This Is What Happens When You Get A Cold – And How To Get Rid Of It
Nothing makes the bleak midwinter more grim than succumbing to man flu. Here’s how you can fortify your defences and blow away the rhinovirus for good.
1. Airborne Attack
More than 200 virus strains can cause the common cold, spreading through the air in tiny droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Contact with your mouth, nose or eyes is enough to catch the bug – so wash your hands thoroughly and keep them to yourself. Beware: your colleagues are at their most contagious during the earliest days of a cold. Hot-desk at a distance, in other words.
2. Run With It
Once hit, most believe the cold virus is the direct cause of your chronic nose tap. However, according to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, your symptoms are actually your body’s inflammatory immune response to fight the infection. Your sore nasal passages will continue to produce excess mucus until your cold is defeated. It’s best you stock up on tissues and ride this one out.
3. Play The Heavy
With your body’s inflammatory response (and nostrils) in full flow, your T- and B-lymphocytes begin their counterattack against the infection. If your symptoms are above the neck, you can support them with a workout. Yale University found the virus replicates better at cool temperatures. One 45-minute session will simulate the physiological conditions of a fever, boosting your body temperature and in turn, slowing your immune system’s enemies.
4. Food For Support
Too run-down to train? The old adage that you should feed a cold actually has legs. In a study by the Laboratory for Experimental Internal Medicine, ill subjects who were given a 5 020kJ meal experienced a 450% increase in gamma interferon, a compound that super-charges your immunity. Also, Finnish scientists found that lozenges containing infection-fighting zinc cut cold duration by 30%. They’ll help you suck it up.
5. Down Your Risk
The average man contracts up to four colds a year – so, as your symptoms subside, double down on your defence strategy. The University of Helsinki found that topping up your vit C with a glass of OJ at breakfast halves both the incidence and the duration of colds. Plus, Carnegie Mellon University discovered that stress slows your immune response, so start imposing an at-home email ban. You’ve won the battle – now prepare to win the war.