How do colds and flu not infinitely recur?

How do colds and flu not infinitely recur?

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I'm in my third week of university, and a large number of people I know, including myself, still have "fresher's flu", which is probably just a cold and a cough. My lectures are constantly punctuated by the sound of violent coughing. What I don't understand is: how do colds ever go away, given these conditions? Surely by the time you've gotten rid of your cold you've passed it onto someone sitting near you in a lecture, who could then spread it back to you directly or indirectly later? Why don't we have an infinite recursion of colds, coughs and other minor infections throughout the year?

Short answer:

Because your immune system adapts to the virus causing the flu or the common cold and, thus, you become immune to it.

Longer answer:

When B cells first encounter an antigen (usually a protein on the surface of a pathogen), the antigen attaches to a receptor, stimulating the B cells. Some B cells change into memory cells, which remember that specific antigen, and others change into plasma cells. Plasma cells produce antibodies that are specific to the antigen that stimulated their production.

After the first encounter with an antigen, production of enough of the specific antibody takes several days. Thus, the primary immune response is slow and that's the reason you experience the symptoms of the disease.

But thereafter, whenever B cells encounter the antigen again, memory B cells very rapidly recognize the antigen, multiply, change into plasma cells, and produce antibodies. This response is quick and very effective.

This means that, theoretically, you shouldn't be able to become sick twice by the same virus.

However, virus are very prone to mutations. If these mutations occur in the genes that code for antibody-binding sites, the antibodies produced by B Cells become less effective. This is called Antigenic drift and the reason you might catch the Flu every year (because, with enough time, the virus antigens become different enough to "fool" your immune system).

Also, there are a few explanations why the flu has a seasonal pattern, with a peak usually at winter. One of the theories postulates that in cold weather, people tend to stay indoor, favoring virus transmission.

Recently, an interesting article was published that found that:

transmission of influenza B viruses is enhanced at colder temperatures, providing an explanation for the seasonality of influenza epidemics in temperate climates


How Our Antibodies Fight The Common Cold And Other Viruses, Landmark Research Discovery

UK scientists have discovered that our antibodies can fight viruses from inside infected cells, a major breakthrough in our understanding of how our immune system responds to viral infections, such as the common cold, gastroenteritis and winter vomiting. This latest research, from the Medical Research Council (MRC), UK, provides scientists with a new set of rules that will have a huge impact on future antiviral research.

Viruses are responsible for more human deaths than any other pathogen or disease. Twice as many people die from viruses annually than cancer. Scientists agree that viral infections are the most difficult ones to treat.

Before this discovery, the scientific community thought that antibodies could only attack viral infections outside the cells, for example, by stopping them from gaining entry into a cell.

Researchers at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England, have demonstrated that even when viruses enter healthy cells, antibodies remain attached to them. As soon as they are inside a cell, a protein &ndash TRIM21 &ndash triggers a response which pulls the virus into a disposal system the cell uses to expel waste. The process is so fast that the virus does not usually have a chance to damage the cell.

MRC scientists found that this disposal system within cells works even faster if TRIM21 protein levels are raised. This discovery is likely to have a major impact on research into making improved antiviral medications.

Study leader, Dr Leo James said:

Doctors have plenty of antibiotics to fight bacterial infections but few antiviral drugs. Although these are early days, and we don&rsquot yet know whether all viruses are cleared by this mechanism, we are excited that our discoveries may open multiple avenues for developing new antiviral drugs.

Deputy director of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Sir Greg Winter, said:

Antibodies are formidable molecular war machines it now appears that they can continue to attack viruses within cells. This research is not only a leap in our understanding of how and where antibodies work, but more generally in our understanding of immunity and infection.

The scientists explain that their current research is at basic cell level. Their findings will have to be applied to clinical trials next &ndash something they plan to do.

