Nothing is more distressing than the common cold. All that sneezing and sniffling, stuffy noses that keep us awake at night, but is it a cold or is it just allergies?


This time of year cold symptoms are exacerbated by allergy symptoms and allergy symptoms will aggravate a cold causing even more confusion. With a more normal rainfall this past season the pollen count has seen some record highs and the dust created by the corn and soybean harvest will only add to our symptoms. Oh and doesnŐt the ragweed look hardy this year?


The diagnosis can be elusive until a full blown viral cold brings us crashing down with mild fever, aches and pains, a cough that is deeper in the chest and lethargy. Until that time self treatment is be pretty much the same as far as over the counter remedies- antihistamines and decongestants so try not to over think it. If youŐre getting the desired results, go for it.


Most of you who do suffer allergies know when itŐs a cold and when itŐs allergies. For the rest of us until the thing actually manifests itself be considerate of others and use precautions as not to spread your self-loathed friend around.  To avoid the possible cold your co-worker is sporting zinc lozenges are a must. An oral zinc bath stops the replication of the virus. If the virus cannot replicate it cannot make you sick. Use them on trips- trains, planes or buses, wherever you will be in close contact with the public. Remember that an individual is the most contagious before they know they are infected.


In meantime here are some natural remedies and proven treatments to help reduce your cold or allergy symptoms.


Help off set the allergic load (or cold) your body is dealing with by using a lighter diet. Limit meat and dairy should be off the list totally. Leave the processed foods, coffee, pop, fatty foods, sugar and other junk foods alone until symptoms subside. Increase your intake of green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and Brussels sprouts. Be sure to drink plenty of water. Herb teas, ginger, chamomile and peppermint are all very healing.


Allergy symptoms respond well to a supplement of quercetin, a bioflavonoid and bromelain an enzyme that helps reduce inflammation and the accompanying symptoms. Using vitamin C preferably ester C will work to reduce cold or allergy symptoms as well.


For sore throat, try some slippery elm throat lozenges. This herb soothes and helps heal infected mucous membranes.


For minor coughs try some honey mixed with lemon. This mixture coats the throat and helps stop that nagging tickle.


Massage Tea Tree Oil into the front of your throat and chest and carefully swab the inside of the ear canal. This oil contains natural antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Other useful herbs that can be taken orally are Echinacea, goldenseal, red clover, dandelion and pau dŐarco.


Cold or allergy, one may never know, but does it really matter if the darn thing just doesnŐt make us sick? Till next time, Rebecca