6 Reasons Why Your Cold Lingers
Why Your Cold Won't Go Away, and What to Do About it
4. Treating the Wrong Illness continued...
One possible reason why your cold symptoms may be lingering is that you have
a sinus infection, a common
development in people who have had a cold for some time. Katona says it’s
the mucus trapped in your nasal passages and not draining for a period of time
-- whether because of a cold or allergies - that leads to infections in the
Sinus infections can be difficult
to diagnose, particularly in the early stages of infection. There are some
telling signs, however, if you know what to look for.
With a sinus infection, you’re more likely to experience facial pain, a headache, fever, and green or yellow
nasal discharge as opposed to clear. "That’s usually when an antibiotic is
needed," Rogg says.
5. Relying on Herbal Remedies
We’ve all heard the claims about some of the more popular herbal remedies
for colds: Drink this and you’ll never get sick again. Take that and your cold
symptoms will be shortened by three days. Many of these claims don’t hold
water, and it’s important to remember that just because the bottle says
"herbal" doesn’t mean it can’t harm you.
“I’d be careful about health food store remedies because very few have any
actual benefit and we have no idea what their harm potential is,” Katona says.
He notes that echinacea has been touted as helping a cold, but two studies
funded by the National Institutes of Health didn’t find a benefit of using
echinacea for colds. Other research findings have been mixed.
In addition, counting too heavily on supplements like vitamins C and
D to speed you through your cold is likely to leave you disappointed.
"There was a great interest in vitamin C for colds," Katona says. "But it
has never really been documented that it works. There are no good studies to
show [its effectiveness], and it’s been looked at pretty carefully over the
last 20 or 30 years."
Today, the focus is more heavily on vitamin D and its potential to shield us
from illness. "There is a study on vitamin D that found that having low levels
increased rates of the common cold," Rogg says. "But they haven’t determined if
taking extra vitamin D can shorten the duration or prevent the cold."
6. Exercising Too Hard
It's hard to imagine that in the midst of suffering with a stuffy nose and
scratchy throat people are eager to pump iron, yet many don’t want to stop exercising just because they feel
"People ask me all the time, 'Should I exercise when I have a cold?'" Katona
says. "My answer is usually yes, but do it at a lower level. If you do it at a
high level, you may be interfering with your own immunity."
So, what does Katona consider low level? "Taking a walk, not running five miles."