Leo C. James et al.
&ldquoAntibodies Q:1 mediate intracellular 2 immunity through tripartite motif-containing 21 (TRIM21)&rdquo
PNAS Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA

The Common Cold

The common cold is a generic term for a variety of mild viral infections of the nasal cavity. More than 200 different viruses are known to cause the common cold. The most common groups of cold viruses include rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, and adenoviruses. These infections are widely disseminated in the human population and are transmitted through direct contact and droplet transmission. Coughing and sneezing efficiently produce infectious aerosols, and rhinoviruses are known to persist on environmental surfaces for up to a week. 1

Viral contact with the nasal mucosa or eyes can lead to infection. Rhinoviruses tend to replicate best between 33 °C (91.4 °F) and 35 °C (95 °F), somewhat below normal body temperature (37 °C [98.6 °F]). As a consequence, they tend to infect the cooler tissues of the nasal cavities. Colds are marked by an irritation of the mucosa that leads to an inflammatory response. This produces common signs and symptoms such as nasal excess nasal secretions (runny nose), congestion, sore throat, coughing, and sneezing. The absence of high fever is typically used to differentiate common colds from other viral infections, like influenza. Some colds may progress to cause otitis media, pharyngitis, or laryngitis, and patients may also experience headaches and body aches. The disease, however, is self-limiting and typically resolves within 1&ndash2 weeks.

There are no effective antiviral treatments for the common cold and antibacterial drugs should not be prescribed unless secondary bacterial infections have been established. Many of the viruses that cause colds are related, so immunity develops throughout life. Given the number of viruses that cause colds, however, individuals are never likely to develop immunity to all causes of the common cold.

Since antibiotic treatment had proven ineffective, John&rsquos doctor suspects that a viral or fungal pathogen may be the culprit behind John&rsquos case of pneumonia. Another possibility is that John could have an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection that will require a different antibiotic or combination of antibiotics to clear.

The RIDT tests both came back negative for type A and type B influenza. However, the diagnostic laboratory identified the sputum isolate as Legionella pneumophila. The doctor ordered tests of John&rsquos urine and, on the second day after his admission, results of an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) were positive for the Legionella antigen. John&rsquos doctor added levofloxacin to his antibiotic therapy and continued to monitor him. The doctor also began to ask John where he had been over the past 10 to 14 days.

  1. Do negative RIDT results absolutely rule out influenza virus as the etiologic agent? Why or why not?
  2. What is John&rsquos prognosis?

Homeopathic Flu “Cures” and Dead Ducks

Oscillococcinum sounds like medicine. And if you saw this package in a store next to all the other cold and flu remedies, you might be tempted to give it a try.

A six-dose package of Oscillo

It looks just like a box of anthistamines or other real medicines. With flu season coming soon, you might want to look at this box more closely before you buy it.

You can buy oscillococinum at Walgreen’s, Target,, and many other places. At Walgreen’s, one of the largest pharmacy chains in the U.S., it’s listed under “Cough and Cold” where it sells for $9.99 (a savings of $4.50!) for 6 doses.

It sounds like medicine, but it’s not. The front of the box says (in small print) that it’s “homeopathic medicine,” which isn’t medicine at all. In fact, it’s nothing more than a sugar pill, which is why the product can advertise that it has “no side effects” and “no drug interactions.”

But in much larger print, the package says “Flu-like Symptoms”, followed by a list of symptoms: “Feeling run-down, headaches, body aches, chills, fever.” Anyone might be fooled into thinking this product is supposed to treat these conditions. If you go to the manufacturer’s (Boiron) website, they make the explicit claim that it “Temporarily relieves flu-like symptoms such as feeling run down, headache, body aches, chills and fever.” The Walgreen’s website says the same thing.

What’s in Oscillococcinum, and how can its producer get away with these claims?

Oscillo contains “Anas barbariae hepatis et cordis extractum 200CK.” Don’t be fooled by the Latin – it just means extract from the heart and liver of a duck. Yes, they kill ducks to make this stuff. The manufacturer then dilutes it to 200C, which in homeopath-speak means that 1 gram of extract is diluted to one part in 10 400 . Yes, that’s 10 raised to the power 400. Wow! The entire known universe has far fewer than 10 400 molecules. If you filled the entire solar system with water, and mixed in one molecule of duck liver, it would be much more concentrated than this stuff. Oscillo is so diluted that there is essentially zero chance that even a single molecule of the original extract is in the product. The package does say that sugar is added to the pills, and that’s all they are: sugar pills.

The idea that infinitely diluted substances can cure disease is a type of magical thinking, and it’s at the heart of homeopathy, whose proponents believe that the more dilute something is, the more powerful its effects. This bit of nonsense goes against basic principles of chemistry and physics, but no matter: homeopaths continue to insist on it.

And I shouldn’t forget to mention that there’s not a whit of evidence that extracts made from the heart and liver of a duck can cure the flu. Nope, not a chance.

The French-based manufacturer, Boiron, and the U.S. stores selling Oscillo can get away with this because it’s not a drug at all – it’s a supplement. Supplements are basically unregulated in the U.S., thanks to laws passed decades ago, some of them specifically designed to protect homeopaths. As long as you don’t claim that your product can treat a specific illness, you can sell it.

