Thursday, December 3, 2009

Snot and the Common Cold: 3 Things You May Not Know

Tis the season of tissues, snot, coughing and sneezing. Oh how jolly! Actually, these symptoms of the common cold should be welcomed as signs your body trying to get healthy ... even if they make you miserable!

Facts About the Common Cold
Obviously no one likes to catch cold and very few people appreciate the purpose of cold symptoms. When you "catch cold" and have cold symptoms, you are actually experiencing your body trying to get rid of toxins, foreign invaders, and other unhealthy substances in your body.

Without a cold, all of these toxic substances would literally be "stuck" in your body forever, wreaking further havoc and leading to more chronic illnesses. Hooray for the common cold! So that you can more fully appreciate the "value" of a cold, here are three things you probably don't know about snot and the common cold.

#1 - Snot is Good, Really
Whenever the body encounters something unwanted in the body, one of its first forms of defense is to dilute the substance and then move it out of the body. Hence, you get snot, as well as mucous, phlegm, and other such goodies. Diluting an unwanted substance in the body, like bacteria or viruses, makes the substance less harmful, and also helps move it out of the body.

Even though having a runny nose or watery eyes may make you feel miserable, you can be glad that your body is strong enough to put up this kind of defense. A less healthy body would not be able to mount this kind of defense, and the toxic substance would remain in the body. So every time you catch cold, instead of feeling miserable, you can congratulate your body on being healthy enough to defend itself!

#2 - Fevers Help Your Body "Clean House"
Although many western cultures don't acknowledge this, tribal cultures have long understood the value of a controlled fever (104 degrees Fahrenheit or less). A fever is another way your body rids itself of bacteria, viruses, germs, and other toxic materials. Fevers literally "burn off" toxic substances and kill foreign invaders, many of which cannot live at such high temperatures. That just about makes all the aches, pains, and crazy dreams associated with fevers worth it!

#3 - Germs Don't Cause Colds
Saying that germs cause colds is kind of like saying that fire trucks cause fires; since fire trucks are always at the scene of a fire, then they must be the cause of the fires, right? Not really. The same goes for germs. Germs are often "at the scene of the crime" when you catch cold, but that doesn't mean they are the root cause of the common cold.

You only catch cold when your body's immune system has been weakened, which then allows germs to set up residence, giving you the common cold. This explains why not everyone exposed to the same germs catches cold. Only people with weak immune systems catch cold. So there you have it ... the poor luckless germ has been blamed this whole time for the common cold when it is actually a wimpy immune system that is at fault.

3 Things You Can Do About the Common Cold
If you do end up with a common cold, for whatever reason, you can take steps to move the cold through and out of your system more quickly and effectively. Here are three things you can do:

1. Don't Suppress Cold Symptoms
If you try to suppress cold symptoms, you interfere with your body's defense mechanisms. This allows foreign invaders to stay in your body. Instead, your goal should be to help your body push these invaders out of your system faster. Just accept that you have a cold and try not to suppress the symptoms with too many over-the-counter medications. If you need relief from cold symptoms, try taking Echinacea tincture or Vitamin C.

2. Support Your Body's Immune System with Beta-Glucan
Beta-glucan is a substance made from brewer's yeast that has been shown to activate and support the body's microbe-killing capabilities. In studies, beta-glucan increased the body's ability to identify microbial invaders and also increased the communication among various parts of the body's immune system. Note that this effect was only achieved with beta-glucan that had been separated by a special process from brewer's yeast. Ingesting brewer's yeast alone with not have this effect. This immune support supplement is an excellent source of beta-glucan.

3. Hydrate to Increase the Dilution Effect
Drink, drink, and then drink some more clear liquids. Whether you are drinking water, hot tea, or warm broth, take in as much fluid as you can since this helps your body dilute the effect of microbial invaders. If you have difficulty drinking cold water, try drinking either warm water with honey and lemon, or warm water with a bit of high-grade sea salt. Either will soothe your throat and produce the desired dilution effect.

The Common Cold: A Good Thing
It's never fun to catch cold, but if you do end up with the common cold then don't hate it. It's just your body doing its job and keeping you healthy. Do everything you can to support your body's immune response and know that you will emerge on the other side healthier and with a stronger immune system!

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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanj/ / CC BY 2.0

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for clearing the common misconceptions of common cold.It is good to be ill sometimes ...that is the deference mechanism and that makes the body very strong and develop immunity too.

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