Now that we know the differences between allergies and the common cold, let’s discuss another topic that is often misinterpreted as the common cold: bacterial infections. Bacterial infections present themselves in surprisingly similar ways to the common cold. One of the biggest misconceptions about the common cold is that you need antibiotics. This is NOT TRUE!
If you feel bad enough to head to your doctor’s office to see what they can do for you don’t be surprised if they send you home with a list of things to buy at your local pharmacy over the counter (OTC). These items they tell you to get are usually things like NyQuil or Robitussin. These things do not actually fight your viral infection (i.e. the common cold) but instead just make you feel a little better.
So why, then, are bacterial infections confused with the common cold? Well for a few reasons, actually. First, they have very similar symptoms such as:
That’s how they are similar, so how are they different? Excellent question! Here are some main differences:
Bacterial infections usually last longer than viral infections (longer than 14 days).
Fever is higher than expected from a viral infection.
The fever can get worse with a bacterial infection whereas a viral infection the fever usually gets better.
Secondary infections occur when you are infected with a virus first, then as your body is weakened the bacterial move in. This is why many people are put on antibiotics after suffering from cold symptoms for weeks.
Just like one of my other posts, I am spending quite a bit of time ruling out other things that may act like the common cold. I just want my readers to be informed and know the differences between the two (three now: allergies, common cold, and bacterial infection). Knowing the differences will help you identify the real cause which will lead to quicker recovery with the right products.
Similar to treating allergy symptoms, there are a lot of things you can do to aid in avoiding a bacterial infection. I want to talk about ways to avoid bacterial infections.
Practice good hand-washing techniques. The proper way to wash your hands involves soap, hot water, a disposable paper dry. Also, washing your hands the right way takes a lot longer than what most people do on a daily basis. But if you’ve come in contact with someone who has a suspected bacterial infection you need to take hand-washing seriously. Google some videos on “proper hand washing” and you’ll probably come up with dozens.
Sanitize objects that are frequently used by other people. This includes door handles, counter-tops, phones, and even arm chairs. The cleaner you keep these objects the less likely if getting any type of infection whether that’s bacterial or viral. That’s just good sense!
Your pets can carry bacteria in multiple ways: saliva, paws, and fleas/ticks. This means getting those really wet kisses from your favorite canine can lead to an infection. Also, the ground is a dirty place and that stuff gets introduced into your home frequently. Just like how longmontcarpetcare.com points out, keeping your carpets cleaner will help ensure the ground in your home stays bacterial and viral free. Professional cleaning will help eliminate tiny pests that can live in fibers such as carpet or fabrics thus limiting you to exposure to bacterial infection.
Lastly, the most obvious: steer clear of physical contact with persons that have a bacterial infection. You won’t get it if you’re not around them, right? It may seem insensitive but trust me, they’ll understand.
Now we have discussed bacterial vs. viral vs. allergies (see previous post) you are well on your way for proper identification to help you get on the fast track to feeling better!
You’ve probably seen the plethora of products available that all promise to make you feel better instantly. But, they really worked that well wouldn’t it be the best selling product…..ever? And wouldn’t it be advertized everywhere?!
Of course, we all know most of that stuff is too good to be true, so which ones should we trust? And more importantly, which ones should we spend our money on?
Let’s start with an interview I conducted with a professional: a doctor of pharmacy. I went down to my local drug store to inquire with the pharmacist about the wide variety of vitamin-containing/natural products that are designed to getting you over your cold FAST. Here is what he told me:
Vitamin C: this is the main ingredient you should look for when eyeing the cold vitamin combos
Homeopathy: basically, this type of “medicine” is worthless. In another post I’ll go into detail more about this, but for now, don’t waste your hard earned money.
B vitamins (B1, B2, B6, and B12): these can make you feel more energized. Definitely a plus when you’re feeling lethargic from a cold.
Multivitamins: in a nutshell, if you don’t have a well balanced diet then you may be deficient in some vitamins. If your body isn’t getting all the nutrition it requires then it won’t run optimally.
