Ratha (papertygre) wrote,


I get colds about twice a year. This is average, though to me it seems too often. It usually starts with a sore throat, moves into body aches and fatigue and coughing, and ends with congestion and runny nose.
In 2009, I read a bunch of information about the link between flu and Vitamin D, and started supplementing large amounts of vitamin D in the hope that this would decrease my frequency of illness. My vitamin D levels are now in the high-normal range, but my rate and severity of colds haven't changed.
It turns out that a significant number of people infected with colds do not get symptoms, and cold symptoms themselves play no part in recovering from the infection; moreover, most healthy people will get infected if rhinovirus is dropped in their nose[1], so getting a cold is not necessarily a sign of a weak immune system. The more meaningful question is therefore how to combat or prevent the symptoms.

From some cursory reading I pretty quickly ruled out vitamin C intake as well as vitamin D intake as factors. There are some resources that link cold incidence to decreased sleep / decreased quality of sleep or lack of regular exercise, but I find myself more convinced by the material implicating increased psychological stress, particularly chronic (> 1 month duration) stressors, because poor sleep can cause or be caused by stress, and exercise is a known stress mitigation technique.

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be an effective antihistamine treatment for cold symptoms -- only the older, drowsy-making antihistamines even work on cold symptoms, and they knock me out so they're not real options.

So perhaps the best approach would be prevention via a stress reduction campaign, such as regular meditation and exercise.


[1] "99% who entered the trial without antibody (titer of <= 2) to the virus to which they were exposed were infected, whereas 69% of those with antibody (titer of >= 4) This resulted in a total infection rate of 84%. 58% of those without antibody developed  colds, whereas only 19% of those with antibody developed colds. This resulted in a total of 40% of participants with colds." -- Types of Stressors That Increase Susceptibility to the Common Cold in Healthy Adults

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