Prevention and Treatment for the Common Cold

Promoting Optimal Wellness for Body, Mind and Spirit

Promoting Optimal Wellness for Body, Mind and Spirit

Tis the Season of the Common Cold … Truth is, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) you can get a cold any time of the year. With over 200 viruses linked to the common cold, the Rhinovirus is the most common. Adults average 2-4 colds a year; children more. Most colds last 7-10 days. People with weakened immune systems, asthma, or respiratory conditions may develop serious illness, such as pneumonia.

Symptoms of a Cold Include

  • sore throat,
  • runny nose,
  • coughing,
  • sneezing,
  • watery eyes,
  • headaches
  • body aches.

The Good News there are steps you can take for prevention.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (more effective on viruses than soap and water.) Teach children to wash their hands.
  • Scrub hands for 20 seconds (about the time it takes to hum or sing Happy Birthday twice.)

  • Wash your hands before you eat or drink. Including after reading restaurant menus.
  • The Rhinovirus that often causes colds enters through the mouth, nose and eyes. The average person touches their face 16 times an hour! Avoid touching your face, especially with unwashed hands. 
  • Maintain a Healthy Immune system 
    • Socialize More.  ­Study showed that people who are extraverted produced fewer pro-inflammatory chemicals in response to cold viruses.
    • Regular Exercise. Research shows that regular exercise is not only good for our bones, but also helps build a healthier immune system.
    • Get Plenty of Sleep. Sleep deprivation suppressions the immune system.
    • Listen to Sounds of Nature and Music That Brings You Joy. According to research, listening to sounds of nature and music that you enjoy helps you to relax, may lower cortisol (hormone released when stress that contributes to fatigue and inflammation) and boost the level of antibody immunoglobulin A, helpfully supporting the body’s immune system.
      • Walk, bike or take a drive along Route 127 and Gloucester’s BackShore and enjoy the relaxing sound of ocean waves. 
      • Add More UpBeat and Joyful Music to Your Life! Cape Ann and North Shore have great local musicians with performances almost every night. Check out schedules at Gimme SoundNorth Shore Tonight, and Joanne Silva’s live music scene. Play upbeat music in your car as you commute. Stream music throughout your home with wireless sound controlled by one simple app. Check out the  Oprah’s ‘favorite things’ for 2015 – the Sonos Play 5.

How to Prevent Spreading the Cold Virus –

  • Stay home while you are sick; avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects such as toys, doorknobs and phones. On planes, wash your hands after reading those safety cards and use a sanitizer to disinfect the tray table.
  • Move away from people before coughing or sneezing
  • Cover your mouth! “Cough or sneeze into your elbow.” Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. And, if you cough or sneeze into your hands or blow your nose into a tissue, wash your hands after.

  • Face Masks: a Cultural ‘Common Courtesy’ as Well as Preventive Measure. You may have seen photos of people in Japan wearing face masks. In Japanese culture, wearing a face mask is a matter of respect as well as hygiene to help prevent the spread of disease. In Japan, even if you are feeling under the weather but cannot take the day off, common courtesy dictates that you cover your mouth and nose with a mask so as not to breathe your germs all over your fellow commuters and co-workers.
Commuting to work/Japan. Photo by Hinochika.

Commuting to work/Japan.
Photo by Hinochika.

Personally, I would like to see the use of face masks become a trend in the West, especially in situations where we ‘share air’ in a confined space such as on public transportation. It seems there’s always someone sniffling, sneezing, or hacking away buses, trains and planes. If you’re lucky, they’re not sitting next to you or at the very least, covering their mouth when they cough or sneeze.

An ‘Old Wives’ Tale With Truth. Research shows there is a scientific basis behind the old wives tale that chicken soup can help when you have a cold. Ingredients such as garlic, onion and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties. The warm liquid helps with hydration and decreases congestion. Making chicken soup with fresh ingredients probably offers the best health benefits. Check it Out! You can even send Chicken Soup to your loved ones that are sick –

Chicken soup with noodles and vegetables

Chicken soup with noodles and vegetables

Ancient Chinese Wisdom. Traditions and perspectives on preventing and treating the common cold in the East are similar to that in the West. Chinese medicine emphasizes prevention.

