It's that time of year again. The wind is bustling, hats
and jackets are rustling, holiday hoopla is all around, and
coughs and sneezes are a common song.
With the average adult contracting about three colds per
year, and children getting an average of eight annually, the
"common cold" is the most infectious disease in
the United States.
So if the cold strikes you or your family this season, as
odds suggest it will, what do you plan to do?
How about "Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold?" You've
probably heard this saying many times before, but is it really
good advice? Will it rid you of your fever? Can it banish
the sniffles, chills, and wheezing and relieve you of that
It is estimated that during a one-year period, people
in the U.S. will suffer one billion colds collectively.
Provoking inflammation of the membranes in the lining
of the nose and throat, colds can be the result of more
than 200 different viruses.
Fever vs. Cold
Your body registers a normal internal temperature of 98.6
degrees. When you have a fever, your body is destroying germs,
bringing them to a temperature at which they can't survive.
In fact, a fever is part of your body's miraculous healing
On the other hand, a cold is basically a nasal infection.
It can lead to sore throats and other things, but a cold lives
and dies in your nose.
Although it can happen anytime of year, you are most likely
to catch the common cold during the fall and winter seasons.
This may be attributed to the fact that:
More people are indoors and closer to one another
Many viruses thrive in low humidity, making the nasal
passages drier and more vulnerable to infection.
Most colds are caused by rhinoviruses ("rhin" is
the Greek word for nose) that are found in invisible droplets
in the air you breathe, or on things you touch. Amazingly,
more than 100 different rhinoviruses can penetrate the protective
lining of your nose and throat triggering this immune system
The Symptoms of a Cold
There's no doubt that you've had the misfortune of dealing
with a cold before, so you can probably recall the first symptoms
of this unpleasant disease. You often have a trickle in the
throat, then your nose gets congested or runny, and a persistent
cough starts to develop. Some other symptoms that may develop
are muscle aches, loss of appetite, and fatigue.
Unfortunately some of these symptoms can last about 7-10 days
no matter what you do or eat. Since colds are a viral infection,
there is no cure and antibiotics will not help.
Okay, so what should you do?
When you're sick, your appetite often decreases because
food doesn't taste as good and you're tired. Fighting
off a cold or flu demands energy. You're best off eating
light, healthy food such as soups made with broths and
loaded with veggies. Drinking lots of water is of course
a key strategy, too.
Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold
Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold is an old saying dating
back hundreds of years to ancient medicine. The idea at the
time was that if you're hot, you need to put less fuel into
your body so you'll cool off (starve a fever). If you have
a cold and are chilled or weak, you need to eat to stoke up
your internal fires (feed a cold.)
Contrary to the above, when your body is fighting infection,
it needs plenty of nutrients, fluids, and rest. If you don't
eat, your body will not have the energy it needs to fight.
As discomforting as a fever is, it is not harmful in and of
itself. It simply means your body is fighting back and trying
to mend itself.
According to Dr. Michael Raffinan "For every degree
your temperature is up, you burn more calories." Your
appetite may be down, but you need to meet the higher metabolic
requirements with watered-down juice and foods to prevent
Consciously "starving" a
fever is a horribly bad idea. For every one degree
rise in your body temperature, there's an estimated 7% increase
in basal metabolism - the rate at which the body burns calories
to carry out functions like breathing and pumping blood through
Stop It Before It Starts!
It's a cliché of clichés now, but still true:
the best way to fight illness is to prevent it. Several things
you can do to keep from getting a cold or passing one on to
Get plenty of rest and exercise
Wash your hands frequently during cold season
Avoid being close to those who have colds
If you sneeze or cough, cover your nose or mouth
Keep your home and personal space in your office clean
with proper cleaning tools (such as PerfectClean - read
more about PerfectClean now.)