When it comes to prescription medicine, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use it. This is something that might not be apparent, especially as we become a more medicine-focused culture. There’s always something to do, and this can make people feel very tired and even a little bit confused. You don’t want to take prescription medicine the wrong way, but are you really getting the information that you need?
Many side effects are triggered by improper doses, even down to time of day — another point that a lot of people don’t really take the time to think about. If you are told to take a certain medicine at a certain time every day, it’s very important that you follow this direction to the letter. If you don’t, you could end up changing the way your medicine is absorbed by your body. This could end up with some serious side effects that could otherwise be avoided.
Now, all of this advice is generalized — you should always make sure that you’re checking in with your doctor. This is another mistake that gets made far too often — people tend not to think about actually talking to their doctor. Remember that your doctor is there to help you not to slow you down. You shouldn’t feel like you can’t talk to your doctor if the need strikes you. You should always feel like your doctor is there to help you. In addition, if you genuinely think that your dosage is off, you should let them know.
Some patients like to actually take this one step further by getting a journal and recording their daily aches, pains, and concerns. This can help a doctor figure out the underlying cause of certain health problems right away, as long as you select certain passages of note. You don’t want to just hand the doctor the entire journal — remember, time is money and doctors are very short on time. (more…)
If you’re thinking about taking better care of your general health and well being, you’re definitely in good company — many people really want to make sure that they’re taking good care of themselves each time, every time. However, this is not something that can actually be done overnight – you will need to stop and really make sure that you will be able to always take care of yourself no matter what life brings your way. If you’ve already started watching your diet and getting some exercise, you’re taking good steps towards better health. Yet this is not the only thing that you will need to do in order to really make sure that you protect your health for the long run. Perhaps you want to get healthier because you’ve had a health scare in the past, or you feel like you might be in store for a health scare if you’re not careful. Regardless of how you feel, it’s important to really make sure that you aren’t running the risk of future health problems by ignoring one simple thing: getting regular health screenings and check ups.
If the word check-up makes you think back to the days of schoolbooks and recess, you might want to realize that screenings are important for children and adults alike. In fact, if you’re already all grown up, then it might be even more important to make sure that you’re getting properly checked out regularly. If you have a family already, this is the perfect way to make sure that you’ll always be there for them. You might think that screenings are unnecessary because you would know if something is wrong with your body. Again, this is a misconception that has claimed more lives than almost any other. Too many people think that they will simply live forever, when the reality is that they will one day not be here. By ignoring symptoms or even falling ill to a disease that has “silent” symptoms, you’ll end up missing out on the long life that you deserve.
If you have a family history of problems, it’s very important to make sure that you set up time to see a doctor. This is because when you know that you have a hereditary problem, it’s important to ensure that you will be able to always keep an eye on it before it actually develops into the problem that you’re trying to avoid. (more…)
If you’ve never had good health to begin with, it can be hard to push forward and feel like you should even keep trying to achieve better health. However, the reality of the matter is that you will still need to think about what you can do to make your health better than what it is. Believe it or not, we all do things that make it hard for us to achieve as well as maintain the top notch health that we know that we deserve.
Here’s a few things that you might want to think about.
If there’s one thing that we all need to pay attention to, it’s definitely our diets. Diet is something that tends to be a dirty word for most people, but that’s simply not the way it should be. When most people hear the word diet, they think that it automatically means something that will be full of restrictions. The reality is that there’s really no reason why you will have to eliminate food. You can still catch the occasional fast food buffet, as long as you make sure that you balance it with enough fruits and vegetables. This is the best way to maintain your health — you won’t feel tempted to go overboard.
The way you run your life also matters. If you find that you’re always zooming from one place to another, you will need to make sure that you find ways to relax and slow down. It’s far too easy to get caught up in everything that life throws your way, but you will need to make sure that you find time for yourself.
In addition, if you are into drinking heavily or smoking regularly, these are tow habits that you will need to cut back. Now, if you’ve been drinking and smoking for a long time, you might feel like there’s a point of no return for you. However, this isn’t the case at all — if you really stop and actually start taking care of yourself today, there’s really no limit to improving your health. Yes, there will be damage, but the body is well known for slowly healing itself over time.
