Curb a Cold and It’s Collateral
The common cold- everyone dreads catching it. We’ve all been there on the couch with a box of Kleenex in one hand and the remote in the other feeling miserable. It’s not easy trying to function within your daily schedule while having added symptoms like a runny, stuffy nose, coughing, and a sore throat. The good news is that there are some things we can do to help ourselves get better or at least be more comfortable while we recuperate.
In the US the average adult experiences 2 to 3 colds each year. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for the common cold. Antibiotics are useless against a cold because viruses cause colds not bacteria. However, there are some preventative measures we can take to keep from getting sick. If you spend time in public areas like a subway, bus, store or office, avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose until you can wash your hands. All are easy entry ways for a virus. Viruses can exist on surfaces for hours. Eat a nutritious diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants. Get plenty of rest. Try to get some exercise in each day. All of these things help to keep you healthy and give your immune system a boost.
If you have already caught a cold, don’t lose hope, there are some natural remedies that you should try before heading to the medicine cabinet or drugstore. At first sign of a cold, start drinking plenty of fluids like hot herbal tea, juice or water. This helps thin out mucous which can reduce congestion and a sore throat. A saline spray or steamy shower can open up nasal passages. You might try nixing the cough medicine, as honey can soothe a sore throat and help quiet a cough too. Try a spoonful in your tea with some lemon or right off the spoon. Warm beverages like tea or soup can help ease a sore throat also. Gargling with warm salty water helps flush out irritants and thin mucous in the back of the throat. Research has suggested that chicken soup helps to reduce cold symptoms like congestion and a sore throat. Using a vaporizer is a good way to decrease congestion and help you breath more easily. Using a neti pot can also help to reduce congestion and clear out excess mucous. Last but not least, is rest. Your body needs to recuperate and can do so more quickly if it is well rested.
There are also a number of herbal supplements that may support your immune system in its fight against that cold. Some research has suggested that when taken at the onset of a cold, Echinacea has helped to lessen symptoms and shorten the overall duration of a cold. Ginseng and vitamin C have been shown to have similar results in other studies.
Remember, you are most contagious during the first few days of a cold. When it comes to a cold, stay home and rest. Don’t pass on your cold to coworkers at the office or classmates at school. Take it easy and drink plenty of fluids so you can get well sooner!