Preventing against colds

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Johnnyc, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. Johnnyc

    Johnnyc Junior Member
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    I have the misfortune of attending school in the frigid NE and Ive been having the sniffles like crazy the past week.

    Anyone have any thing they can recommend to prevent against getting sick that works and wont make you drowsy. There doesnt seem to be any sick days when youre a med student :( .
     
  2. PeterGriffin

    PeterGriffin Pea-tear-griffin
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    Zinc lozenges have worked for me :thumbup:
    but I live in the South
     
  3. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    Wash your hands often and do not touch your face. Rhinoviruses can live on doorknobs and other fomites long enough for you to pick them up. Keep your hands off your face and definitely out of your mouth.

    It's also good to drink plenty of liquids and eat good food too. Stay away from the junk that seems to taste so good while you are studying. Rest when you can and keep away from those folks who are sneezing.

    You have to come in contact with the virus that causes the common cold in order to get one. Use tissues instead of a hankerchief and toss them in the trash as you use them.

    njbmd :)
     
  4. lattimer13

    lattimer13 good boy!
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    excellent advice.

    just to add one bit you forgot about coronavirus being the other major culprit of the common cold. rember the rhino drinking the cold corona beer? god i loved that book (MMRS). :D
     
  5. amyliz

    amyliz Member
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    I went to undergrad in Maine, and during the winter (aka middle of September through sometime in May-June) I lived on those Hall's Vitamin C drops. And I washed my pillowcase once a week (or every time I did laundry) so that if I was sick, I wouldn't re-catch the virus. That might just be me being paranoid though.
     
  6. Gimlet

    Gimlet Cardiac Anesthesiologist
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    I may be mistaken on this (haven't taken micro yet), but don't you catch a new version of the cold (i.e. a different form of the virus) every time you get a cold? If you were sick from a particular strain of the virus, you would have immunity against further exposure to that virus.

    I am all for washing sheets on a regular basis though, if for nothing other than good hygiene.
     
  7. BOHICA-FIGMO

    BOHICA-FIGMO Belt-fed Physician
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    Try an herb called Andrographis. You may have to special order it from vitamin shoppe, GNC, vitamin world, etc. Take 400mg. every other day for prophylaxis, 400mg/day after onset of symptoms. Unlike echinacea, literature (sparse though it is) shows no adverse effects from prolonged use.
     
  8. fielight

    fielight Senior Member
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    i agree with the others about washing hands. i'd also suggest taking it a little further though. everytime i come home from class/clinic/hospital, the first thing i do is wash my hands with soap, wash my face with cleanser, and then i rinse my nose (ie, "inhale" cold tap through the naries a few times -- but not so much that it goes all the way to the nasopharynx). i remember reading somewhere that viral entry through the mouth is no where as bad as entry through the eyes and nose (i think b/c high vascularity and lower protective response/barriers). i get a cold maybe once a year... and it always coincides with when i go home (as in my parent's home), where i don't do my whole system (and of course, have to live with other people).

    there's no research that supports any supplement (vitamins and herbs) can prevent a cold, so i wouldn't count on those. i've used the Zycam oral sprays when i start to get sick... i'm a little torn as to whether they work or not (my experience has been that while the overall duration isn't as long, those days where i do feel bad are usually more severe -- high fever for 3 days, sore throat, congestion, etc.), but that might just be me.
     
  9. Simonster

    Simonster Member
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    I love zinc, not for preventing, but helping me get over a nasty one. If it's all in my mind, NOBODY tell me!

    Vit C doesn't work anymore, now that I know it's all placebo effect :mad:
     
  10. tupac_don

    tupac_don Senior Member
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    I do, take a lot of Vit. C, drink soup, drink green tea. That should help.
     
  11. ishaninatte

    ishaninatte Senior Member
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    I keep a sack of pneumonia in the fridge, and I find that if I take a little bit of that when cold symptoms start I barely notice them anymore.

    Hot tea works a charm as well.
     
  12. group_theory

    group_theory EX-TER-MIN-ATE!'
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    Don't just wash your hands when you come home from school. Wash your hands while in school. Think of all the door knobs you touch, the keyboards on public computers, the handrails on stairs, or anything else that lots of people touch frequently every day. Basically wash your hands with soap and water and try not to touch your face (nose and mouth) while at school (or the mall or other huge public gathering)
     
  13. medgirl20

    medgirl20 Senior Member
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    You could always do what I do. Don't believe in colds. I live in wet cold Ireland I stopped believing in colds my last year in secondary school and haven't had one since. If a patient told me that I wouldn't believe them but it worked for me.
     