The Road Ahead
You don’t have to try to fight for better health all on your own — if that were the case, no one would actually have the health that they deserve. Thankfully, that’s what doctors are there for. Now, you might think that the doctor is an enemy that’s always nagging you about getting healthy, but this isn’t really the case at all. It’s all about knowing where you stand with a good doctor. If you approach the doctor as an ally, they’re much more likely to help you than just going in and going through the motions. If your doctor thinks that you don’t care, they’re not going to go out of their way to make your life easier.
Overall, if you really focus on building better health one day at a time instead of putting pressure on yourself to get healthy right this instant, you’ll find yourself far closer to the results that you’ve always wanted — far sooner than you think!
As we have seen, once it is clear that the virus has snared its victim, isolation is the first social golden-rule. From then on in, it is a case of alleviating symptoms by medication – control of fever with paracetamol every four hours in the proper dosage, along with an increased intake of water or better still – for its Vitamin ‘C’ content – pure orange juice.
Avoid caffeine, but in adults, a little alcohol will be beneficial. A lot may be even more beneficial. In Russia, for example, the established ‘treatment’ (i.e., alleviating of symptoms) is to go to bed for three days with three bottles of vodka and let the cold run its course. In this way you provide your body with the essential fluids it needs whilst providing your mind with the opportunity it needs to remain oblivious to all the horrible symptoms (and indeed everything else!) of this nasal equivalent of diarrhea. If, however economy dictates that no vodka is affordable, then, strong mentholyptus sucking tablets will help soothe the sore throat and clear nasal passages, and plenty of rest in a warm but well ventilated room is perhaps all that can be hoped for. The diet should (as always) consist of organically grown fresh fruit and vegetables, oily fish and simple, unprocessed foods.
Ideally, then, a cold patient should be as isolated as possible, and should sneeze into (red) handkerchiefs only. It is crucial to keep all eating utensils plus towels, flannels, etc., confined to the patient and avoid any other people coming into contact with any item the patient regularly handles or with the air which the patient is breathing. Clearly, the patient will be constantly blowing his nose etc. and this increases the likelihood of his hands being infected and his immediate environment: so these precautions are only common sense.
The general pattern of treatment, or rather, symptom alleviation, is thus isolation, and time. The full blown force of a cold should last for only 2 – 5 days, by which time the virus will have used its host to replicate many millions of times over – but if the replication is confined to a dead bedroom, then the damage limitation for the rest of us is enormous; isolation at the first sign of symptoms is therefore a civic duty.
For very young children, if wheezing occurs, the doctor may be persuaded to prescribe bronchodilators to clear nasal passages. Also, saltwater drops will assist followed by a soft bulb nose syringe to suck out the blocking fluids. In the elderly, symptoms herald perhaps not only a cold, but also the onset of influenza – and here the doctor must be consulted, and obviously if there is any warning of an incoming ‘flu infection’, inoculation should always be sought. In general, decongestants, cough suppressants and antihistamines all relive symptoms: certainly the patient must be encouraged not to mix socially or to attempt to carry on as if the cold is ‘nothing at all’ – others won’t thank her for that approach.
So much for the tortures of the common cold. What though, is this article really about? Now that we have outlined the nature and symptoms of the common cold, I want to propose a thesis based upon research into the incidences of the common cold: I want to propose that:
The common cold is not, as is scientifically supposed, a random illness: it is caused by randomly occurring viruses in the community, true, but it is not at all inevitable that any virus will actually cause a cold – as I hope to show: the recipient has to be receptive. By this I do not mean that the recipient has not to have had the virus before and thereby already has antibodies designed to deflect it, but that the immune system of the recipient comes in waves of strength which are, like biorhythms, set at a pattern: and if we can plot that pattern, we can determine when, in any year, the recipient is likely to succumb to a cold – and furthermore, we can plot this to precise dates. It might sound fantastic – but I believe it’s true. To begin, I offer my own experiences.
The Immune System
An active immune system protects against infection and viral invasion. The immune system is composed of white blood cells, called B and T cells. The B cells produce antibodies, which comprise proteins which neutralise both viral strains and bacteria. The T cells comprise in part ‘T helper’ cells, which ‘decide’ the tactics the immune system takes against incoming infections.
