HOME REMEDIES FOR COLDS
What causes a cold?
A cold is caused by a virus and is highly contagious, according to Mayo Clinic. When someone sneezes or coughs, they release droplets that contain viruses that cause colds. If you breathe in these droplets or touch something with them on it, you could get sick. The incubation period for a cold is one to three days, which means that you won’t see symptoms until one to three days after you become infected with the virus.
How long does a cold last?
The average length of a cold is about two weeks — although the worst of it will be over within five to seven days, according to the CDC. However, some people may feel run down for as long as two weeks while others may feel tired for just a few days. If you develop bacterial pneumonia in addition to your cold, expect your recovery time to be extended
Despite advances in modern medicine, many of us still try to treat common ailments at home with traditional remedies. Home remedies for colds are effective for so many who didn’t want to take antibiotics or get into the medicine cabinet.
We all know how annoying colds can be. The runny nose, the sneezing, the coughing, the fatigue, and the sore throat. And when you have young kids, colds are almost inevitable. They get them over and over again, especially during the winter months. But some quick and easy home remedies can help relieve your symptoms and make you feel better fast.
- Gargle with saltwater
A sore throat is a common symptom of colds, but it’s often one of the most painful. Gargling with warm salt water can help kill bacteria in your throat and reduce swelling in your tonsils to provide sore throat relief. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of salt into 1 cup of warm water and gargle as often as needed throughout the day
- Steam Showers
Steam showers are a simple way to clear out your sinuses when you’re stuffed up with a cold. Turn up the heat in your shower and take a hot steam shower to break up mucus and reduce congestion
Honey has a variety of antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Drinking honey in tea with lemon can ease sore throat pain. Research suggests that honey is an effective cough suppressant, too.
Honey has been known to help soothe coughs for decades, but it’s also great at soothing sore throats due to its antimicrobial properties that help reduce inflammation in your throat.
You should never give honey to a child younger than 1-year-old, as it often contains botulinum spores. While they’re usually harmless to older children and adults, infants’ immune systems aren’t able to fight them off.
Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria and yeast that are found in your body, some foods, and supplements. They can help keep your gut and immune system healthy, and research indicates that probiotics may reduce your chance of getting sick with an upper respiratory infection.
For a delicious and nutritious source of helpful bacteria, include probiotic yogurt in your diet. Besides its potential benefits for your immune system, yogurt is a healthy snack that provides plenty of protein and calcium. Look for products that list live bacteria on the label.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
Warm liquids — broth, caffeine-free tea, or warm water with honey and lemon — and increased fluids, in general, can help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration. Avoid caffeinated drinks because they’re dehydrating.
Your body needs rest to heal, so give yourself time to sleep. If possible, take a day off from work or school when you first come down with a cold.
- Eat chicken soup.
It’s not just an old wives’ tale — chicken soup helps relieve cold symptoms. That’s because it helps prevent white blood cells (the immune system’s infection fighters) from accumulating in the lungs, making breathing easier for people with colds. The steam rising from a bowl of hot soup also helps clear nasal passages and improves hydration levels, which can help loosen congestion. Try adding garlic to your soup — it has antiviral properties that may shorten the life of your cold virus.
- Use a humidifier
A humidifier can help relieve congestion and cough by adding moisture to the air. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning the unit so mold doesn’t grow inside of it.
- Apply Hot or Cold Packs Around Your Congested Sinuses
Either temperature works. You can buy reusable hot or cold packs at a drugstore or make your own. You can apply heat by taking a damp washcloth and heating it for 55 seconds in a microwave (test the temperature first to make sure it’s not too hot.) A small bag of frozen peas works well as a cold pack.
- Use a Salve Under Your Nose
A small dab of mentholated salve under your nose can help to open breathing passages and restore the irritated skin at the base of the nose. Menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor all have mild numbing ingredients that may help relieve the pain of a nose rubbed raw. However, only put it on the outside, under your nose, not inside your nose.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C plays an important role in your body and has many health benefits. Along with limes, oranges, grapefruits, leafy greens, and other fruits and vegetables, lemons are a good source of vitamin C. Adding fresh lemon juice to hot tea with honey may reduce phlegm when you’re sick. Drinking hot or cold lemonade may also help.
While these drinks may not clear up your cold entirely, they can help you get the vitamin C that your immune system needs. Getting enough vitamin C can relieve upper respiratory tract infections and other illnesses.
Garlic contains the compound allicin, which may have antimicrobial properties. Adding a garlic supplement to your diet might reduce the severity of cold symptoms. According to some research, it might even help you avoid getting sick in the first place.
The health benefits of ginger root have been touted for centuries, but now we have scientific proof of its curative properties. A few slices of raw ginger root in boiling water may help soothe a cough or sore throat. Research suggests that it can also ward off the feelings of nausea that so often accompany influenza. For example, one study found that just 1 gram of ginger can alleviate clinical nausea of diverse causes.
While the best home remedies for colds are ones you can make yourself and have on hand at all times, you can also consider a trip to the doctor or drugstore to pick up some over-the-counter medications. Ultimately, it’s important for you to get the rest you need and to stay healthy without becoming too ill. REMEMBER TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF YOUR COLD DOES NOT GET BETTER WITHIN TWO DAYS!!!