The box itself doesn’t say that Oscillococcinum cures the flu, but the product’s manufacturers have been making this claim on their website. Some of them have stepped over the line: the FDA sent a warning letter to one homeopathic marketer this past summer telling them that Oscillo “has not been approved or otherwise authorized by FDA for use in the diagnosis, mitigation, prevention, treatment , or cure of the H1N1 Flu Virus” and requesting that they “immediately cease marketing unapproved or unauthorized products for the diagnosis, mitigation, prevention, treatment, or cure of the H1N1 Flu Virus.”

Unfortunately, the FDA only steps in when the claims get particularly outrageous, or when (as here) they involve a high-profile disease such as avian flu. The purveyors of Oscillo can simply modify their packaging (and websites) slightly and go right ahead misleading the public.

So if you want to waste $10 on 6 sugar pills, go ahead. But at least try find a product that doesn’t require dead ducks.

Further reading: see Orac’s recent post on this same topic here.

The flu is getting stronger and it&aposs all our fault

The flu is getting stronger and it&aposs all our fault

The flu is getting stronger and it&aposs all our fault

On the heels of the worst flu season in a decade, research shows that our survival of diseases might mean the worst infections survive, too.

This year’s influenza outbreak has been the worst in a decade, and our bodies’ efforts to fight the disease off may be partially to blame. The immune system is supposed to battle the bugs that cause sickness, but sometimes those same defenses can spur pathogens to evolve to be stronger, according to new research published in Science. Different strains of a disease, that is, aren’t just clashing with your body’s defenses — they’re also skirmishing with each other to be the best at getting you sick.

“One of the biggest questions for anyone who studies infectious disease, or gets a disease, is why some pathogens make us feel so much more sick than others,” said Dana Hawley, a biology professor at Virginia Tech and one of the authors of the report. “Why does the flu make us lie in bed for days and days whereas the cold virus allows us to mostly go about our business?”

Hawley and her collaborators noticed that the symptoms of a bacteria called Mycoplasma gallisepticum, which infects the eyes of house finches, were becoming more severe with each generation. That’s surprising, at first blush, since sick birds are less likely to go out and infect others you𠆝 expect the bacteria to evolve to be less debilitating, not more.

To understand why that isn’t the case, Hawley and her collaborators watched recurring infections in 120 finches over the course of several years. They found that birds infected with a more virulent strain of the bacteria developed the strongest immunity to future infections — meaning that the nastiest strains of the disease mark their territory by excluding milder varieties from infecting the same bird later on.

The research fits into a growing understanding of the ways that organisms and the diseases that infect them interact in a generations-long co-evolutionary dance. It could lead, Hawley hopes, to understanding why some strains of common bugs like the flu are more debilitating than others.

The spread of disease through a population is a complex problem, and one with great benefits to health officials. Another paper published this week describes a new method that uses commuter data to predict flu outbreaks up to six weeks before they happen.

How do colds and flu not infinitely recur? - Biology

Evolution from a virus's view
December 2007

The new disease making the rounds this winter sounds like a Steven Spielberg movie in the making: a common cold virus, which spreads via casual contact, mutates into a virulent form that hospitalizes and sometimes kills its victims. Touted last month as the "killer cold," Adenovirus-14 is far from fantasy, but neither is it scary enough to make a blockbuster. In the past 18 months, the virus has caused just 10 deaths — a minor toll when compared to the 36,000 caused by the flu in an average year. Why hasn't Adenovirus-14 lived up to the threat advertised in headlines? Evolution helps explain why some bugs are killers, why others are not, and what chance a mutant cold virus has of reaching epidemic proportions.

Where's the evolution?
To understand why some germs are virulent, we need to see the world from their point of view. To us, disease-causing viruses and bacteria may be evildoers — invaders of our bodies — who, if they can be said to have any aim at all, it is to do us harm. But shifting our perspective to their scale reveals these pathogens to be evolving populations of organisms like any other, whose habitat just happens to be the human body. Like other organisms, these germs are shaped by natural selection to live and successfully reproduce. We view them as pathogens, however, because the resources they use to do this (and which they destroy in the process) are the cells of our own bodies. Many of the traits that make us feel sick during an infection are actually pathogenic adaptations — characteristics favored by natural selection that help these germs reproduce and spread.