  14. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    Amantidine-HCl :smuggrin:
     
  15. 12R34Y

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    huh?

    poster was referring to colds....not the flu i presume. and if i did have the flu I'd be taking tamiflu (both influenza A and B) not just influenza A like amantadine works against.

    later
     
  16. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I've found that the further away you stay from public places (like classrooms), the fewer colds you will get. Washing hands and vitamin C are good fallback options.
     
  17. PeterGriffin

    PeterGriffin Pea-tear-griffin
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    Exactly...as long as it seems to work, I'll use it. :thumbup:
     
  18. Linus Pauling is a punk.
     
  19. Southpawz

    Southpawz Member
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    I usually just take a lot more Vit C than usual, and sometimes I take some Echinasea capsules (supposedly they help prevent colds)
     
  20. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    Don't believe in colds---it's all a state of mind.
    Drink green tea every morning. Find a brand such as Celestial Seasons that puts out an antioxidant variety.
    Take Vit C.
    Load up on Zinc, especially ZICAM when travelling.
    Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face.
    Gargle with Listerine twice a day to kill all of the germs already in your tonsils.

    I follow every step except for the ZICAM. I haven't been sick in 12 years.
     
  21. 12R34Y

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    I am a firm believer in Cold-Eeze zinc lozenges. One of their clinical studies was done at a giant family medicine practice in my area that my wife used to work for.

    our whole family starts popping cold-eeze at the first sign of colds and it seems to ward them off pretty darn well.

    I thought coldeeze was the only "real" good zinc stuff out there, but now suddenly all I hear about is this zycam and they have commercials suddenly. Are they new?

    later
     
  22. robotsonic

    robotsonic Senior Member
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    That's right. I can't believe that educated medical professionals (future physicians!) are on here advising Vitamin C for colds. Vitamin C does not prevent or treat colds!

    In case someone doesn't get the reference to Linus Pauling, he is the one who started this whole Vit C for colds rumor. He was a brilliant scientist (Nobel Prize), but had a few weird ideas about medicine (he was not a physician). He believed that high doses of Vitamin C could prevent and treat colds (and other illnesses, like cancer). Unfortunately, studies (many) have shown that he was wrong. And even though he believed that Vit C could cure cancer, Pauling ended up dying of cancer.

    So please everyone, stop spreading Pauling's ridiculous beliefs about Vitamin C.
     
  23. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    While you are almost certainly right about Vitamin C not preventing colds, I'm not sure it's such an absurdly unreasonable belief that an educated future professional shouldn't have ever entertained the notion. As recently as this year, you can find published studies from researchers investigating whether any correlation exists, concluding that, while the correlation seems unlikely and contrary to evidence, " Future work on this topic should explore the value of high dose therapy—in particular, in children"-- see eg. http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020168
     
  24. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    I was just trying to funny..... you didn't go and grandstand on me :rolleyes:
     
  25. Sosumi

    Sosumi Senior Member
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    Actually I think there was a meta analysis in the Cochrane Database (Hemila H, et al "Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold") saying prophylactic use (1 to 2 grams/day) of Vitamin C reduces incidence of the common cold only in persons under acute physical stress such as soldiers and marathon runners. Prophylactic use may also reduce duration of cold symptoms but are not clinically significant, and there is no thereapeutic benefit of Vitamin C once you do have the cold.
     
  26. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Yes - I think that's in the article I linked to a few posts above.
     
  27. Sosumi

    Sosumi Senior Member
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    Woops. I didn't see that. :oops:

    Anyway, I paraphrased its main conclusions for those too lazy or silly like me who didn't click on the link :D
     
  28. werd

    werd Senior Member
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    yeah i've gotten a lot of colds since starting med school... probably the best way to prevent is to stay away from the hospitals. since that's not practical, the next best way is to stay home from class to keep away from your classmates that are all sick. since that's not practical, i guess hand washing and getting sleep is best, per others' recommendations. from what i've heard, zinc's ability to fight colds is under review (understatement). at any rate, don't go nuts with the stuff, too much zinc causes pancreatitis and anemia. and your pancreas is the last thing you want to piss off :).
     
