Dr. Saunders Cure for the Common Cold
“Get out of that puddle before you catch a cold!” …a mother scolds her young child.
“Take your coat in case it gets cold!” …we were always told as children.
When I was in the Philippines, I noticed children in the marketplace wearing nothing but shorts and towels strapped to their backs. I inquired of our guide as to the reason for this and he informed me, “The people think that if the children sweat and the sweat dries on their backs then they will get sick.” Well, in the Philippines it never gets cold so, they have to explain another reason how and why children acquire these upper respiratory infections.
The common cold is caused by a series of over 200 different viruses, the most common being the Rhinovirus.
- If the virus gets in the nose we call it “rhinitis.”
- If it is in the sinuses we call it “sinusitis.”
- If it is in the throat we call it “pharyngitis.”
- If it’s in the larynx we call it “laryngitis.”
- In the bronchi we call it “bronchitis.”
- …and so forth.
All of these illnesses may have the same cause, but only have different names because of the location of the primary infection.
Children average about six such infections per year, while adults average about two. The symptoms are highly variable and may last from 1-25 days, depending on which of the viruses is the infecting agent, and the strength of the person’s immune system.
How do we catch a cold?
People have many reasons why they may “catch a cold.”
- Lack of sleep
- Poor nutrition
- Getting chilled
- Exposure to someone with a cold
- Immune system suppression
- Too much exercise
Actually, any of these reasons can suppress the immune system and allow us to be more susceptible to a virus.
These viruses are found everywhere in the world. We cannot avoid contact with them. Many of them can stay in the environment and do not require us to be near one who has a cold in order to catch it.
Can we avoid the bugs?
We think the primary way of preventing a cold is to avoid contact with the viruses that can cause it. We often have people who are sick put on a surgical mask while in the office to protect others, but it really only works the other way around. Within a couple of minutes the mask of the sick person is saturated and they are spewing viruses all over the place. If you want a mask to protect you from airborne viruses, then you need to be the one wearing it — not the sick person.
Travel is a common way to catch a cold. Having such close contact with so many people dramatically increases the odds that you will catch something. Airplane air is mostly recirculated, not fresh outside air. Some airlines have filters, but they don’t remove small microorganisms like a virus. Other airplanes have ultraviolet filters that damage DNA and inactivate viruses, which actually seem to remove pathogens from the air.
Most colds are caught not from the air, but from surfaces. Hand washing seems to be the best way to avoid coming in contact with a cold virus. Some people get obsessive about hand washing, which is not necessary. After being in places where there are a lot of people, like the grocery store, washing the hands is a good idea. This works to keep the virus off of your hands so you don’t infect yourself.
It isn’t necessary to use anti-bacterial soaps. They seem to do more harm than good, and they don’t kill viruses anyway.
Can we build immunity?
Many years ago, a study in England included people who were lightly clothed on a very cold day, and were sprayed with a solution that contained live viruses. Whether people were warmly dressed or chilled to the bone, each group caught a cold about 60% of the time. Some thought this was proof that being cold didn’t make you more susceptible to the infection. But there is another interpretation: 40% of people who were definitely exposed to the virus didn’t get sick!(1)
I read a book about a doctor working in a sanitarium, where they cared for people who were sick with tuberculosis and other such illnesses. The doctor was asked how he could be around sick people all day and not get sick himself. He replied, “It’s because our immune systems are strong and it keeps us from getting sick.”
(By the way, doctors DO get sick from their patients, especially if they don’t wash their hands!)
Your immune system is the key to preventing all infectious diseases. All of the 200 different viruses you may be exposed to can be stopped by a strong immune system.
This starts with the reason why children have an average of about 6 infections per year, while adults average only about 2. If you’ve already been exposed to an infection, then you have some antibodies that will attack it right away and prevent you from getting sick. Studies on children who grow up in sterile environments, whose houses are very clean, and who aren’t exposed to dirt and other people seem to indicate that they are more sickly as adults than those who grow up in dirty environments. (2) There are two reasons for this: