Cold and Flu – Practical Perspective
Cold and Flu – Much Beyond Just a Stuffy Nose!!
Common cold is one of the most frequent illnesses encountered in children. Children’s colds cause more doctor visits and missed school days than any other illness.
In fact, studies point out an interesting association between multiple episodes of colds and poor performance of such children in school. Recurrent episodes of colds (generally allergic) could make your child inattentive, easily distracted and irritable. A possible explanation to this could be intermittent hypoxemia (relatively restricted oxygen supply) due to chronically inflamed nasal organs and respiratory tract.
In adults, cold and flu hamper quality of life and are accompanied with poor sleep; which in turn raises risk for development of other chronic diseases.
Cold and Flu – Know the Culprits & Contributors in order to Avoid them
In general, the cause of a common cold could be – Infective and Non-infective.
- Infective: Infective causes of cold and flu are most of the times – viral. Bacterial infections; less common, are generally secondary.
- Non- Infective: Non-infective causes include mainly allergic (Allergy is a highly sensitive reaction of the body to certain substances, such as pollen, that are present in amounts that do not affect most people)
- Besides, other possible causes that may trigger or worsen any episode of a cold and cough include:
- Anti-Hypertension Medications like ACE Inhibitors may cause cough as a side effect. In some cases, Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs) too may trigger or worsen a cough; Beta Blockers may cause bronchospasm (which in some patients may present as a spasmodic cough).
- An Oral Anti-Diabetic class of drugs called DPP-IV Inhibitors are known to cause rhino-sinusitis (inflammation of nose and sinuses) and may mimic symptoms of cold and flu.
It would be important to discuss the above with your treating physician if you are on any of these medications during an episode of cold or flu.
- Unidentified Allergen: Presence of an unidentified allergen in the house/work place; this could be presence of pollen source near the house, or pet dander, exposure to chalk at school, soft toys etc.
- Foodstuffs: Consumption of cold food, artificially flavoured foodstuffs, chocolates, unnoticed consumption of an allergy precipitating food etc.
- Environment: Change of weather, pollution, damp atmosphere
- Sleep: Poor sleep quality and shorter sleep durations may be associated with lower resistance for combating colds.
- Host Immunity: Poor host immunity may contribute towards easy susceptibility for development of cold and flu.
- Mechanical: Nasal polyps and Deviated Nasal Septum (DNS) may often result in stubborn common cold like symptoms; it may be essential to see a specialist to assess their severity.
Overcoming Cold and Flu Quickly – Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) approach
- Lactoferrin: The host immunity has a significant role in resisting viral infections; Lactoferin – a component of innate immunity may likely serve as immune enhancing substance. Besides, lactoferrin possesses anti-bacterial, anti-viral and immune-modulating effects. Imunor – an Australian manufactured brand of Zifam offers 100 mg of lactoferrin along with colostrum 75 mg; which may assist in supporting innate immunity and in turn, possibly help to overcome the viral cold and flu in susceptible individuals.
- Fish Oil: There is some data to suggest that fish oil based supplementation in early infancy may have immune-modulatory properties that may be potentially allergy protective. Offering fish oil supplements to children is a practical challenge owing to its odd taste. It could be an interesting choice to offer your child with Mega-3 Chewable or Cod Liver Oil Chewable – a tasty Australian made formulation of Zifam. Alternatively, pregnant women may supplement themselves with fish oil containing supplements during pregnancy and lactation – which may in turn help to reduce the risk of allergy in infants.
- Vitamin D: Understanding of Vitamin D in recent years has greatly revolutionised and leans us to insights that its benefits are far beyond the skeletal domain. Insufficient Vitamin D levels may result in poor immune-modulation and increase the risk of development of infections. Although such association is yet to be consistently established, there is no harm
in supplementing children and adults at risk of Vitamin D deficiency / insufficiency in an attempt to safely obtain a possible benefit. Zifam brand of Vitamin D (Infant D) facilitates aseptic administration of high quality vitamin D in the form of unique twist open softgel for your child in the recommended daily dosage of 400 IU.
- Honey: Honey based syrup formulations offer very significant symptom relief in children suffering from common cold; and is believed to safe.
- Rest and Adequate Hydration: There should be no compromise on rest and adequate hydration – these are the safest means to allow the body accommodate itself in a healthy internal environment to expedite healing
Cold and Flu – Red Flags
- If you have following signs or symptoms,
- High Fever (mild feverish feeling is acceptable – it’s a sign of a fighting immunity).
- Symptoms progressively worsening even after a week – it’s a sign of a secondary bacterial infection or severe viral infection.
- Productive cough (greenish expectoration) – it’s a sign of lower respiratory infection.
- Difficulty in breathing – it’s a sign of asthma.
- Wheezing – it’s a again a sign of asthma, more evident in children and elderly.
- Cold and flu that have progressed to asthma in the past (cold and flu have a tendency to worsen and develop asthma in susceptible individuals).
- If you are on immuno-suppressant drugs for another co-morbidities, the chances of worsening of your cold and flu symptoms are higher.
If you have the above associations, kindly enquire and seek medical advice at the earliest for prompt aggressive treatment
Take Home Message / Concluding Remarks
As they say, “the eyes see only what the mind knows!!”.
Hence, it is crucial to be seek awareness about the common practical causes pertaining to cold and flu, and hold vigilance about the “triggering” and “maintaining” factors which may prolong the duration and magnify the intensity of symptoms – this coupled with rest and rational use of evidenced based natural medicine and vitamins will render an integrative approach towards overcoming the drafts of cold and flu that sway away the quality from our lives.
Always read the label before use.
This article is an attempt to educate the patient; it is by no means a replacement for individualistic medical advice.
© 2016. Zifam Pinnacle Pty. Ltd.