As "banal" as the infection is, it is all the more annoying: the harmless cold, known by the medical profession as "grippal" or just "banal infection", manifests itself in familiar symptoms such as coughing, runny nose or hoarseness. What preventive measures can do to beat colds? "Nothing," says Michael Kunze, social doctor at MedUni Vienna. While flu medication can be prevented in the case of a real flu, the only real theoretical protection against colds would be to absolutely avoid contact with the sick, as well as handshakes. Difficult for anyone who does not like the fictitious Sheldon Cooper from the US series "The Big Bang Theory" as a social phobist avoid any physical contact. But rather take the everyday trip to the office by public transport. "Hand washing is always good, of course," adds Kunze.
"A cold takes a week, with medication seven days."
Old folk wisdom
Difference flu - cold
It is important to distinguish between a cold and a "real" flu (influenza): "Typical for the flu is the sudden onset with high fever," said the social doctor. Everything hurts, the sick have a strong feeling of being sick with muscle pain. Then it's off to the doctor. "A banal infection, however, expresses itself by a slow onset with a lighter course and only a little fever." A visit to the doctor was not necessary. Except: "Yellowish sputum is a sign of infection. If the fever rises sharply, it can also be a lung infection. Then it's better to go to the doctor too much than to do too little, especially with regard to a superinfection ", if a bacterial infection is added to the viral infection.
The vast majority of mundane infections are transmitted by a variety of different types of viruses, such as rhino, adeno or parainfluenza viruses. Therefore, the advice for a cold: "No antibiotics!" Says doctor Kunze. Because these only work against bacteria, but not against viruses. What does he suggest? "You do not have to treat a flu infection, because it goes away after a few days anyway." He also advises against antihistamines when it comes to colds; anyone who wants to use aspirin, headache or painkillers can, of course, do so. The saying "A cold lasts one week, with medication seven days" is therefore true. Also "always good" are home remedies, such as Essigpatscherl in fever. Whether you guard the bed during a cold or continue to work, is individually different: "Everyone has a different subjective sense of illness." The passing of the cold is - in contrast to influenza - by the way harmless.
TCM as an alternative?
What he thinks of other approaches, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)? "The scientific evidence of TCM is extremely thin - but why not? I became very liberal. Who believes it helps, should take it. Scientifically, however, there is very little in the way of most things, "says Kunze.
One who is convinced by TCM is nutritionist Alexandra Rampitsch from Wolfsberg, Carinthia (www.apfelbaum.cc). "When your nose runs, TCM is called invaded cold. This is now to get out of the body again. " Best with ginger tea from two to three fresh ginger slices (in throat scrape with honey), a hot foot bath of ginger or juniper. "To eat quite a few hot spices such as chilli, pepper, onion or cloves in the apple compote, then the 'pathogenic pathogen' also sweated out right away." If the cold is due to stress, the body needs a lot of rest. Because sleep is important for a well-functioning immune system.
By the way, a cold comes from a TCM point of view already 90 days before the outbreak: So we collect too much cold in the body in summer through raw food such as fruit, salads and smoothies, cold drinks with ice cubes or cooling foods such as dairy products. "Everything we eat and drink is first brought to body temperature by our body before it can be processed. Our digestion has to cope with so much cooling food first, which requires a lot of energy, "says Rampitsch. If our so-called digestive fire in these 90 days is weakened, form slags (moisture / mucus according to TCM). The result: the flow of energy stops, the organs are no longer optimally supplied and also the immune system does not have enough energy for the defense - a cold is created.
Warm meals, on the other hand, strengthen the digestive fire, which also energizes our immune system. So about porridge or egg dish for breakfast, soups or stews in the evening food. Instead of cooling tropical fruits prefer to put warm domestic vitamin C donors such as fennel, cabbage or cabbage, herbs such as parsley and cress or berries such as sea buckthorn and currants. Raw foods such as fruit or salad are better served as a side dish, sweets at lunchtime as a dessert. "In addition to regular exercise outdoors, little stress and a functioning social life," reveals the nutritionist her TCM recipe.
Medicinal herbs for cold
... have a long tradition, from Hildegard von Bingen to Sebastian Kneipp. A small overview of the most popular herbs for colds that have been used for generations especially as tea.
The contained mucous substances envelop the irritated mucous membranes and are traditionally used for coughing.
Dissolves the mucus and facilitates coughing.
Have a sweat-inducing and antipyretic effect.
Proven in coughing with expectoration thanks to cough-reducing effect.
Drives us the beads of sweat in the face and is suitable for colds with fever.
Anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effect.
In case of sore throat and difficulty swallowing, garnish sage ointment. Antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Contains mucilage and relieves coughing.
Promotes the coughing up of tough mucus.
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