The common cold (CC) is a very common ailment in the population, especially in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults have an average of 2-3 colds a year and children even more (1).
Common colds usually clear up on their own within a week or two, but these may progress to ear infections, throat infections, and even pneumonia. Treatments for the common cold, like over-the-counter medication, only help with symptoms and do not shorten the length of infection. Antibiotics do NOT treat the common cold. Luckily, there are alternative treatments that DO help shorten sickness and help clear a viral infection.
What is the common cold (CC)?
The common cold is an upper respiratory infection that begins with a range of viruses. It is commonly mistaken for the flu, also a viral infection, caused by specific a strain of the influenza virus. The common cold is caused by viruses other than influenza including the adenovirus, rhinovirus, and coronavirus.
Symptoms of the common cold include a sore throat, congestion, stuffed or a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and body aches. These symptoms may become severe enough to interfere with daily life, school, and work. In fact, it is the most common reason for missing school or work (1).
Since most colds clear-up on their own, over-the-counter medications only treat the symptoms. But not everyone is a fan of medication, and some children may tolerate medication contents (2). Alternative treatments, unlike medications, do not only treat symptomatically but also for disease. The following are alternative treatments for the common cold that shorten the length of sickness and fight the viral infection-
Acupuncture is a Chinese Medical technique used to treat a range of illnesses. This greatly reduces symptoms of pain – such as body aches and headaches- associated with illness. It treats the common cold by balancing Qi (or energy) in the body.
When illness is present, such as the common cold, there is disruption of the Qi of different organs. Chinese theory states that such illnesses are treatable by correcting disruptions in Qi and promoting its balance.
OMT helps stimulate the immune system and free the body of mechanical restrictions that interfere with breathing. For example, rib rising and thoracic pump techniques help increase rib-cage mobility and promote lymphatic drainage. Increased rib cage mobility helps ease breathing and promote respiratory function, while lymphatic drainage stimulates the immune system.
Studies on the effect of OMT on respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, have shown great promise. During the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918, patients treated by allopathic physicians had a 33% mortality rate, compared to 10% mortality from those treated by osteopathic physicians that performed manipulative treatments (3). Osteopathic treatments also seem to reduce the length of disease. Patients treated with OMT have a shorter hospital stay and their infections clear faster.
- “Common Colds: Protect Yourself and Others .” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Feb. 2018, www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/index.html.
- “Upper Respiratory Infection (URI or Common Cold).” Stanford Children’s Health, www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=upper-respiratory-infection-uri-or-common-cold-90-P02966.
- Yao, Sheldon C, et al. “Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment as a Useful Adjunctive Tool for Pneumonia – Semantic Scholar.” Ncbi.nlm.nih.org, National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 1 Jan. 1970, www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Osteopathic-Manipulative-Treatment-as-a-Useful-Yao-Hassani/7d111e98a6d8be0d58151db9cdd7cd115a5dc0d9.