Colds - Treat with Common Sense

Catching a cold at an inconvenient time can lead some people to take antibiotics in the belief that it will help them to recover and ‘prevent complications’, but often an upper respiratory tract infection will resolve quite well without medical treatment by using simple common sense measures like rest and plenty of fluids.

It is not uncommon for young children to have had several courses of antibiotics for upper respiratory tract infections in their first two years of life. Research has emerged that these children are the ones who are more likely to go on to develop allergies and asthma, so apart from minimising antibiotic resistance, there is good reason to reserve the use of antibiotics for more serious complaints.

As the decades roll by since life-saving antibiotics were introduced to fight infection during World War Two, the use of them has become more commonplace, for every day less serious diseases than they were originally intended for.

The idea of keeping antibiotic use to a minimum is supported in Australia by the ‘National Prescribing Service’ which campaigns against the use of antibiotics for non-bacterial infections. They produce a series of booklets stickers and pamphlets called ‘Common Colds Need Common Sense – They Don’t Need Antibiotics’. Consumers can call the ‘Medicines Line’ on 1300 888 763.

Colds and upper respiratory tract infections respond best to resting at home and taking nutritious fluids, possibly some vitamin C and zinc, both of which are good at combating viruses. It is sensible advice that many of us do not follow for a variety of reasons – the main ones being time and work pressures. When people ‘soldier on’ and do not rest when they have a cold, it is much more likely to develop into the flu.

It is a normal event that most people with get a couple of colds a year. Staying at home resting when they do has a double benefit, because fewer people are likely to catch your cold – especially for children at school and child care. Healthy people will recover from a cold within a week. Good old lemon juice and honey, freshly squeezed orange juice, and a day or two resting at home can produce startling results that might even be better than a course of antibiotics.

When colds or other infections occur too frequently in adults or children, there may be a struggling immune system behind the problem. In some cases this can be rectified by some good nutritional support, in the form of iron, zinc, vitamins A and C, herbal and homeopathic medicines. When colds are a real problem, and don’t respond to the normal measures, then it’s time to seek treatment. Homeopathic medicines are excellent at managing the acute symptoms of colds, and in strengthening adults and children against catching too many of them.

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