The common cold is a highly infectious disease that affects millions of Americans each year. In fact, the average adult will catch two or three colds per year, while children catch three to five colds per year. Caused by the rhinovirus, they typically clear up within a week. By the end of the first week, most people with a cold either no loner experience symptoms, or you’ll experience very mild symptoms. Unfortunately, some people experience colds lasting two or more weeks. If it’s been at least two weeks since your symptoms first manifested, you should consider if one of the following things is preventing you from feeling better.
#1) You Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it will take you longer to recover from a cold. Sleep promotes a strong immune system, giving your body the biological tools it needs to fight off the virus. Of course, getting a good night’s rest is easier said than done when you’re sick. Severe nasal congestion can restrict your breathing, making it difficult to fall asleep. In this case, you should use a nasal spray or nighttime decongestant to clear out your sinuses so that you can sleep better and recover more quickly.
#2) You’re Being Exposed to Mold
Inspect your home to see if there’s mold present. If you discover mold in your bathroom, basement, attic, bedroom or elsewhere, it could be slowing down your recovery efforts. Studies have shown that chronic exposure to mold, specifically black mold, suppresses the immune system. And if you have a cold, a suppressed immune system will take longer to fight off the infection. Mold is all around us, and you probably won’t be able to remove all mold spores from your home — but that’s okay. Mold only becomes a problem when there’s a significant amount of it present, or if you suffer from a mold allergy or sensitivity. Either way, exposure to mold can slow down your recovery from a cold infection.
#3) You Aren’t Drinking Enough Fluids
Most doctors advise patients suffering from the cold to drink lots of fluids. Water, chicken broth and even low-sugar, electrolyte-infused sports drinks will all help you recover from this viral infection. Fluids such as these hydrate your body, reduce the risk of a fever, and loosen up nasal congestion. With that said, you should avoid drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, as they can suppress your immune system.
#4) You’re Stressed
Stress doesn’t just leave you feeling fatigued and irritable; it also weakens your immune system, thereby increasing the time it takes to recover from a cold. A report cited by the American Psychological Association (APA) found that some people are more susceptible to immune changes caused by stress, including young children, older adults and people who are already sick. However, stress can affect anyone’s immune system, so it’s important to relax when you’re sick. Use this opportunity to lounge around the house and rest while allowing your body to recover from the infection.
#5) You’re Smoking
If you’re smoking while suffering from a cold, you can expect to stay in bed for a longer length of time than if you didn’t smoke. Research has shown that cigarette smokers have a weaker immune system than their nonsmoking counterparts. In addition to nicotine, dozens of other chemicals in cigarette smoke have a direct impact on the immune system. When you inhale these chemicals into your lungs, they are absorbed into your bloodstream where they suppress your immune system. Smoking is already the leading cause of preventable death, but this bad habit can cause cold infections to linger for multiple weeks.
#6) You’re Treating It Wrong
Another possible reason you aren’t getting better from a cold is because you’re treating it wrong. There’s no magical cure for the common cold. Unless it’s a bacterial infection, which is rare, you can’t treat a cold with antibiotics. Furthermore, some people treat colds with the decongestant pseudoephedrine. Available behind the counter at most pharmacies, pseudoephedrinere reduces inflammation of the mucus membranes to relieve nasal congestion. However, it’s also classified as a stimulant. If you take it at nighttime, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, resulting in a weakened immune system.
#7) You’re Really Suffering From Allergies
Maybe you aren’t recovering from a cold because you are actually suffering from allergies. As explained here, colds and allergies are two different medical conditions. Although they produce similar symptoms, they are each caused by something different. Colds are caused by a virus, typically the rhinovirus, while allergies are caused by exposure to an allergen, such as pollen or even mold. Symptoms of allergies won’t go away until you are no longer exposed to the allergen.
Don’t let a cold infection prevent you from enjoying life. To learn more about chiropractic and integrative medicine services, contact us today.Share