HEALTHWATCH: Fighting the common cold and coughs

368Views 1Comments Posted 24/08/2018

Coughs and colds are again doing the rounds in Panama and there is some timely advice from across the pond published in The Week.

New guidance from UK health officials says patients should treat their coughs and colds with honey and home remedies before going to the doctor.

Guidance from Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is advising doctors not to offer antibiotics in most cases. Instead, they should encourage patients to use self-care products.

Antibiotics “make little difference to symptoms and can have side effects - and unnecessary prescriptions reduce their effectiveness”, says Sky News.

Doctors are instead advising patients “to try honey or cough medicines containing pelargonium, guaifenesin or dextromethorphan, which have been shown to have some benefit for cough symptoms, before contacting their doctor”, the broadcaster adds.

Here are some home remedies you can try if you find yourself under the weather:

Lemon, honey and ginger
A hot drink with honey, and often with lemon and ginger as well, “is a well-known home remedy for coughs and a sore throat”, says the BBC.

But honey is not recommended for children under the age of one “because it occasionally contains bacteria that can cause infant botulism”, adds the broadcaster.

Salt water
One of the oldest but also most effective cures for a sore throat is to gargle warm salt water. "You’re creating a high-salt barrier and you’re pulling out a lot of fluids from the tissues in the throat area, so you’re washing the virus out,” Sorana Segal-Maurer, MD, chief of the Dr James J. Rahal Jr Division of Infectious Disease at New York Hospital Queens tells WebMD.

It turns out that yogurt is the best thing to eat for breakfast if you want to avoid catching a common cold, as yogurts are probiotic foods. “The majority of our immune system is in our gut,” Dr Ashton Harper, tells Marie Claire magazine. “Probiotics have been shown to significantly reduce the severity of cold symptoms.”

Zinc lozenges
If you find yourself in the first throes of a sore throat and a runny nose, “zinc lozenges may help you get better, if you start taking them regularly within 24 hours of your first symptoms”, says Popular Science magazine. But it’s not clear “whether they actually help you fight off the virus or simply reduce inflammation in your throat”, the magazine adds.

Extra pillow
The sweet spot for an adult is between 7 and 8 hours sleep a night sleep and “if you’re not getting enough shut-eye your body just isn’t going to do as good of a job at fighting off infections”, says Popular Science.

 “When you have a cold, sleep with an extra pillow, as this will help with the drainage of nasal passages,” a UK pharmacy chain] pharmacist Angela Chalmers told Marie Claire.

Drinking lots of fluids while avoiding coffee is also recommended.

Comments 1


the BEST remedy for a cold is not to get one! cover your coughs and sneezes instead of broadcasting them on those, and/or food, around you. wash your hands. Panamanians have some simple hygiene solutions that are not being used. even dentists and doctors don't seem to understand how germs are transmitted. they think wearing plastic gloves protects everyone from everything. my dentist has plastic wrap on the handle of her light. she takes her hands out of my mouth, moves the light, then puts hands back in my mouth. she did that with her last patient too and the covers on the handle are never changed! people scooping ice cream wear gloves, take money with them, then scoop the next cone, all in the same gloves. there is a profound lack of understanding of germ transmission, which is a failure of public education.

10 months ago
The comments are the responsibility of each author who freely expresses his opinion and not that of Newsroom Panama.
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter username.
Please, enter a valid message.
Please validate that it is not a robot.