As an example, consider a unique ecological challenge faced by many pathogens: appropriate habitats can be few and alarmingly far between. Put yourself in the position of a virus in its natural habitat — a human host. You've infected some cells and managed to reproduce, but the host's immune system is onto you now and is turning up the heat. This environment is no longer so hospitable. How can you get your descendents to a friendlier habitat (i.e., a new, unexploited human body)? Without legs, wings, fins, or any of the usual means of locomotion, your descendents' prospects for reaching a new host under their own power are nil. However, natural selection has provided pathogens with a number of sneaky strategies for making the leap to a new host, including:

    Droplet transmission — for example, being passed along when one host accidentally sneezes on another. The flu is transmitted this way.

Pathogen lineages that fail to meet this challenge and never infect a new host are doomed. They will go extinct when their human host dies or when the immune system destroys the infection.

Since transmission is a matter of life or death for pathogen lineages, some evolutionary biologists have focused on this as the key to understanding why some have evolved into killers and others cause no worse than the sniffles. The idea is that there may be an evolutionary trade-off between virulence and transmission. Consider a virus that exploits its human host more than most and so produces more offspring than most. This virus does a lot of damage to the host — in other words, is highly virulent. From the virus's perspective, this would, at first, seem like a good thing extra resources mean extra offspring, which generally means high evolutionary fitness. However, if the viral reproduction completely incapacitates the host, the whole strategy could backfire: the illness might prevent the host from going out and coming into contact with new hosts that the virus could jump to. A victim of its own success, the viral lineage could go extinct and become an evolutionary dead end. This level of virulence is clearly not a good thing from the virus's perspective.

Natural selection balances this trade-off, selecting for pathogens virulent enough to produce many offspring (that are likely to be able to infect a new host if the opportunity arises) but not so virulent that they prevent the current host from presenting them with opportunities for transmission. Where this balance is struck depends, in part, on the virus's mode of transmission. Sexually-transmitted pathogens, for example, will be selected against if they immobilize their host too soon, before the host has the opportunity to find a new sexual partner and unwittingly pass on the pathogen. Some biologists hypothesize that this trade-off helps explain why sexually-transmitted infections tend to be of the lingering sort. Even if such infections eventually kill the host, they do so only after many years, during which the pathogen might be able to infect a new host.

On the other hand, diseases like cholera (which causes extreme diarrhea) are, in many situations, free to evolve to a high level of virulence. Cholera victims are soon immobilized by the disease, but they are tended by others who carry away their waste, clean their soiled clothes, and, in the process, transmit the bacterium to a water supply where it can be ingested by new hosts. In this way, even virulent cholera strains that strike down a host immediately can easily be transmitted to a new host. Accordingly, cholera has evolved a high level of virulence and may kill its host just a few hours after symptoms begin.

Though transmission mode is far from the only factor that affects how virulence evolves — the immunity level of the host population, the distribution of the hosts, and whether the host has other infections, for example, matter as well — this key piece of the pathogen's ecology does help illuminate why some diseases are killers. More importantly, it suggests how we might sway pathogen evolution towards less virulent strains. In situations where high virulence is tied to high transmission rates (e.g., cholera), reducing transmission rates (e.g., by providing better water sanitation) may favor less virulent forms. The idea is to create a situation in which hyper-virulent strains that soon kill or immobilize their hosts never get a chance to infect new hosts and are turned into evolutionary dead ends. In fact, biologists have observed this phenomenon in South America: when cholera invaded countries with poor water sanitation, the strains evolved to be more virulent, while lineages that invaded areas with better sanitation evolved to be less harmful.

And that brings us back to Adenovirus-14. Adenoviruses are transmitted through the air or via contact. We might expect this sort of transmission to require a fairly healthy host (one who gets out and comes into contact with others) and, hence, to select against virulent strains. Indeed, adenoviruses are rarely killers, but in close quarters — for example, in the military barracks where Adenovirus-14 has been a particular problem — barriers to transmission may be lowered. This could open the door for the evolution of more virulent strains. Military personnel, however, are in the process of pushing this door shut again. At Lackland Air Force Base, which has seen the most serious outbreak of Adenovirus-14, wider testing, more hand-washing stations, increased attention to sanitization, and isolation of patients is helping to reduce the transmission of the disease and, in the process, may favor the evolution of less virulent strains of the virus.

    Ewald, P. W. (1996). Guarding against the most dangerous emerging pathogens: Insights from evolutionary biology. Emerging Infectious Diseases 2(4):245-257.

