It is that time of the year when cold and cough viruses are rampant. Some colds are mild but irritating while others are like the dragon-accompanied by body aches, headaches and fever. Here we will discuss 10 effective remedies for common cold, some of which could also relieve coughs and flu. Many of these herbal remedies are known to give relief and are also preventive in nature.
1. Increase your water intake
Colds are accompanied by mucous formation and the best remedy for such colds is drinking tons of water. Water helps flush the mucous out of the system. Here are some remedies to get you to drink more water:
- Boil water and add grated ginger, lemon and honey. Drink this tea throughout the day.
- Drink warm water to which you have added some organic, raw and unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with some honey.
- Drink hot water with pepper and honey.
- Keep a bottle/flask of warm water near your workplace so you remember to drink every few hours.
- Drink herbal teas like eucalyptus, basil, or peppermint tea. These are fantastic herbal remedies for fighting colds.
- Drink soups and fruit juices.
- Watch out for signs of dehydration, particularly if you are suffering from flu or high fever. These symptoms include dry mouth, dizziness, reduce urine output etc.
2. Eat warming foods
Stay away from cold or frozen foods and eat warming foods like soups, vegetable stew, tea, broth, brown rice, pumpkin based foods etc. Use spices like cinnamon, pepper, ginger, garlic and nutmeg as these warm the body from inside out. These are some of the best natural remedies for common cold. Avoid mucous stimulating foods like wheat, bananas etc.
3. Take herbal supplements
Garlic supplements are antimicrobial in action and they fight infections. You can also take raw garlic grated on your soups, broths, sandwiches etc. Other supplements that help fight colds are Echinacea, Grapefruit extracts and Goldenseal. You can also take up to 1000mg of Vitamin C per day. These natural remedies for colds stimulate and boost the immune system and some of these remedies also fight sore throat and flu. If you have a sore throat, suck on Zinc lozenges every few hours.
4. Take plenty of rest
Avoid strenuous activities or exercise when suffering from cold. You can go for a short walk but avoid lifting weights or jogging. Take plenty of rest and get adequate sleep. This will help your body fight the cold. Take a hot tub bath to relieve body aches and pains. You can add some Epsom salts to the bath water. Also, if you have nasal congestion, you can take a hot shower as the steam will help relieve it.
5. Avoid smoking
Nicotine not only dehydrates your body, it further weakens your immune system making it difficult for your body to get rid of cold. Smoking can also aggravate the sore throat and lead to wheezing and coughing. Non smokers must also avoid second hand smoke and vehicular fumes or industrial pollution.
6. Use salt water nasal spray
Saline or salt water rinses can be used for relieving nasal congestion. These are also available over the counter in the form of nasal sprays or nasal drops. They help loosen the mucous and allow you to breathe easier. You can also use a netti pot for washing the sinuses. In case of severe nasal congestion, you can use OTC decongestant tablets or syrups. Note that these could lead to some drowsiness, so make sure you stay at home and avoid driving or operating machinery etc.
7. Use a humidifier
The dry winter air often aggravates colds and sore throats. This is further exacerbated by room heaters and central heating systems. You can keep your room humid by running a humidifier. Do this at bedtime so you do not wake up with dry nasal passage.
8. Take antihistamine for runny nose
One of the symptoms of common cold is runny nose. This can be very irritating and can also lead to soreness around the nose and mouth. If your cold is allergic in nature, taking an antihistamine like Benadryl might help.
9. Use preventive measures
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Take adequate rest and drink tons of water.
- Eat a balanced healthy diet comprising of immunity boosting fruits and vegetables. Avoid junk, oily food.
- Quit smoking as this reduces immunity. Reduce your alcohol intake as it is dehydrating and can aggravate colds.
- Avoid sharing personal items with people suffering from cold.
- Clean all household items, surfaces, computer etc with antibacterial solutions made specifically for the job.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth etc as this spreads the cold viruses.
10. See a doctor
If you are still not feeling better within a week despite these best remedies for common cold, you might want to see your health care provider. Do seek medical advice if following symptoms are present:
- Fever greater than 103F or lasting for more than 3 days
- Cold in infants and newborn babies
- Blood in phlegm
- Cough or sore throat lasting more than 2 weeks
In some cases, viral infections turn bacterial. In such a case you will need antibiotics. Take the entire dose of antibiotics prescribed to you as failure to do so could bring the infection back. We hope these remedies for common cold help you feel better soon.