Top tips to prevent the common cold

Top tips to prevent the common cold

30 Dec 2021

When we see people with a runny nose, sore throat, paired with coughs and sneezing, we immediately associate this with the common cold. The common cold is not typically regarded as something too serious, and we usually treat it with rest and over-the-counter medication.

How to prevent the flu

In medical terms, the common cold is a viral infection of your nose and throat (upper respiratory tract) which is most commonly caused by rhinoviruses (1). The virus can enter your body through the mouth or nose. It can be transmitted in droplets in the air, likely from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. It can also be transmitted through objects and surfaces that come into contact with the virus (1).

For adults, the suggested immediate action is adequate rest and an increase in fluids to help your body recover, but a visit to the doctor may still be necessary. Whilst children or newborns may experience a fever, or even difficulty breathing, in which case medical attention should be sough immediately.

The flu vs. the common cold

Often mistaken as a common cold, the flu is actually a more serious condition. The flu, caused by the influenza virus, mimics the symptoms of a common cold which can be indistinguishable (2). However, the flu is known to cause more serious complications. As such, the Australia Department of Health recommends an annual immunisation as the influenza virus is constantly changing, and vaccines change accordingly (3). It also recommends getting vaccinated during autumn as it can provide protection in time for peak influenza season, winter (3). However, you can opt for vaccination any time of the year as influenza can circulate in the community all year round (3).

There is no cure for the common cold. While over-the-counter medicines can reduce the symptoms, you typically just need to let your body recover. And while antibiotics can fight off infections caused by bacteria, they don’t work on the viruses that cause the common cold.

How to prevent the flu and the common cold

If you already have a cold, you could simply try to relieve the symptoms with vitamin C or other natural remedies. It would typically take around 7 to 10 days to completely cure.

However, there are several ways of reducing the chances of catching the common cold entirely.

If there is anything we have learned and are continuing to learn from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is that good hygienic practices are a stellar defense against viruses. When we leave our homes and are exposed to the outside world, we tend to touch and interact with many surfaces and elements. This is a prime method of transmission of a virus.

Avoid touching your mouth, nose, or eyes, as these are passages through which viruses can enter your body. When you get the chance, wash your hands, preferably with warm water and soap. Do this especially before eating or before interacting with people, particularly those who are more susceptible to the virus such as children, the elderly, or immuno-compormised (4).

Keep your immune system robust and healthy. The immune system is our body’s first line of natural defense against viruses and infections. You can start by maintaining a healthy diet and getting the right amount of sleep every night.

The best remedy is prevention. Wherever possible, avoid situations where the likelihood of spreading the virus is higher. Avoid close contact with people who exhibit symptoms. Move away and cover your mouth and nose if you need to cough or sneeze, and wash your hands after. Cleaning surfaces is important to prevent further spreading. Finally, protect others by staying home if you are sick. This is as important as staying away from those who are sick.

Combating the flu and common cold with supplementation

While keeping your immunity up is best done with a healthy diet, we aren’t always able to get the nutrients we need from the foods we eat. Supplements such as the following can help you achieve your daily requirement of nutrients to help manage the flu and common cold:

How to prevent the flu

Zinc

Zinc supplements support healthy immune system function. A 2015 analysis of clinical trials found that zinc helps to reduce the length of colds when taken within 24 hours of symptoms starting (4).

Vitable Zinc supplements are in the form of zinc citrate which is one of the most easily absorbed forms.

Vitamin C

Another good support for immunity that most of us are probably familiar with is vitamin C. Commonly associated with the upkeep of a healthy immune system, it is said that this vitamin is not a sure fire way to prevent the flu or the common cold, but it can reduce the chances of catching it. Whilst vitamin C is not a cure if you already have a cold, studies evaluating its effectiveness during acute illness show, at best, an 8% speedier recovery — meaning you’ll feel better 13 hours sooner during a typical seven-day illness (4).

Vitamin C Plus from Vitable is paired with Rosehip extract that contains naturally occurring carotenoids as beta-carotene or lycopene. It supports and maintains healthy immune system function.

Probiotics

Vitable’s Daily Probiotics are a premium blend of gut-friendly bacteria that can help support healthy immune function. Studies have shown that probiotics appear to support the body's immune system function (4).

Iron

Iron helps the immune system fight illness and helps maintain healthy immune system function.

*Iron should only be taken if prescribed by your doctor.

B complex and vitamin B12

A deficiency of vitamin B in the body may affect immune system function (8). In addition, B12 helps support healthy immune system function.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha from Vitable can help promote the body’s response to stress. Our formulation contains ashwagandha as well as Ziziphus and Schizandra that are adaptogenic herbs helping the body’s adaptation to stress.

Not only are Vitable Australia’s personalised vitamin packs customisable for your specific needs; they can also be delivered straight to your doorstep through our vitamin delivery services. While there is no cure yet for the common cold, this convenient, holistic vitamin supplements solution offered by Vitable is just what you need to fight it off when paired with a healthy and well-rounded diet.

Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:

Zinc | Vitamin C | Probiotics | Iron | B complex | Vitamin B12 | Ashwagandha

*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.

References:

  1. Mayo Clinic. Common cold. Published on https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/symptoms-causes/syc-20351605. Accessed Nov 8, 2021.
  2. CDC. Flu Symptoms and & Complications. Published on https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.htm. Accessed Nov 8, 2021.
  3. Australian Department of Health. Influenza (flu) immunisation service. https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-services/influenza-flu-immunisation-service. Accessed Dec 14, 2021.
  4. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. 5 Tip: Natural Products for the Flu and Colds: What Does the Science Say? Published on https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/tips/tips-natural-products-for-the-flu-and-colds-what-does-the-science-say. Accessed Nov 7, 2021.
  5. Health Essentials. Will Vitamin C or Zinc Help Me Get Over My Cold Faster? Published on https://health.clevelandclinic.org/can-immune-boosters-with-vitamin-c-or-zinc-help-my-cold/. Accessed Nov 8, 2021.
  6. Shawn Bishop. Probiotics May Be Effective in Preventing the Common Cold. Mayo Clinic. Published Feb 8, 2013 on https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/probiotics-may-be-effective-in-preventing-the-common-cold/. Accessed Nov 7, 2021.
  7. Piedmont Healthcare. 10 Ways to Prevent the Cold and Flu. Published on https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/10-ways-to-prevent-the-cold-and-flu. Accessed Nov 8, 2021.
  8. Immunomodulation by vitamin B12: augmentation of CD8+ T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cell activity in vitamin B12-deficiency patients by methyl-B12 treatment. National Center of Biotechnology Information. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10209501/. Accessed Dec 14, 2021