During the voluntary recall of infant cold medications in 2007, I wondered why they were only pulling the cold medications for the infants and not for everyone else. I thought at first that the recall was because there was something wrong with the medicine, because that is what usually prompts the recall of a product. Then I read that the companies who manufactured these products were pulling them because parents were not using them properly and putting their children at risk, not because there was anything wrong with the medications.
At the time, while I was always careful with the dosage for my children when they were little, I know I never followed the dosage exactly as it was written on the bottle when taking it myself, so I became concerned. A comparison of the ingredients in the infant, children, and adult cold medicines did not show much of a difference other than the dosage, so I went straight to the big boss: the FDA. It said that they are now reviewing the safety of over the counter cold medications in children from ages 2 thru 11. I suppose that eventually they will get around to the rest of us.
Then I read that “OTC cough and cold medicines do not treat the cause of the symptoms or shorten the length of time your child is sick. They only relieve symptoms and make your child feel more comfortable.”
This posed more questions that made me take a closer look at the common cold itself. Is it an illness caused by the rhinovirus? Most of us would probably say yes, but that is not the same as “the common cold”. If, as the FDA says, medications only relieve the symptoms of a cold, what exactly causes the symptoms? What exactly is the common cold?
My research taught me that the build-up of mucus which makes our noses all stuffy and makes us cough and sneeze is actually created by our body’s natural defense system. It is part of the first line of defense: to protect infectious agents such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses from entering the body. Since toxins are continually entering our bodies even when we are just breathing, the body becomes overwhelmed. The mucus steps in to help by surrounding the pathogens. The more toxins invading the body, the more mucus it produces.
Mucus is not digestible, so it must be expelled by coughing, sneezing, and blowing our noses. Taking cold medicine to suppress these bodily functions would extend the length of time the toxins remain in your body and may actually cause you to become sicker later in life. If an invader gets past the first line of defense, the second line of defense kicks in, and a fever will accompany the other symptoms to help stop the invader from reproducing.
Logically, the best thing to do is prevent the amount of toxins entering our bodies in the first place. Care must be taken even when choosing the products we are putting on our bodies, particularly those we use on our children. Remember, our skin is our largest organ, and anything we apply on it is absorbed into the body as well.
Read the ingredients. Research what they actually are. Look to see if there have been any side effects reported. Do not put your faith in a product simply because people have been using it for years. People have been getting cancer for years too, and the timelines may actually be compatible with each other.
Rest as much as you can. Resting allows your body to concentrate on what it needs to do to get you up and going instead of handling all the stuff it needs to do when you are following your regular daily routines. Drink plenty of water, and by plenty I mean as many ounces of water equal to half your body weight number. If you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking 75 oz of water every day. Water helps the body flush the toxins so you feel better faster.
So, pay attention to your body. When you start feeling like you are coming down with a “cold” it may not be a virus. It may be because your body is under attack, and the first line of defense is coming to battle on your behalf. Help your body eliminate the toxins, and the mucus will retreat until it is called into battle again.
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My name is Laura Mozer Davis, and I was born over half a century ago. My life’s journey has included raising three children as a single parent while caring for my parents who both became disabled during the last 10 years of their lives. Now that my children are grown and my parents have passed into the next part of their journey, I finally have time for me to grow as a person, not as just a care-giver. What I am learning, however, is that my destiny is to always be a care-giver. When I started writing for The Daily Sisterhood blog, I realized that I was to continue my care-giving through my writing. If my words help even just one person find either solace or joy, I know my life continues to have meaning.