Dealing with a common cold when it attacks

It is always important to give your body plenty of rest while allowing the cold or flu to run its course. Cold flu is caused by viruses that are microscopic particles of genetic material, each coated by a thin layer of protein.
 Dr. Joseph Kamugisha
Dr. Joseph Kamugisha

It is always important to give your body plenty of rest while allowing the cold or flu to run its course.

Cold flu is caused by viruses that are microscopic particles of genetic material, each coated by a thin layer of protein.

Due to their design, viruses are not able to reproduce on their own. The only way that viruses can flourish in your body is by using the machinery and metabolism of your cells to produce multiple copies of themselves.

Once a virus has gained access into one of the body cells, depending on the type of virus involved, certain changes happen in the body system.

The virus uses the body cells to replicate itself many times over time and then breaks open (lyses) the cell so that the newly replicated viruses can leave in search of new cells to infect. Lysis effectively kills human body cell.

The virus incorporates itself into the DNA (genetic make) of the body cell, which allows the virus to be passed on to each daughter cell that stems from this cell. Later on, the virus in each daughter cell can begin replicating itself as described above.

Both possibilities lead to the same result: eventually, the infected cell can die due to lyses.

It is important to understand that viruses that can cause the common cold and the flu mainly infect our body’s weakest cells; cells that are already burdened with excessive waste products and toxins are most likely to allow viruses to infect them. These are cells that the body is already looking to get rid of anyway, to be replaced by new and new healthy cells.

Therefore, flu is a truly natural tool that can allow the body to purge itself of old and damaged cells that in the absence of viral infection, would normally take much longer to identify, destroy, and eliminate.

The mucous material running out of the nose while infected with flu contains countless dead cells that the body is trying to rid off and is largely due to the lytic effect of viruses.

Actually, there has been no cure for the common cold, since it is nature’s way of keeping you healthy over a long time. And so long as you get plenty of rest and strive to stay hydrated and properly nourished during a flu infection, there is no need to get vaccinated or take medications that suppress congested sinuses, fever, and coughing. All these uncomfortable symptoms are actually ways in which the body works to eliminate waste products and help the body get through this infection.

It is agreed and proved scientifically to counteract the pain by use of medications if there is discomfort caused by flu. But it is important to avoid medications that aim to suppress helpful processes such as fever, coughing, and a runny nose.

It is also important to note that just because flu can be helpful to your body does not mean that you need to experience them to be at your best. If a person takes good care of his body health and immune system by getting plenty of rest and consistently making  health promoting dietary and lifestyle choices, the body  cells may stay strong enough to avoid getting infected by viruses that come knocking on their membranes. A cold usually develops gradually over the course of a day or two. Generally, it leaves a person feeling tired, sneezing, coughing and plagued by a running nose. You often do not have a fever, but when you do, it is only slightly higher than normal. Colds usually last three to four days, but can hang around for 10 days to two weeks.

The common cold infection, on the other hand, comes on suddenly and hits hard. You will feel weak and tired and you could run a fever as high as 40 degrees Celsius. The muscles and joints will probably ache; a person will feel chilled and could have a severe headache and sore throat. Getting off the couch or out of bed will be a chore. The fever may last three to five days, but you could feel weak and tired for two to three weeks.

It should be noted that the common cold and the flu are both caused by a virus; thus, antibiotics are not necessary. People who take antibiotics while suffering from a cold or flu often feel slightly better because the drugs have a mild anti-inflammatory effect. But this benefit is far outweighed by the negative impact that antibiotics have on friendly bacteria that live throughout your digestive tract. In this light, if you really need help with pain management during a cold or flu. It is usually better to take a small dose of acetaminophen than it is to take antibiotics.

The writer is a doctor at the Rwanda Military Hospital Kanombe

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