You’re having a normal day and then all of the sudden, there’s an ache in your neck and a scratchy feeling in your throat. While the common cold is rarely a threat, there’s no denying how rotten it feels.
Few are spared from cold season, that time of year when everyone seems to be sniffling. Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for the common cold. However, there are definitely ways to make the sickness more bearable! The next time you find yourself bundled up next to a box of tissues, try these natural (and affordable) home remedies.
First and foremost, get lots of rest, even more than you normally would. Proper sleep and rest will speed up the recovery process. Resist burning the midnight oil, or better yet, just take a day to stay home: exerting yourself will only prolong your cold (and you’ll save others from catching the virus).
While your inner child might be craving certain comfort foods, light portions of veggies and lean proteins ensure your body gets the proper fuel and nutrients to recover. Stay away from too much sugar, as it weakens the immune system. Just like mom told you, a hearty chicken soup full of vegetables is the way to go.
Salt Water/Neti Pot
Nasal salt rinses using a neti pot or rubber bulb syringe will clear stuffed nasal passages, allowing you to breathe easier. As a precaution, always boil water to sanitize it beforehand.
Lots of Liquids
With all that congestion, you run the risk of getting dehydrated. Drink lots of water and herbal tea. Be wary of juice and soda (which are loaded with sugar) as well as alcohol and caffeinated drinks (which may dehydrate you even more).
We’ve talked before about honey’s benefits for skin, but it can also ease cold symptoms. Honey not only soothes a sore throat, you can also use it as a cough suppressant and sleeping aid. Add some raw honey to tea or simply take a spoonful before bedtime.
Eucalyptus is well known for its ability to help with respiratory problems when inhaled. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to your shower and breathe in the steam. Or, you can skip the shower and use a bowl of boiling water instead, making sure to inhale the bowl's vapors.
Ginger contains gingeroles and shaogals, anti-inflammatories that will help with your sore throat. Go ahead and strain some grated ginger with hot water to make a spicy tea. Not only will you benefit from the ginger, but the tea’s hot water will increase mucus flow.
Keeping a humidifier in your room adds moisture to the air, which loosens your mucus and allows for better breathing. However, experts recommend that you only use cold air, as you might accidentally burn yourself using steam.
Of course, more effective than any remedy is making sure you don’t get a cold at all. Prevention is the best medicine possible. This season, be sure to wash your hands often, eat right, exercise, and get lots of sleep!