Cold Comfort -- Kiki ClarkHere's what I've read and experienced over the years. I am not a medical professional, merely an informed reader.
There are about 400 rhinoviruses out there, causing the common cold. Once you get one, you're immune to that particular variant, which is why we get fewer colds as we age. You can't catch the same cold again by not changing your sheets or toothbrush after you get over one, nor does being cold or wet generate a cold. It might weaken your system enough to succumb to a rhinovirus that's hanging around, but that's about it.
You start to show cold symptoms two to three days after you're exposed to a rhinovirus. My time frame is a remarkably consistent 48 hours. You're also the most contagious during this pre-symptom time frame. Once you start to produce mass quantities of snot, you're actually slightly less contagious, because your body is fighting the bug tooth and claw. For the average person, a cold lasts two weeks. Antibiotics don't kill rhinoviruses, because they're not bacteria. Antibiotics can help with secondary conditions, such as sinus infections. Antibiotics also depress your immune system, so your symptoms may be less, but this method is not encouraged in the medical profession.
You're unlikely to catch a cold through your mouth, because the rhinovirus would have to survive the digestive enzymes. Mostly, you catch a cold because you handled something a cold sufferer handled, then touched your eyes or the inside of your nose; the virus initially breeds in your mucus membranes. Rhinoviruses aren't that tough, however. Outside the human body, they only live about ten minutes.
Recent information shows that a Vitamin D deficiency makes people susceptible to colds, which would explain why we get more of them during the winter. If you get a lot of colds, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.
Once you have a cold, there are a few things you can do to shorten its duration. Drink plenty of fluids, -- excepting juice, which is full of sugar. Sugar weakens the immune system. It's also possible that a sugar-filled human provides lots of easily accessible fuel for the virus. To lessen mucus production, cut back on fats, processed grains, and dairy products. Vinegar is a natural antihistamine, so have all the pickles and olives you want. You'll sniffle less. Vitamin C is essential for fighting viruses, and taking zinc with it has been proven to shorten the time you're sick. Zinc can make you queasy if you take it on an empty stomach, so after a meal is best.
My personal cold regime, which I am on right now, is the following:
Ionized silver -- Similar to colloidal silver. Can be expensive. If you find it helpful, consider getting the little machine that allows you to produce your own. Silver bonds to microbes oxygen receptors, or something. It was used effectively during the plague, but only by the rich. They used it so much their skin developed a grey cast, hence the term, "blueblood."
Vitamin C with Zinc -- after every meal.
Osha tincture -- Osha is anti-viral, and I always choose it over goldenseal, which is antibacterial, or echinacea, which boosts the immune system.
NyQuil -- Every since I started with this, my colds have ceased to lead to bronchitis.
Chloraseptic -- helps with throat pain, and is also a great cough suppressant.
Some kind of antihistamine in the morning -- Benadryl is fine. I take Zyrtec for allergies, so that's filling the bill. This lessens mucus production, suppresses coughs, everything.
Musinex -- My mother's doctor recommended this, and Mom swears by it. I'm trying it for the first time. It's supposed to break up mucus so it doesn't collect and harden in your lungs or sinuses. It's also a cough suppressant. There's a children's version.
Here's to a healthy holiday, and a resistant new year!