It’s the time of the year again, we have entered the cold and flu season.
For many of us, colds and flu are just another part of life that we have to suffer through with trips to the Dr, swallowing cold and flu tablets, sore throat lozenges and cough syrup. Admittedly, social distancing and improved hand hygiene in recent times have lowered the infection rate significantly. However, we are still vulnerable to catching colds.
What is a common cold?
The common cold is a virus. There are more than 100 types of these viruses, with the most common being the rhinovirus, which is thought to be responsible for at least 50% of infections. 
What are the common signs and symptoms?
Signs and symptoms might be:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Slight body aches or a mild headache
- Low-grade fever
- Generally feeling unwell (malaise)
What causes the common cold?
A cold virus can spread through droplets in the air when someone coughs, sneezes or talks, or by hand-to-hand contact with someone is infected, or by sharing contaminated objects. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after such contact or exposure, you’re likely to catch a cold.
How is it diagnosed?
Most people with a common cold can be diagnosed by their signs and symptoms.
How is it conventionally treated?
There’s no cure for the common cold. Antibiotics are of no use against cold viruses and shouldn’t be used unless there’s a bacterial infection. Treatments are aimed to relieve signs and symptoms.
Commonly used cold remedies include:
- OTC (Over-the-counter) pain relievers such as Paracetamol, Aspirin or Ibuprofen.
- Decongestant nasal sprays (not recommended for prolonged use or for children).
- Antihistamines can alleviate the symptoms of sneezing but can cause drowsiness.
How can lifestyle and home remedies help?
- Drink plenty of fluids, including water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
- Chicken soup and other warm fluids can be soothing and can loosen congestion.
- Rest will give you time to recover and reduce the chances that you’ll infect others.
- Soothe your throat. A saltwater gargle can temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat.
- Use saline nasal sprays or drops
- Take supplements such as Vitamin C and D  and Zinc to help prevent respiratory infections and reduce infection severity.
How can acupuncture help with the common cold?
In East Asian medicine, it is believed that the common cold occurs when a person’s defensive energy (Wei Qi) is weak or compromised due to lifestyle factors, such as emotional stress, overwork, poor diet, etc. It can also happen with exposure to extreme changes in the environment, i.e. temperature changes from indoors to outdoors.
A recent meta-analysis (2019) on the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of the common cold, shows that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of common colds by improving immunity, promoting metabolism circulation & balancing and harmonizing qi and blood. 
How can Ondol Clinic help?
Our practitioners can tailor a treatment plan to address your specific needs, attending to your symptoms as well as lifestyle factors, which may have led to a compromised immune system. Chinese herbal formulas, nutritional advice and supplements – if needed – can be prescribed and added to the treatments.
If you have any further questions or would like more information on how acupuncture can help, or to make a booking, please call us on 3371 0100 or visit www.ondol.com.au/make-a-booking/
- Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, Greenberg L, Aloia JF, Bergman P, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 2017 Feb 15;356:i6583. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i6583.
- 3 Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364. pub3. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;6:CD01364. PMID: 21328251.