What works for colds
Whether the penetration of the cold viruses into the mucous membrane cells of the nose can be prevented by using so-called cold or defence sprays, which put a protective film on the mucous membrane, is not conclusively clarified. A strong protective effect is rather not to be expected. Carragelose (Alcovir®), hypromellose (First Defence Micro-Gel Spray Wick) and glycerol with the peptidase trypsin (ViruProtect Cold Spray) are used as film formers. In order to achieve the greatest possible protection, the application should start with the cold period and then be used continuously. If possible, the protective film should always be placed on the mucous membranes when cold viruses are likely to be in the air we breathe. Depending on the type of preparation, it is sprayed several times a day.
If the nose is congested, decongestant nasal sprays or drops (decongestives) are the best choice. They can quickly and effectively improve the symptoms of a runny or blocked nose. The active ingredient is an α-sympathomimetic such as xylometazoline or oxymetazoline. The preparations should be used consistently at the recommended dosage to keep the nose open and to prevent secretion congestion. The effect lasts five to eight hours.
Pregnant women who suffer from colds can use decongestant nasal drops without any concerns. But it is not always a cold when pregnant women have the feeling that their nose is blocked. During pregnancy, hormones improve the blood supply to the nasal mucous membranes, making them slightly swollen. This is nothing to worry about. The nasal application of saline solution can relieve the symptoms.
Dosage sprays are advantageous for decongestives because, in addition to an exact dosage, they ensure a good distribution of the active substance solution in the nose. They are especially recommended for use in children, older children can use them themselves under supervision. Nasal sprays and drops are available in different concentrations for different age groups. The use of topical α-sympathomimetics in infants is not without controversy due to possible systemic side effects. As an alternative, PTA and pharmacists can recommend a physiological saline solution for the very youngest.
The α-sympathomimetic pseudoephedrine is used orally to treat rhinitis. It is found in many cold remedies together with an antipyretic or antihistamine. Oral pseudoephedrine is as effective as xylometazoline or oxymetazoline in nasal sprays. Treatment for acute rhinitis lasts three to five days. Disadvantages include possible systemic side effects such as an increase in blood pressure or a slight rise in blood sugar levels. This will take effect particularly if the doses are too high. The preparations are contraindicated in older adults with previous illnesses, in children under twelve years of age, pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Towards the end of the illness, the nasal secretion becomes increasingly thicker. Bark of dried secretion is formed at the nostrils. At this stage α-sympathomimetics are no longer useful. Sprays or nasal rinses with isotonic saline solution or seawater can now be used to moisten the nasal mucosa. Added hyaluronic acid prolongs the moisturising effect, dexpanthenol promotes wound healing.
Many patients find it very beneficial to inhale for colds and flu. The pleasant effect of hot steam can be further enhanced by adding essential oils or table salt. The aim is to moisturise the respiratory tract and dissolve mucus. To achieve a good effect, it is best to inhale several times a day for 15 to 20 minutes.
|Gliederschmerzen||limb pain, aching limbs|
|Schnupfen||cold, head cold|
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