Time for another entry about how to get rid of your cold FAST. Are you ready for this valuable piece of advice? It’s free and everyone can do it. It’s not really a secret but most people need to be told what to do. So here it goes…
The secret remedy for getting rid of a cold FAST is: SLEEP! Yup, you’ve heard that before. In fact, your mom probably told you this countless times growing up. The benefits of sleep are far underestimated by those of us with crazy busy lives. We have obligations here and there: children, jobs, second jobs, organizations, clubs, sports, social time, friends, and family. We jam our lives to full to the brim that when we get a cold we can’t slow down.
But the truth is, you need to. If your body is weakened from a virus the best thing you can do is put all those obligations on hold and get some rest. It’s amazing what some solid sleep will gain you when you’re ill.
Don’t worry about all those tasks you still need to get done, don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings, don’t worry about the book club meeting! People will understand. We all get sick at one point or another and if we had the support of our friends and family to assist in putting everything on a bit of a delay then we can return the favor for them in the future. Amazing concept, huh?
But let me elaborate. Let’s say you know you need rest, but how much? If you usually sleep 6 hours a night is getting 7 hours when you’re sick enough? The short answer is no. The long answer goes like this: you need as much rest as you can possibly afford. There is no “magical” number but I can assure you that it is not 6 hours of sleep.
Seeing as this will be my first entry on the blog, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to take a pause before jumping into our examination of cold remedies to provide a bit of background information regarding colds, allergies and your overall health (and to hopefully help clear up some common misconceptions in the process).
First of all (and I know this is really going back to the basics, here, but bear with me for a minute here as I bust out the 5th grade science), whatisa coldanyway? Well it’s what happens when a little tiny thing called a “virus” gets inside your body and once inside, our bodies recognize it as an imposter, and so they unleash a kind of microscopic warfare on the virus to try and eliminate it as quickly as possible so things can get back to normal.
Symptoms—like sneezing and coughing—are actually a sign that your body’s immune system is doing everything it can to fight back against the virus. Now here’s where things can start to get a little bit tricky, because there are hundreds of thousands of different types of viruses that can make us sick, and many share similar symptoms, which can make it pretty difficult to know exactly what kind of sick we are (which, in turn, can make it pretty hard for us to know what to do to start feeling better. . .).
Colds, in particular, tend to present themselves along with a host of relatively common symptoms:
And to make things even more fun, these symptoms are tied to another incredibly common seasonal ailment: allergies.
So here’s Cold-Remedy Pro-Tip #1: In order to treat your cold ASAP, you need to know if you really have a cold.
Know the major differences between allergies and a cold!
Colds typically last 3-14 days, while allergies can last months (when in continual contact with an environmental trigger).
Colds more commonly occur during winter, while allergies can occur any time (when in contact with an environmental trigger) but often are experienced in seasonal spikes
With colds, symptoms typically appear several days after infection, while allergy symptoms can occur almost instantaneously (upon contact with environmental trigger).
I know it might seem silly to spend so much time discussing allergies after creating a blog called “How to Get Rid of Cold Remedies Fast,” but this is one of those discussions that just have to happen. I, myself, went most of my life thinking I wasn’t allergic to anything. It wasn’t until I spent 3 straight years with “colds” that oddly lasted from early spring to mid-summer that I actually realized what was going on!
So save yourself some trouble and get to know the different ways your body reacts to colds and allergies.
The good news is, there are a lot of things you can do in your home (or work, for that matter) to help reduce the number of allergens and pollutants that you come into contact with, and this can have positive health effects even on those not suffering allergy symptoms.
Use anti-allergen bedding. They make incredibly effective dust-mite-proof pillows, box springs, sheets, you name it. This can have a huge significance on reducing your daily exposure to microscopic allergens.
Use air conditioning during allergy season! While this may seem like a no brainer, it’s always good to remember that you don’t have to invite those little puffs of pollen into your home!
Get an air filter. Double down on your air quality, and you’ll thank yourself—especially if you use one that’s got a HEPA or small-particle filter, which are incredibly effective at reducing the number of allergy stimulants in your home.
Get your carpets regularly cleaned. This is a pro-tip I got from a carpet cleaner in my hometown at the time (westdesmoinescarpetcleaning.com), and this is one of the best things you can do to reduce allergens in your home. A professional cleaning is hugely different from just vacuuming the carpets (which is good, but does virtually nothing about the little particles that are embedded more deeply in your carpet or carpet mat.
Avoid cotton (and synthetic fabric) blinds or curtains. Washable materials are your friend when it comes to holding those allergens at bay.