Having a cold can be extremely uncomfortable. The congested chest, fever, throat irritation, and headache is more than enough to put you down for bed rest. However, there are a few things that you can do to ease the irritation as your cold is clearing out. It is not always necessary to visit a hospital when you have a cold, and that’s where home remedies come in. They make it manageable.
Here are a few home remedies for dealing with the common cold.
- Gargling with salt
If your throat is congested or irritated, here is a way out. Gargling is a sure way of dealing with irritation in the nasal pathways. Here’s how. Gargling reduces and loosens mucus, which contains bacteria and allergens. It helps clear allergens like pollen from your nasal membranes, minimizing symptoms. Gargling with salt water can soothe a sore or scratchy throat. Do this once or twice a day throughout allergy season to ease congestion. To try this at home, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a full glass of water. Swish it around your mouth and throat. Then spit it out.
- Drink warm liquids continuously
A cup of hot tea or water is an age-old balm for sniffles, sneezing, and stuffiness. So if you are feeling congested then you might want to try this out. Hot liquids help loosen secretions in the chest and sinuses, making them easier to expel and ultimately clearing up congestion. They also help to reverse the effects of dehydration that stem from the common cold. A study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health concluded that the hot drink provided immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness, and tiredness. On the other hand, the same drink at room temperature only provided relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, and sneezing.
Steaming is extremely effective when you are dealing with a cold. Why? It helps to thin mucus and help it drain from your nose. The introduction of warm moist air into the lungs via the nose and throat liquefied mucous secretions, resulting in clearer secretions that are easier to expel by coughing or blowing the nose. On top of this, it dilates blood vessels, encouraging better blood flow and overall circulation. The best thing about steam therapy is that it’s cheap. All you need is hot water, a bowl and a towel to cover your head. You can choose to add essential oils such as eucalyptus and lavender which, in the process, help you to relax. So it’s like killing two birds with one stone. Read about the other The Benefits Of Steaming And How To Do It At Home.
- Eat foods that are rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning your body can’t produce it. It has numerous benefits and one of them is its ability to reduce phlegm when you’re sick. Vitamin C can relieve upper respiratory tract infections and other illnesses. The nutrient plays an important role in immune function and the modulation of host resistance to infectious agents, reducing the risk, severity, and duration of infectious diseases. Some of the foods that are rich in Vitamin C include broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. On the other hand, these bacteria also help in dealing with upper respiratory conditions such as the common cold. They have a natural immune-boosting function which helps to alleviate the symptoms of a common cold. A study found that taking probiotics plus multivitamins and minerals significantly reduced the duration of the common cold and flu episodes by almost two days, compared with a similar group taking multivitamins and minerals alone. Some of the foods that are rich in probiotics include yoghurt, pickles, sourdough bread, and some cheeses.
Influenza thrives and spreads more easily in dry environments. Creating more humidity in your home may reduce your exposure to this flu-causing virus. It also reduces nasal inflammation when you are sick. This is why you might want to invest in a humidifier. There are also ways in which you can humidify a room naturally. You can hang some clothes to dry in the room, leave the bathroom door open when taking a shower, or add houseplants that excrete water vapour that increases humidity.
- A “Dawa” concoction
You have probably heard about this magical concoction that helps to treat the common cold. I’m talking about the non-alcoholic version that is served in many Kenyan restaurants including Java, Urban Burger, and Art Caffe. It’s very effective in dealing with the common cold. The best part? You can make your extended version at home. What you need to do is boil some water with ground garlic, ginger, lemon, turmeric root and honey to taste. These ingredients contain anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties that reduce the severity of symptoms, as well as treat the illness.