Demonstration Health Talk

Information on the common cold.

By NAOMI GOWAN, B. N., Supervisor of Instruction, St. Helena Sanitarium

Subject: The Common Cold.

Aims: (1) To emphasize simple health habits which serve to prevent numerous colds and re­duce their severity. (2) To encourage use of simple natural methods for combating colds.

Demonstration: As a visual aid, place on a blackboard the factors that maintain bodily re­sistance and contrasting factors that destroy it. Demonstrate hot foot bath and cold compress to throat.

1. Introduction:

"'The melancholy days are come,

The saddest of the year;'

We know from frequent coughs and sneezes,

The time for colds is here."

Common cold listed as third great health problem in United States. Research has shown that more than one half of all the population have two colds a year, and one quarter have three or more colds a year. "Colds cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The wage loss in in­dustry is greater than that for any other disease. To this the loss due to interfer­ence with school programs and the costs of drugs and medical care must be added. The effect of the cold upon national health is serious because of the frequency with which it is followed by some complication, such as sinus infection, laryngitis, bron­chitis, mastoid infection, middle-ear infec­tion, pneumonia, arthritis, or tuberculosis."

2. Definition and Characteristics:

The term "cold" applied to a common af­fliction in which there is feverishness, headache, stuffiness or running of the nose, sometimes a sore throat, aching eyes, and a general sensation of lack of energy.

3. Causes:

a. Probably a germ disease. Germ so small it cannot be seen by most powerful mi­croscope, as it will pass through the filter; called a filtrable virus.

b. The virus may be passed from one in­dividual to another by coughing, sneez­ing, loud talking, boisterous laughter, kissing, infected handkerchiefs, etc.

c. The virus may be in air passages all the time.

d. Abnormal bodily conditions produce a fertile soil for growth of virus. Some of these are:

      1. Chilling some part of body with con­sequent imbalance of circulation.
      2. Nose and throat membrane dry from overheated air.

e. Too much dust or other irritating substance in the air.

f. Faulty diet.

g. Physical defects of nose and throat.

h. Inadequate rest and sleep.

IV. Prevention:

Since almost anyone will take cold any­time if dose of virus is large enough, pre­ventive measures are important. Preven­tion is a matter of maintaining a balance between resistance and infection. It in­volves understanding the causes and avoid­ing possibility of their occurrence.

1. Avoid infected persons. During epi­demics, avoid crowds and public gatherings.

2. Keep living quarters well ventilated. Regulate heat and moisture of indoor air.

3. Prevent chilling Wear clothing suited to weather. Avoid overdressing as well as underdressing.

4. Build up bodily resistance by :

5. Regular, well-balanced diet with high vitamin and mineral content.

6. Hot and cold shower every morning. a. Daily outdoor exercises.

7. Regular and sufficient sleep and rest.

8. Regular habits of elimination.

9. When frequent colds occur, have a physical checkup to determine whether any physical cause is pres­ent.

V. Treatment:

1. At the first sign of a cold, go to bed and stay until well.
2. Simple sweating treatment. (Demon­strate.)

Hot foot bath accompanied by drinking hot, unsweetened lemonade.

3. Apply heating compress to throat. (Demonstrate.)

4. Diet should be liquid to soft, with an abundance of fruit juices, especially cit­rus fruit juices.

5. Hot saline gargle every three hours.

6. Promote proper elimination.

7. If no improvement in twenty-four hours, doctor should be called.


Review points to observe to prevent colds. Common cold more familiar than it has reason to be. If we would make these simple preventive measures the rule of our daily lives, we would find that the usual average of two colds a year can be reduced to one, Or freedom from colds altogether.


Abbott, 0. K., Moor, F. B., and Nelson, Kathryn Jensen-, Physical Th,erapy for NurSes, Review and Herald, Takoma Park, D. C., 1941.

Emerson, C. E., M. D., A Textbook of Medicine, Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1936.

Medicus, "The Too Common Cold," Health, January, 1940.

Moor, Fred B., M. D., "Common Cold," Life and E/ealth, January, 1940.

Turner, C. E., Dr. P. H., Personal and Community Health, C. V. Mosby Co., St. Louis, 1939.

Wormley, Lowell C., "The Common Cold," Hygeia, January, 1938.

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By NAOMI GOWAN, B. N., Supervisor of Instruction, St. Helena Sanitarium

February 1944

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