A cold is a collection of symptoms including runny nose, sore throat, headaches and sinus pain, caused by any one of 200 or more different viruses. Because of this, scientists have been unable to find a remedy to kill all these viruses but there are ways to help ease the symptoms that don’t involve over-the-counter remedies.
A hot bath will help soothe the general aches and pains associated with a cold. A hot shower and steam inhalations will help shrink the swollen mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract to promote drainage. Sit with a towel over your head, over a bowl of hot steaming water. Close your eyes and breathe deeply to inhale the steam.
Gargle Your Cold Away
Gargle four times a day with a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and this will help relieve throat pain. Japanese researches have also found that daily gargling with water helps reduce a person’s chances of getting a cold. It is thought that regular gargling might help clear the throat of germs before they get a chance to spread.
Rest Plenty and Avoid Traveling
Take sensible precautions to help you fight off the virus. Many people with colds will insist on trying to continue as normal but going into work or crowded situations with a cold increases the likelihood of you passing it on to others. Avoid flying when you have a cold as the pressure changes during take off and landing could hurt your eardrums. Sucking on a boiled sweet and swallowing frequently might help relieve the pressure.
Zinc is an essential mineral that helps the immune system and a number of scientific studies have found that zinc helps reduce the severity of the symptoms of a cold.
Scientific studies support the Old Wives’ Tale that chicken soup helps ease the symptoms of a cold. Ingredients in the soup were found to act as an anti-inflammatory helping to reduce inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Dr Stephen Rennard from the University of Nebraska Medical Centre tested an old family recipe for chicken soup and based on his research he recommends the following ingredients to be used when making chicken soup to help combat colds: chicken wings, celery, parsnips, turnip, carrots, sweet potatoes and onions.
Although alcohol does not cure a cold, it has been found that those who drink alcohol are less likely to catch colds than people who don’t. Of course it isn’t recommended to drink alcohol every day but if you have got a cold, adding a few spoons of whiskey and honey to a cup of tea can help ease the symptoms. Both whiskey and honey are antibacterial. Honey will also help soothe inflamed membranes and will help ease sore throats.
Herbal teas have many soothing properties. Chamomile tea is good for fever, mint tea is good if your cold symptoms include an upset stomach and anise tea is good for colds.
The best thing you can do if you catch a cold is let it run its course and do what you can to ease the discomfort. A hot bath (as hot as you can take it) will help ease aches and pains. Take plenty rest and drink hot fluids to help ease nasal congestion. Gargle with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water four times a day and this will help ease the tickle in your throat. You might also try sleeping with an extra pillow as this could help drainage of the nasal passages.
Whether using home remedies or over-the-counter preparations, another important aspect in the treatment of a cold includes pampering and sympathy. Those who get precious little sympathy might feel their symptoms last longest!