According to Chris Iliades, MD, “More than 200 types of viruses can cause the common cold. These viruses can survive for a brief period of time on most surfaces and in air droplets, making it easy to “catch a cold” by simply touching something or breathing the air around you.” No wonder colds get around.
In fact, the people in the United States catch a billion colds every year.
Most likely the question isn’t “what to do if you get sick,” but “when.” Sickness activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and February. According to WebMD, “cold weather may make the lining of your nose drier and more vulnerable to an infection by a virus.” Since the most common cold viruses survive better when humidity is low, you can expect your chances of getting sick to dramatically increase during the winter months. Especially since people spend more time indoors during this time period, which only increases your chances of catching a cold.
Common Cold Symptoms
The early symptoms start two to three days after being infected:
- Sore throat
The symptoms of nasal discharge and congestion increase quickly and then go away after about a week. More severe symptoms, such as high fever or muscle aches, may be a sign that you have the flu rather than a cold.
With the common cold, you can be contagious even before you realize you’re sick. Cesar Arias, MD, associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston says, “You are most contagious during the period before the symptoms start and during the first two days you feel sick.”
When a team member catches a cold, it’s important that he/she is able to take a couple days off work to rest and prevent the spread of the virus. This is why it is important to have policies in play that allow your team members to accrue sick leave. Otherwise, if money is a priority, your team members are forced to work while sick and most likely, they will spread their cold to other team members, your patients/customers, and probably, you. As a business owner, it’s important to realize that a lack of paid sick days endangers your healthy workers.
Eat These For A Push Toward Recovery
Sometimes you can do your best and it’s just not enough to avoid getting sick. If you’ve caught a cold, you could reach for your usual go-to’s like honey, ginger, or Mom’s chicken noodle soup . . . or you could try one or all of these remedies to nip your cold in the bud fast and tasty.
Snack on these zinc-filled seeds at the first sign of a cold and bounce back faster. Studies show that Zinc, a common ingredient in cold supplements, has healing properties that helps you recover quicker.
Steep a few fresh leaves in hot water and sip it like tea. The mint will help you breath easier and the hot liquid will help you feel better, much like Mom’s chicken noodle soup. Fluids thin out your mucus and hydrate your body, helping you to fight the infection and your symptoms to clear more rapidly.
Raw coconut water restores essential electrolytes and replenishes fluids, but without the added sugar of a sports drink. Drink it straight, hot or cold, or try freezing it into ice pops. Either way, it’s a remedy to help you rebound.