  29. hwong14

    hwong14 Member
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    http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/11/14/cold.chill/index.html

    keep your nose warm -- we've always got cold viruses around us, and according to this study, when your nose/body gets cold, the vasoconstriction shuts down leukocyte circulation and they won't be able to fight the viral particles as quickly, giving them a chance to proliferate.

    true? who knows, but keeping warm in the NE is always a good idea!
     
  30. humuhumu

    humuhumu nukunuku apua'a
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    Anyone have experience with ginseng? Sounds promising:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16247099&query_hl=1

    Predy GN, Goel V, Lovlin R, Donner A, Stitt L, Basu TK. (2005) Efficacy of an extract of North American ginseng containing poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharides for preventing upper respiratory tract infections: a randomized controlled trial. CMAJ. 173:1043-8.

    BACKGROUND: Upper respiratory tract infections are a major source of morbidity throughout the world. Extracts of the root of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) have been found to have the potential to modulate both natural and acquired immune responses. We sought to examine the efficacy of an extract of North American ginseng root in preventing colds. METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study at the onset of the influenza season. A total of 323 subjects 18-65 years of age with a history of at least 2 colds in the previous year were recruited from the general population in Edmonton, Alberta. The participants were instructed to take 2 capsules per day of either the North American ginseng extract or a placebo for a period of 4 months. The primary outcome measure was the number of Jackson-verified colds. Secondary variables measured included symptom severity, total number of days of symptoms and duration of all colds. Cold symptoms were scored by subjects using a 4-point scale. RESULTS: Subjects who did not start treatment were excluded from the analysis (23 in the ginseng group and 21 in the placebo group), leaving 130 in the ginseng group and 149 in the placebo group. The mean number of colds per person was lower in the ginseng group than in the placebo group (0.68 [standard deviation (SD) 0.82] v. 0.93 [SD 0.91], difference 0.25%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.04-0.45). The proportion of subjects with 2 or more Jackson-verified colds during the 4-month period (10.0% v. 22.8%, 12.8% difference, 95% CI 4.3-21.3) was significantly lower in the ginseng group than in the placebo group, as were the total symptom score (77.5 [SD 84.6] v. 112.3 [SD 102.5], difference 1.5%, 95% CI 1.2-2.0) and the total number of days cold symptoms were reported (10.8 [SD 9.7] v. 16.5 [SD 13.8] days, difference 1.6%, 95% CI 1.3-2.0) for all colds. INTERPRETATION: Ingestion of a poly-furanosyl-pyranosyl-saccharide-rich extract of the roots of North American ginseng in a moderate dose over 4 months reduced the mean number of colds per person, the proportion of subjects who experienced 2 or more colds, the severity of symptoms and the number of days cold symptoms were reported.
     
  31. mjl1717

    mjl1717 Senior Member
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    Cute! I find that swimming in a heated pool helps my immune system I catch cold maybe once every 2 or 3 years! {Also I try to eat wholesome food}
     
  32. mjl1717

    mjl1717 Senior Member
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    Good heads up!!! {Also I realize its OK trying to be funny(Rich Pryor, Jim Carey etc.) but I think the poster is being as serious as a heart attack(I mean common cold) each immune system is different and this is the SEASON!!
     
  33. Immolatis

    Immolatis MUO 2009
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    Here's a thought, gentlemen, (I'm not a misogynist, but this advice doesn't apply to the ladies) I just read in Men's health that every time we...engage in autogratification, we lose 5mg of Zinc.

    That's a third of the RDV. So...unless you're already taking a multivitamen, zinc suppliments or living on a non-medschooler diet, you're low!

    Just a thought...!
     
  34. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member
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    I m usually always on antibiotics. I just take them all the time, just in case if i run into someone who may have potentially gotten me sick. Better safe than sorry. :)
     
  35. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist
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    Are you serious? That's terrible. Antiobiotics kill the healthy bacteria in your body too, like the organisms in your gut that help digest food.

    I haven't gotten sick since I moved to the South two years ago. I think people here are less confined to the indoors or something. (I'm from Oregon and I used to get sick there all of the time.)
     
  36. nightowl

    nightowl Senior Member
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    For me, sleeping 7-8 hours a night, working out 3-4x a week, taking a multivitamin, and eating the right foods made all the difference in the world. When I was slacking on sleep (pulling occasional allnighters), eating fast food, and not exercising, I was perpetually sick. I made these changes and felt so much better, plus my study time was much more efficient.
     

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