1. Health article
Combating Common Cold
“It is wiser to prevent disease than run after remedies after it has happened or grown beyond control. Man does not attend to precautionary measures; he allows things to worsen and then the disease is aggravated by fear, uncertainty, and anxiety.1”… Sri Sathya Sai Baba
1. What is common cold?
Common cold is an acute self-limiting viral disease that infects the upper respiratory system (nose, sinuses, pharynx and larynx). There are more than 200 viruses that cause common cold. Our body may never build up resistance to all of them. So cold is common.2-5
2. Symptoms of common cold
Dry or sore throat is one of the most common early symptoms, accompanied by sneezing, runny nose, or blocked nostrils. Other symptoms include chillness, feverishness, mild fever, low energy levels, hoarse voice, or cough. Some rare symptoms are shivering, muscle aches, pink eye (conjunctivitis), extreme fatigue, or reduction in appetite. It may sometimes be accompanied by secondary bacterial infection infecting the ears or sinuses.2,4,6
Early fatigue, faster breathing and heart rate, dizziness, headache, and dark yellow urine are indicators of dehydration and precursors to cold.7
Cold is different from flu: Both cold and flu (influenza) are contagious respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. They have almost similar symptoms. The symptoms of cold are milder and worsen gradually. Flu can be mild like cold or worse with intense symptoms. Flu comes on suddenly. Colds do not turn into flu and vice versa. A person with flu will have fever, muscle aches, and more severe cough. Flu may result in serious health problems like pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalization.2,4,5,6
3. Causes of common cold
Germs: Cold weather per se does not cause cold as normally perceived. One catches cold only when germs enter the body.5 Both cold and flu germs enter the body through mucus membranes in the eyes, nose, and mouth.8
Poor immune system helps cold virus to overpower it and make its way into the body. The first line of defence is mucus formed in the nose and throat by the mucus glands. This mucus traps anything inhaled, like dust, viruses, and bacteria. If the virus successfully penetrates the mucus, it enters one cell and uses it to produce more viruses and starts penetrating other cells too. In this manner it gains control and further weakens the system.2,9
Dehydration puts one at a greater risk of illness. Germs can easily latch on to the mucus membranes of mouth, nose, and throat, when they are dry. Thirst is not felt in winters even when one is dehydrated. In warm weather, body naturally elicits a thirst response to prevent dehydration.7,8
Cold spreads: It is contagious from 1-2 days before symptoms begin until the symptoms have stopped. It can spread very easily through air droplets from coughs and sneezes as well as fingers contaminated by touching infected surfaces.2 Cold virus cannot multiply on environmental surfaces till they get transported into nose and its living cells. Small dose of virus (1-30 particles) is enough to cause infections. Children’s nose is considered as a major source of cold viruses.4
According to a study, eighty percent of all infectious diseases are spread by direct contact like kissing or shaking hands with a sick person, or by indirect contact like touching a doorknob or handling a phone that a sick person has used.8
Susceptibility to cold: People with weak immune system or aged, kids below six years of age, those having chronic respiratory disorders like asthma or pulmonary disease, and smokers are more susceptible to catch cold. During changing weathers or cold climatic conditions viruses that cause cold and flu circulate more easily as the air and nasal passage become drier. Studies have shown that stressed out persons with lack of sleep are more likely to get a cold.2,3,5,8
No possible cure in sight! There is no cure or vaccine for cold. Human rhinovirus is considered as the main causal agent of cold. Experiments are going on to develop therapies or treatment to effectively treat cold due to this virus.10,11
There is no way to avoid a cold once symptoms arise. It will run its course. One has to manage it by taking effective steps for quick relief.12
Precautions can be taken to avoid catching a cold or to minimize its severity:
- By listening to the body and the subtle signs of a likely onset of a cold.9
- By keeping hands clean, especially before touching oneself and eating. Scrub hands after lathering with soap for at least 15 seconds, rinse with clean water, and then dry.8,13
- By eating healthy, regular exercise or yoga/ pranayama, and by keeping oneself totally hydrated to keep up the immunity of the body.2,8
- By drinking 1-2 cups of tender coconut water twice daily; or 1-2 cups of winter melon/ash gourd juice with pepper or honey twice daily; or 3-5 drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a glass of water thrice daily.7,8
Prevent spreading through proper hygiene. One should sneeze and cough into a tissue or cloth and wash hands after discarding the tissue. Wash the cloth properly if reusable.2
Sai Vibrionics: Avoid a cold or flu/its severity through Sai Baba blessed Sai Vibrionics remedies. CC9.2 Infections acute, CC12.1 Adult tonic, CC17.2 Cleansing, CC19.2 Respiratory allergies or any suitable combo from 108 CC box. NM11 Cold, NM18 General fever, NM30 Throat, NM36 War, NM63 Back-Up (Booster), NM72 Cleansing, NM79 Flu Pack, NM86 Immunity, or any combination using SRHVP based on symptoms.
