Tips to prevent and recover from coughs and colds.

Tips to prevent and recover from coughs and colds.



 Having recently had covid myself and not feeling quite recovered (and worried about picking up some other lurgey on top of this) I wanted to explore evidence as to what could help recovery and prevention of these annoying  and  very common viruses . Obviously not specifically qualified in this field , neither being an immunologist or naturopath say , please be aware this is an interested , educated but not exhaustive search. Tips and ideas will be explored but no attempt to explain pathophysiology will be attempted here.

According to meta-analysis performed by G Allen et al titled “ Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence “ there are actually ways to reduce severity and frequency of head cold type viruses.

  Evidence about PREVENTION of the cold  lists the following interventions as helpful :
1 physical intervention – gloves, masks , hand washing 
2. Zinc supplements – zinc sulfate 10 -15 mg 
3 Probitics – inconsistent findings so possible 
4 . Vit C – inconsistent findings 

( List of things that were shown to be ineffective for prevention in this study included- ginger , garlic , gargling , echinacea, Vit D, homeopathics,exercise) 

Evidence about the TREATMENT of the common cold lists the following :
1. Antihistamine combination therapy – antihistamine plus decongestant and/ or analgesics
2 decongestants – small but inconsistent results 
3 ipratropium nasal spray ( this is different to a steroid spray ) – some limited benefit 
4 over the counter cough medicine – no help with children and very small benefit adults 
5 Vapour rub – only small benefit to sleep but not other symptoms 
6 NSAIDS eg Ibuprofen only helped pain in some but not all areas of the body ( not the throat ) 
7 paracetamol – helpful with reducing pain and fever only 
8. honey 2.5 -10 mg bedtime 
9 . Zinc supplements
10 humidified air , echinacea, Chinese med herbs , ginseng – results unclear 

( List of things shown to be ineffective for treatment in this study – antihistamines alone, antibiotics, Vit C , zinc nasal spray ) 

Be aware that all things listed above, whether medications or not, have potential harmful side effects . 

The above list is also for mild  symptoms and does not explore therapies given in hospital 
 Key pointsEvidence for interventions aimed at preventing and treating the common cold is frequently of poor quality, and results are inconsistent.The best evidence for the prevention of the common cold supports physical interventions (e.g., handwashing) and possibly the use of zinc supplements.The best evidence for traditional treatments supports the use of paracetamol  and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for pain and fever) and possibly antihistamine–decongestant combinations and intranasal ipratropium. Ibuprofen appears to be superior to paracetemol for the treatment of fever in children.The best evidence for nontraditional treatments of the common cold supports the use of oral zinc supplements in adults and honey at bedtime for cough in children over one year.
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