothe an irritated throat, temporarily relieve congestion and help you sleep better. Although chicken soup has no medicinal benefit, it can’t hurt.

You catch a cold by coming in contact with a cold virus through such activities as shaking hands, borrowing a friend’s cell phone when she has a cold or being in the vicinity of someone who openly coughs or sneezes. To minimize the risk of infection, wash your hands frequently with soap and keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes. If symptoms last longer than 10 days to three weeks or are accompanied by high fever, vomiting or diarrhea, seek medical help.

You are more likely to contract a cold when your immune system falters because of fatigue, stress or another illness. That’s why the first thing you can do to prevent a cold is to exercise, eat well, drink plenty of fluids, sleep well and manage day-to-day stress.

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