  • Preventive Measures Include:
    • Adequate sleep
    • Good personal hygiene
    • Frequent hand washing
    • Balance between work and rest.
    • Healthy mental state.
    • Appropriate Exercise.
    • Protective measures, such as keeping away from sources of disease and No spitting.
  • Treatment:
    • Wear a mask if you have a cold.
    • Rest more.
    • Eat a balanced diet with more fruits and vegetables (Good advice for healthy eating every day!)
    • Drink more water.
    • Avoid cold, greasy, irritating food.
    • Chinese herbs/chicken soup.
Chinese Herbs for Chicken Soup

Chinese Herbs for Chicken Soup

Note: Consult a Chinese Medicine practitioner before consuming Chinese herbs and medicines. “It is especially important for elderly, children, pregnant women and patients with chronic illnesses to use Chinese medicines under the guidance of Chinese medicine practitioners to prevent and treat colds.”

Consider Integrative Therapies such as acupuncture, massage, medication, reiki and yoga. These practices create a relaxed state of mind and body that can assist the body’s natural immunity and innate healing. Daily self-Reiki, meditation, and mindfulness along with supportive care by local Licensed Acupuncturist Amy Jao and her Chinese chicken soup recipe have become part of my winter health maintenance regime. 
Ask your physician about prevention and treatment of colds and other respiratory infections. According to the Center for Disease Control you should call your doctor if:
  • a temperature higher than 100.4° F
  • symptoms that last more than 10 days
  • symptoms that are severe or unusual
  • and If your child is younger than 3 months old and has a fever, you should always call your doctor right away.

Take Good Care of Yourself Throughout the Year, and Be Well.   ~ Karen


Karen Pischke B.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N. Alumnus. Certified Hypnotherapist, Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Usui Reiki Teacher/Komyo Shihan. Owner/Founder of Dreamtime Wellness™ Promoting Optimal Wellness for Body, Mind & Spirit Find us on Facebook –

Disclaimer: This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about health and related sub­jects. The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately licensed physi­cian or other health care worker. Never dis­re­gard pro­fes­sional med­ical advice or delay in seek­ing it because of some­thing you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a med­ical emer­gency, call your doc­tor or 911 immediately. The views expressed on this blog and web­site have no rela­tion to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other insti­tu­tion with which the authors are affiliated.

Sources and More Information –

Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, Robbins RA, Rennard SI. Chest. 2000 Oct;118(4):1150-7.

Common Colds: Protect yourself and others. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)

Common Colds: Protect yourself and others. National Institutes of Health (NIH.)

Common Methods for Prevention of Colds from Chinese Medicine Perspective.  Chinese Medicine Division. U.S. Department of Health.

Effect of Music on the Human Immune System. Thomas, M. et al. PLoS One. 2013; 8(8): Published online 2013 Aug 5. 

Moderate-Intensity Exercise Reduces the Incidence of Colds Among Post-menopausal Women. American Journal of Medicine. Nov. 2006. Volume 119 (11;) 937-942.

Music as Medicine. American Psychological Association (APA.) November 2013, Vol 44, No. 10

Pathogens on a Plane: How to Stay Healthy in Flight. NPR. Michaeleen Doucleff. July 2014.

Personality and Gene Expression: Do individual differences exist in the leukocyte transcriptome? Vedhara, K. et al. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Feb. 2015. Vol. 52: 72-82.

Research Links Music To Increased Immunity, Better Mood. Natural Society. Sarich, C. 14 May 2013.

Sleep and immune function. Besedovsky, L.; Lange, T.; Born, Jan. Pflugers Arch. 2012 Jan; 463(1): 121–137.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s