Understanding Evolution resources:

Discussion and extension questions

    . Explain how a mutation allowing a virus to make more copies of itself would spread through a population of viruses living within a single person. Make sure to include the concepts of variation, selection, and inheritance in your explanation.

. Describe what factors would increase the evolutionary fitness of a virus like Adenovirus-14.

Related lessons and teaching resources

    : In this short video for grades 9-12, evolutionary biologist Paul Ewald describes strategies for controlling viral evolution.

    Cases of 'boot camp flu' dropping at Lackland AFB. (2007, December 3). AP Texas News.
    Retrieved December 4, 2007, from Houston Chronicle

Here’s How Covid-19 Immunity Compares to Other Diseases

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories.

One of the many unknowns about the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is how we might become immune to it. When you get infected with viruses, along with other baddies like bacteria, your immune system fights back by producing proteins called antibodies. These stick around for the long haul, and your body is prepared to churn out more of them if you come into contact with the pathogen again.

It's how vaccines work: By introducing a dead or weakened version of a virus to your immune system, you trick it into producing antibodies in response. Then if you come into contact with the real virus, your body will be ready.

Viruses vary widely in terms of the immune response they elicit. For instance, if you got chicken pox as a kid, you are likely to be immune to reinfection for the rest of your life. With whooping cough, immunity might last for up to 20 years, and for the H1N1 flu strain, up to 10. With the seasonal coronaviruses that cause the common cold, immunity fades after a few months, which is why you can pick up new infections year after year.

But when it comes to SARS-CoV-2, “because this is such a new infection, we’re not sure how long those antibodies hang around for,” says Dr. Seema Yasmin, director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative.

Our best bet may be to compare it to the original SARS coronavirus, SARS-CoV. In patients infected with this virus, antibody levels peaked between two and four months after infection and offered protection for two to three years. “I think the glimmer of hope might be that there’s so much genetic similarity between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV,” adds Yasmin.

Read all of our coronavirus coverage here.

Speaking of genetics, another virus to consider as a comparison is HIV. This virus is so difficult to treat because it mutates like mad as it multiplies. The human body might develop an antibody, but it's one that will become less effective as the virus changes. “Some good news on the coronavirus front is this virus does not seem to mutate anywhere near as frequently as HIV mutates,” says Yasmin. “That means it stays much more consistent, and it means we have far less of a moving target.”

Discovering more about how immunity to this new coronavirus works will be key to fighting the pandemic. The more people who become immune—either from beating an infection or from receiving a vaccine—the closer we get to herd immunity, or the point at which most members of the population have antibodies. Then we’ll start to slow and eventually stop the pandemic.

To learn more about how antibodies work, and how they might help in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, check out our video with Yasmin above.

1. Get enough sleep

At the first sign of coming down with something, put yourself to bed and rest. While your natural instinct may be to push through, letting your body rest and recharge is one of the fastest ways to get you back to feeling well.

As we sleep, our bodies relax, repair, and regenerate, and evidence shows that a good night’s sleep boosts immune function and helps filter T-cells into our lymph nodes. Our lymphatic system is essential for defending our bodies from external invaders, so sleeping well can help you fight that cold fast.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, check out our top tips to help you get a deeper sleep.

2. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key as it can help clear toxins from the system and will replenish fluids lost from sweat, urine, and decreased food intake. Drink plenty of filtered water, bone broth and herbal teas to help you rehydrate.

3. Take a high dose of Vitamin D

Adequate amounts of vitamin D are essential for your immune system to function optimally. However, The majority of the US population is suffering from chronic, low levels of Vitamin D because we don’t get enough exposure to the sun.

One of the best things you can do to strengthen your immune system is to regularly supplement with vitamin D and you can check with your doctor what dosage is right for you. If you’re already not feeling well, I recommend 20,000 units the first day you are sick and 10,000 the next three days. Slowly scale back to your maintenance dose.

4. Increase your probiotics

Considering that your gut is the largest part of your immune system, you want to support it to stop this cold in its tracks. I recommend doubling up your usual dosage of your probiotic and loading up on gut-friendly fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.

5. Up your B Vitamins

A good dose of B vitamins will support your adrenals and your body’s natural detoxification processes. When you are sick and your immune system is active, your body is trying to get back to balance, or homeostasis. B-vitamins support this energetic and metabolic process and will speed up your recovery.