B and T type cells are prevalent in the blood stream and lymphatic system. Fortunately, the onset of a cold – the first symptoms of slight congestion, mild fever etc, (see Symptoms on the home page), are the result of the immune system starting to detect and attack the incoming virus – so immune boosting nutrients should be increased at this time. This will stop the illness getting worse, or better still, prevent it from gaining hold at all. (more…)
As we have seen, a cold is a viral infection, caused by viruses known as rhinoviruses and the rhinovirus is a microscopic organism which invades the mucus cells of the nose, to disrupt their normal function and parasitically use these cells for viral reproduction.
As viruses are essentially genetic, this entails that they can also mutate, and there are now about 250 known rhinoviruses in the community, which means that there are 250 colds flying around out there for you to catch: but so far, only the immune system can find a cure for each of these strains – ironically, only when you’ve actually had the cold of that particular strain.
However, once you have been infected with a strain, your immune system develops anti-bodies to it. You therefore get each cold strain only once: but then as you know, one cold is one too many and as you have probably summarized – there might be 249 others out there for you yet to get. So, if you are lucky enough to live until you are seventy, that is an average of just over 3 colds per year.
On average, however, a person gets two colds a year, so this guarantees that, in the absence of any general cure, you are likely to spend several days of each year of your life not only harboring these viruses, but also suffering from their grotty symptoms and even helping the bastards to thrive and reproduce among your nasal passage, your family, work mates, friends and acquaintances, and of course strangers too.
The cold virus produces the following symptoms; some of which require elucidation:
THE SORE THROAT
THE TICKLY THROAT
THE SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE COUGH
THE BLOCKED SINUSES
THE SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE RUNNY NOSE
THE SOCIALLY AMBIGUOUS SNIFF
THE COMPLETELY 100% SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE SNEEZE
Let us deal with the more problematic of these.
The common cold itself is not a serious condition (except in the very young or elderly where it can lead to complications) and usually only lasts from two to seven days depending upon the virility of the strain and the physical condition of the victim.
However, the most miserable cold symptoms do not only affect the victim – two in particular ensure that the rhino-virus is kept alive and well as it reproduces, and eventually mutates: and they are the cough and the sneeze.
And as we have seen, viruses cannot move, so they must survive only by contact – and for this reason alone, they have to be clever enough to get the victim to spread them around. They can only enter into other peoples nasal mucus cells if they are somehow transported directly to these cells and this happens in two ways: either by direct contact through the hands, or, by droplet contamination in the air that prospective victims are breathing. And remember, ‘prospective victim’ means you. Let’s deal first with droplet contamination.
In the early stages of a cold, the virus affects the lining of the throat, and by multiplying mucus cells that then congest the walls of the throat, they cause that irritation you feel as a ‘tickle’. The ‘tickly throat’ causes you to cough in order to clear the irritation, but what is actually going on also is that this cough then carries the virus out of the victim.
A cough is a reflex action in the victim’s throat which is the result of a tickly irritation in the windpipe or throat and causes a contraction of the muscles at the front of the abdomen, which in turn puts pressure on the victim’s stomach and intestines. This pressure subsequently pushes the diaphragm, which compresses the lungs and forces air up the windpipe. The air is, of course, armored with the contamination of viruses, which pass through the throat and jettison a volley of droplets out into the immediate atmosphere at about seventy miles an hour.
There they begin their insidious search for new nostrils. If they cannot directly find them, they crouch upon surfaces, hands, knobs – tables, towels, cutlery, peanuts in the bar pot, until some unsuspecting finger touches these things, and then touches its nose – but in the meantime, the droplets in the air have probably been much more efficient…
So, as we see, coughs are pretty effective at viral dissemination – but nothing quite compares to the spray-boom efficiency of a stout sneeze. (more…)
Apart from scientific theories and treatments/symptom alleviation for the common cold, there is a huge and growing alternative market. Some of the ‘cures’ on offer – such as blowing hot air up the nostrils – are obviously dotty, but a serious review of the alternative market is worth it, as often ‘natural’ treatments can and do work – it is just that nobody knows why.
The scientific caveat which says ‘there is no specific evidence to suggest a connection between this or that ailment and this or that treatment as proven’ must be regarded with caution.
