Spend
your winter
cold-free!

In winter, episodes of the common cold are frequent, and frankly, unpleasant. Find out how to try to avoid them.

After barely having recovered from the hectic holidays, you're ready to tackle the New Year and to keep your New Year's resolutions. However, your good intentions can be undermined by the onset of a respiratory infection, such as a cold.

The common cold is highly contagious, so it isn't surprising that the viruses at the root of it take advantage of close contact during the holidays to spread to other victims.

People rarely get through winter without being affected by a cold at least once. Contrary to the flu, a cold cannot be prevented by vaccination. Once the infection has developed, you must rely on your immune system to fight it. Certain measures can help to strengthen these defence mechanisms.

A cold will usually resolve on its own after about a week or two, but not without causing several unpleasant symptoms. Some of these typical symptoms include:

  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • headache
  • fever

Some episodes of the common cold are mild; others can really compromise the affected person's activities, well-being, and quality of life.

Wash your hands often.

Avoid close contact (e.g. kisses or handshakes) with people who have a cold.

Choose a healthy and balanced diet.

Set aside some time to rest.

Get adequate sleep. Quality sleep strengthens your immune system.

Reduce stress in your life.

Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke. Smoking weakens the immune system and exposes you to respiratory infection, among other things.

Daily cleansing of nasal passages using a saline solution can help to prevent the frequency and duration of colds. Including this care in your routine has a number of advantages, especially for babies and young children, due to the fact that they cannot blow their noses. If you have a cold, this also helps to reduce the risks of otitis and sinusitis, in addition to relieving symptoms such as congestion, runny nose, and sneezing.

Because there is not treatment to eliminate the common cold, the best thing to do is to reduce the symptoms you are experiencing. Fortunately, several over-the-counter medications are designed for this. They include:

  • oral decongestants or topically (inhaled through the nasal passages), which reduce or eliminate congestion
  • antitussives, which ease or eliminate coughing
  • antihistamines, which help to control runny nose and sneezing
  • expectorants, which eliminate secretions in the bronchi
  • lozenges, which relieve a sore throat, and
  • analgesics, which fight pain or fever

Speak to your pharmacist to obtain additional information about the ways to prevent colds and to relieve symptoms. Never take over-the-counter medications without first asking your pharmacist for advice!

 

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Spend your winter cold-free!

In winter, episodes of the common cold are frequent, and frankly, unpleasant. Find out how to try to avoid them.
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