6. Have some coconut oil

Coconut oil contains Lauric acid which is antiviral. Remember everyone, the flu is not caused by bacteria, so immediately taking antibiotics is not only bad because it causes resistance and kills off good gut bacteria, it’s also not helpful.

Have a sore throat or a persistent cough? Try adding some coconut oil to your tea or take a teaspoon on its own to help soothe and lubricate your throat.

7. Meditate

Stress is inflammatory. And we know that deep breathing practices and meditation can have profound effects on the body, from lowering blood pressure, to lowering inflammation and improving immune function. Even a 10 minute guided meditation can have profound effects.

8. Avoid sugar

Sugar is the devil as far as getting sick is concerned. Besides messing with our blood sugar, and feeding the bad bugs in our gut, sugar suppresses our immune system and leaves us more susceptible to infections like colds and flu. For help on cutting back, check out our 5 Tips to Break Your Sugar Addiction.

Looking for more ways to keep your immune system in top shape?

Check out the video below where Dr. Tiffany Lester shares even more tips to stay healthy during this cold and flu season.

Credentials: Internal Medicine Physician • Institute for Functional Medicine Practitioner Training Institutions: Summa Cum Laude Graduate of the University of Pennsylvania • Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons • Internal Medicine Residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City • Institute for Functional Medicine Clinical Interests: Thyroid & Adrenal Health • Autoimmune Disorders • Gastrointestinal Health • Biology of Stress • Cancer Prevention • Fertility Optimization Previous and Additional Positions: Founder and CEO of Parsley Health. Co-founded the&hellip


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Phone Healthline (0800 611 116) or your doctor if you are concerned or if you:

  • feel a lot worse, or you are not getting better after a few days
  • have an existing health condition or are in a high risk group (see Symptoms)
  • are pregnant
  • are taking any medication that affects the immune system
  • are looking after someone with influenza and you are in a high risk group

If clinically indicated, your doctor may recommend antiviral medications. Take them as directed.

Caring for yourself and others

If you are unwell, stay at home and rest ideally/preferably in a separate, well ventilated room away from other people.

It is important to drink small amounts of fluids often.

Antibiotics only work against bacterial infections, not the viral infections that cause influenza.

  • reduce fever by using a damp cloth on your forehead, washing the arms and body with a cool cloth, bathing in slightly warm water
  • take appropriate medicines to relieve discomfort and fever if necessary.
  • It is especially important to reduce fever if you are pregnant.
  • gargle a glass of warm water and/or suck sugarless hard sweets or lozenges to help with sore throats
  • shower or bathe regularly and keep bedding and nightwear clean and dry
  • use skin balm or moisturiser to stop your lips from cracking.

Know the danger signs that mean you should seek urgent medical attention (see Symptoms).

Caring for babies and children

When a baby or child has influenza, it is important to do the following:

  • keep the child at home resting until they are well.
  • care for the child in a separate, well-ventilated room away from other people.
  • increase the frequency of breastfeeding or the amount of other fluids they drink. If your child will not take fluids or is drowsy, don&rsquot force them. Seek medical advice immediately.
  • reduce fever by using a damp cloth on their forehead, washing their arms and body with a cool cloth, bathing them in slightly warm water.
  • give paracetamol or ibuprofen if they have pain or discomfort in the dose recommended on the package (unless your doctor says otherwise). Aspirin should not be given to children under 14 years of age.

Saltwater drops (saline) can be used to treat a stuffy nose.

How to Stop a Cold when You Feel It Coming On

This article was co-authored by David Nazarian, MD. Dr. David Nazarian is a board certified Internal Medicine Physician and the Owner of My Concierge MD, a medical practice in Beverly Hills California, specializing in concierge medicine, executive health and integrative medicine. Dr. Nazarian specializes in comprehensive physical examinations, IV Vitamin therapies, hormone replacement therapy, weight loss, platelet rich plasma therapies. He has over 16 years of medical training and facilitation and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He completed his B.S. in Psychology and Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, his M.D. from the Sackler School of Medicine, and a residency at Huntington Memorial Hospital, an affiliate of the University of Southern California.

There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

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Prevention is the best defense against a cold, but sometimes, despite your best efforts, you still get sick. That is because the cold virus can live up to 18 hours on unwashed surfaces while it looks for a host. The cold enters through your mouth, nose, or eyes and is thus commonly spread through talking, coughing, and sneezing. While you might not be able to completely cure your cold, there are some things you can do to alleviate your symptoms and speed up your recovery, including washing your hands as frequently as possible.