Scientists most especially use this caveat when there clearly is to common sense a direct link – as in the case of some forms of cancer to strong electromagnetic forces around such things as electricity pylons or mobile telephone aerial boosters. The importance of a claim as being ‘scientific’ rests in the empirical nature of experimentation, which defends us from the wilder claims of idealism or pure speculation. In scientific method – and this also applies to the philosophy of science – any assumption can be made, but a connection between a cause and an effect has of course to be supported by empirical evidence; but the methodology of empiricism is also open ended – in that new forms of evidence can emerge.
All empiricism itself is based upon philosophical assumptions about the nature of reality – for example, the existence of quarks is a theory based upon the subatomic behavior of energy that we subsequently came to experience.
Holistic medicine deals with the whole body – seeing the body as a unified organism in which all aspects of Being and cellular structure as being inter-related.
A good place to start is herbs, but be sure to seek out a good herbalist because even herbs can have harmful side effects and cause allergies which might have symptoms far worse than those of the common cold.
The principal tenet of herbalism is to build up long term resistance so that we get fewer and milder colds – and this works by bolstering the immune systems resources to attack incoming viruses. The following cold-relief specific herbs are available from herbalists and health shops:
CATMINT: Controls nasal blocking. Reduces stress.
CAMOMILE: Helps sore throat/tickly cough and controls temperature.
ECHINACEA ROOT: Echinacea is a herb native to Northern America which has been used as a blood purifier since 1885. It possesses remarkable immune stimulating properties. It increases white blood cell production and activity, destroying invaders such as cold viruses. It also increases interferon production to stimulate the synthesis of proteins that block viral infection. Typical daily dose for cold cycle susceptibility periods: 500-1,000mg.
ELDERFLOWER: Clears sinuses, reduces fever temperature.
HYSSOP: Eases coughs/tickly throat.
ROSEHIP: Can be made into tea – good for all cold symptoms and high in vitamin C.
FERR.PHOS, (Iron Phosphate): Take as directed on the carton
OLIVE LEAF: Olive leaf contains Olevropein, a chemical which kills bacteria and viruses, and boosts the immune systems’ supply of phagocytes.
Homoeopathy is growing in importance and products are available in all good chemists. The basic theory of homoeopathy is rather like vaccination – you give the patient a small dose of infection to encourage the build up of antibodies in the immune system – yet it is inevitable that as the virus mutates, homoeopathy can only alleviate symptoms, not cure colds. It is highly recommended for people who are against chemical medication. (more…)
Obviously a good diet promotes good general health. Fresh fruit and vegetables, three good meals a day containing a balanced range of foods will promote a healthy body. But what helps the body fight off infection is the ‘internal doctor’ – the immune system. If we can establish which dietary features promote a vigorous immune system, then we can augment our diet with these foodstuffs to bolster the effectiveness of the immune system.
Avoid processed foods or foods infused with chemical additives or toxins as all these have first to be neutralised by the body before it attacks incoming viruses. Try to eat organic foods (ideally that are fresh or raw), fruit and vegetables containing vitamins A,C,E and B complex, Zink and Iron – all these strengthen the immune system. Sources of these vitamins include green leafy vegetables (cabbage, spinach, broccoli, sprouts, red and yellow fruit such as tomatoes and carrots and eggs, nuts and seeds. It is particularly important that root vegetables be organic – as these grow within the soil and are therefore more susceptible to toxic penetration from pesticides.
Organic food is free from artificial chemicals and fertilisers and insecticides which are used to treat non-organic mass farmed food. Organic fruit and vegetables also contain less water and therefore have a higher nutrient content. Most supermarkets now sell a wide variety of organic produce – although their cost if often extortionately high. Many local-to-your-area producers operate a ‘box scheme’ where you can have a variety box delivered to your door for a fixed weekly sum.
In particular to colds the following fruit and vegetables are highly recommended:-
High in Vitamin C – also gets rid of toxic free radicals.
Good source of Beta carotene, Selenium and Vitamin C.
Fibre, Folic Acid and Vitamin C.
Stimulates the immune system.
Eliminates mucus, contains Iron and Vitamin C.
Romaine or Cos. Contains Vitamins A and C.
Thins blood, eases bronchial conditions.
Zinc is responsible for the production and function of immune system cells and tests have proved that low levels of Zinc in the body results in weaker immune response. Zinc is found in seafood and wholemeal bread.
Scientific studies have shown that increased levels of sugar in the bloodstream lowers the efficiency of the immune system.
