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Cold got you down?

by Jeanne Dixon, DOM

It's the "catch a cold" time of year. What should you do if you feel a cold coming on? What kind of symptoms let you know that you have a cold?   Should you take a sick day from work?

These are all common questions I hear my patients ask. The best way to treat a cold is to start treatment as soon as the first symptoms appear. This may be a feeling of tightness in the back of the head or neck, mild achy feelings or headache, chills or feverish feeling.

When symptoms like these start, you can start treatment. Eat lightly! A busy digestion takes energy away from fighting the cold. Chicken soup or porridge are both nutritious and easy on the digestion. Drink lots of water. Bundle up and try to induce a sweat, even if a mild one. A raised body temperature will help your immune system fight the pathogen. Hot herbal teas like chamomile, hyssop, ginger, lavender, mint, or fenugreek are diaphoretics. Diaphoretics help induce sweating and these herbs also have antimicrobial properties and help fight viruses and bacteria. Vitamin C (500mg every hour or two) is also helpful.  

Taking the time to take care of a cold before it develops into a big problem really is the best solution. Once a cold sets in it is more difficult to stop and usually symptom relief and immune stimulation is the only course of action while the cold takes it's course.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are well suited to treat and prevent colds and flu. There are many ready made formulas and formulations specific to the patient condition that can be very effective in stopping a cold, or making the process of the cold much easier to handle.  

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are also very suited to strengthening the immune system of people who easily catch colds, or have never recovered from the nasty cold they had a while back.  

Get off the antibiotic treadmill and use natural medicine that works with your body to strengthen your own defenses!