Cold viruses start an attack on the whole body at the beginning of the cold season. Almost every person suffers from a cold once a year, also called a flu infection. Symptoms such as coughing, runny nose, sore throat, headache and body aches and fever are almost always the unpleasant companions of such an infection.
Cold viruses, like all viruses, consist only of genetic material, surrounded by a protective protein coat. Since they do not have their own metabolism, they depend on the cells of a living being for reproduction.
The mucous membranes of the respiratory tract are the first to be exposed to the attacks of the viruses, so you often get chills, cough and sore throat. The virus docks on a cell and penetrates into it. So it transports its genome into that of the host cell. Now new viruses are being produced, they are spreading. Within hours you feel tired and exhausted.
Influenza - the real flu
In addition to the approximately 200 known cold viruses, there are special influenza viruses, the "influenza viruses". They change constantly, and one is not immune to further infections after a flu has survived. An influenza vaccine should therefore be renewed every year.
Incidentally, the symptoms of a true flu virus are far more severe: fever and chills, severe headache and pain in the limbs force the patient to bed, even pneumonia and heart muscle inflammation can occur.
The body defends itself
The problem with viruses is that they do not have their own metabolism and are therefore difficult to combat without damaging the body's own cells. Often you treat only the symptoms such as fever, pain, runny nose and cough and wait until the immune system has destroyed the pathogens.
An important defense reaction is fever: with increasing body temperature, the viruses are destroyed. At a body temperature of 33 degrees, the virus can develop the fastest, especially dangerous if you have cooled down. Therefore, hot baths just right at the beginning of an infection are just the thing. Beneficial are additives with thyme and peppermint oil.
When to the doctor with a cold?
However, home remedies do not replace a doctor. If a cold does not clear significantly after three to five days and the mucus or expectoration looks yellowish or greenish, you should consult the family doctor.
Then it may be that bacteria have now joined the viruses. From a bronchitis can be due to the weakened defenses pneumonia, from a cold a sinusitis, which must then be treated with antibiotics.
Support the immune system
So that the immune system can concentrate completely on the viruses, one should protect oneself, drink a lot and eat healthily. In addition to cold or foot baths help hot drinks such as linden flower tea. Hot drinks keep the airways warm, which prevents the virus from multiplying. In addition, daily you should drink about two liters of liquid, so that the mucous membranes do not dry out.
Hardening sounds old-fashioned, but is a good way to prevent it. These include, especially in winter, movement in the fresh air and no overheated rooms. Changing showers are especially effective in the morning, always ending with the cold water, regular sauna visits and Kneipp treatments such as treading, dry brush massages and cold waterwash.