Garlic has anti viral and immune system enhancing properties and is particularly effective if added raw to foods. Crushing a clove of garlic into soups, stews etc is effective and greatly enhances flavour – and it can also be crushed raw into salad dressings.
The human body is composed of 97% water. Obviously a healthy body needs water, and tap water is usually perfectly safe – though it also usually contains Fluoride and some residue toxins such as pesticides which wash through soil and into reservoirs. Natural mineral waters are up to 500 times more expensive, but are likely to be far less polluted by toxins and generally have a superior taste. Unfortunately, many bottles of mineral water bottle their product in plastic bottles and there is some evidence that plastic releases toxins known as Pthialates which can produce hormone imbalance. Paradoxically, tap water is also fed through blue plastic underground pipes – so best go for mineral water in glass bottles.
Tea contains chemical compounds known as polyphenols, which contain flavonoids which have antioxidant properties which help boost the immune system. Antioxidants protect cells by removing free radicals. The flavonoids in tea are three times more concentrated than in beer and wine – and in fact, ‘Typhoo’ is Chinese for doctor. It also contains antibacterial and astringent properties. For colds in particular, tea is a good source of Zinc. However, no more than 10-12 cups should be consumed on any day.
If vegetables and fruit must be cooked, it is best to steam them – certainly prolonged boiling will deplete their mineral and vitamin resources.
Drinking plenty of mineral water or fresh pure fruit juice is very beneficial in replacing bodily fluids lost through rhinovirus infection. A little alcohol is also beneficial at bedtime to promote good rest and sleep. A tot of whiskey wit honey and lemon juice is good, and for aiding digestion a mixture of one measure of port to two measures of brandy is also beneficial (for adults only).
Viruses are very strange and clever things. The common cold is the most prevalent upper respiratory illness affecting humans and is caused by a virus known as the rhinovirus. Some scientists believe that viruses are the earliest of life forms, since they are structured from the basic building blocks of life-forming components – a base of carbon atoms, which naturally form into strings.
These strings can co-join with other atoms which bond together to form molecular structures, such that the string becomes a chain of RNA – which literally provides a copyable blueprint for the replication of genetic information which then acts as a kind of molecular ‘memory’, which literally has the effect of carrying these structures into the future, thus giving them longevity, or, more importantly, a temporal form of life. In this way, they live in that they persist through time – but they do not yet ‘live’ in the real sense: that is, they last for a little time, but they cannot move, eat, excrete, nor reproduce: in order to really live in the full sense of the word, they have to enter cells.
Imagine a world which was once covered in sea, and in the sea were millions of virile, complex viruses. The movement of sea made them bump into each other, so that they chemically bonded and grew ever more complex. Such was the virility and complexity of some viruses in that sea that they evolved walls which prevented them from being invaded by competitive viruses, and thus these walled types retained their genetic makeup.
These walled viruses would become the forerunners of cells – for they avoided the constant violence of simple tactile invasion by literally surrounding themselves with a membrane. At this stage of evolution, it is probable that many millions of non – membranous viruses died out – for they could not compete with the new found armory of primitive cells, and so life would have had to evolve from viral to cellular. However, some cells would have remained genetically ‘simple’ – except of course for their walls – whilst other viruses carried on to grow ever more complex and vigorous, and even ‘learned’ how to evolve by invading the walls of the ‘simple’ cells and thus, once inside, benefited from the protection of these walls (they usurp a step in evolution so to speak).
Once inside those cells, however, these complex viruses were able to parasitically affect the genetic material within the existing simple cell, and make that cell do, not what it was genetically programmed to do, but what the genetics of the virus wanted it to do. And it is these clever viruses that have mastered simple cell penetration and manipulation, that have thereby existed and mutated to this day. The ubiquitous sniff and sneeze of the common cold is proof positive of the success of the rhinovirus.
So, whilst viruses cannot themselves reproduce, once they get inside a cell, they have ‘learned’ how to use the cell’s genetic mechanism to reproduce – so that in the carrying forward of genetic information, which is the supreme achievement of nature, they have nevertheless remained viral, but become reproductive, and thus the viral life form has gained far greater longevity, and has come to possess what we cellular beings call true ‘life’. In this way, viruses have gained the supremacy of the cell, in a world where the cell has itself gained the supremacy of the sea – and your living cold is their vindictive victory.