5. Home remedies for fast relief
- Stay hydrated with fluids like plain water, preferably warm, and freshly made orange juice or warm apple juice. Simple vegetable soup or warm lemon water with honey would be soothing. Avoid alcohol, coffee, caffeinated sodas.12,14
- Inhale steam to help loosen congestion. May add a small amount of ginger, rosemary, or eucalyptus oil to the hot water. Keep a minimum distance of 30cm between the face and the bowl of hot steaming water. 8
- Have a warm water gargle to soothe the throat and clear the nasal passage.14
- Take rest to heal the body and to enable the immune system to fight any infection.14
Several herbs/spices are known to be effective.8,15-20 Some proven remedies include the following:
- Mix well 1 teaspoon each of turmeric, honey, and broken peppercorn in a glass of warm water and drink 2-3 times daily to get relief from runny nose. 8
- Grind together 20 mustard seeds with 1 tsp honey. Take once a day in the mornings on empty stomach for 48 days, if symptoms include irritated throat or cough. 8
- Grind a handful of tulsi / basil leaves or 7 leaves of Spanish thyme with 10 black peppercorns. Consume thrice a day for relief from cold.16
- Mix 4 teaspoons each of ginger juice and honey with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice in three-quarters of a cup of water and drink to get relief. 16
- Fresh garlic/supplements help to prevent and combat cold effectively.17-20
References and Links:
- Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Divine Discourse 29, Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 9, 12.10.1969
2. Refresher workshop in Delhi, India, 22 September 2018
Refresher workshop for AVPs and VPs was conducted on 22 September 2018, at Sai International Centre, Delhi, by Teachers 11422 & 02059. It was attended by 19 practitioners (including 3 SVPs), from Delhi-NCR and one from Amritsar, Punjab. The workshop began with chanting Sai Gayathri 108 times filling the air with divine fervour.
The participants were updated about the best practices for preparing and administering remedies, like:
*an ideal remedy should consist of minimum number of combos for best effect.
*one should not routinely add CC10.1 Emergencies, CC12.1 Adult tonic, CC15.1 Mental & Emotional tonic, and CC18.1 Brain disabilities to all remedies, as was being done by some, unless the symptoms demanded their addition.
*it would be good to tell patients to be prayerful and to shake the pills/remedy water every time before use to keep them fully charged,
*to give the remnant remedy water, if any, to the plants, and
*be ready to serve anytime anywhere by always carrying the wellness kit and an emergency remedy in the pocket or small purse.
There was a question & answer session on how to prioritise and treat a patient with acute as well as chronic problems. Dr Aggarwal clarified during his Skype address that vibrations do not actually heal, they merely trigger the healing mechanism resident in the body to enable it to heal itself. This healing power will get divided and slow down the pace of healing if both acute and chronic or several chronic illnesses are treated together. Ideally all acute symptoms should be treated first and all together. If a patient has more than one chronic illness, it is ideal to first treat the most bothersome, if applicable, otherwise the oldest. It was clarified that in case of chronic skin disorders pullout could be severe. One may start with OD and then increase the dosage depending on the patient’s response.
Participants were reminded that each one of us should take some vibrionics remedy regularly to enhance our immunity, cleanse ourselves, and to prevent diseases. Some good choices are CC10.1 Emergencies to clear oneself of the impressions of any past trauma, CC15.1 Mental & Emotional tonic, CC12.1 Adult tonic and CC17.2 Cleansing, alternating the last two. These possibilities should be conveyed to patients too.
Om Sai Ram