Cold and flu season is in full swing and our clinic is full of patients with coughs and sniffles. As you know, colds and influenza are caused by viruses and sometimes you just have to let a virus run its course. If your symptoms are mild and you would rather wait out your cold at home without a trip to the doctor there are several home remedies you can try to help alleviate your symptoms.
Rest and Hydration
Rest and hydration are essential to recovering from cold and flu viruses. Water, juice, clear broth and lemon water with honey are the best liquids to stay hydrated with during a cold. Stay away from alcohol and caffeinated sodas. Though they are beverages, caffeinated drinks and alcohol actually cause dehydration.
If your body feels tired, take a nap! Getting as much rest as possible is key to recovery. A day or two of rest will do wonders in healing the body.
Warm baths can relieve many cold symptoms including aches and fever. Adding Epsom salt and baking sodas to bath water help to relieve aches and pain, and you can also add essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, thyme or tea tree for a soothing effect.
Gargling with salt water may help prevent colds and it can relieve cold symptoms including a sore throat and nasal congestion. Saltwater gargles loosen and reduces mucus which contains bacteria and allergens. All you need is a teaspoon of salt and a small cup of warm water.
Cool-Mist Vaporizer or Humidifier, VapoRub
Keeping the air moist helps fight congestion and you can do that through the use of a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier. Rubbing VapoRub on the chest may also reduce cold symptoms in children.
OTC Saline Nasal Drops
Saline nasal sprays are excellent for relieving nasal congestion in kids and adults. Saline for colds is available in nasal mists, drops and for use with a Neti pot. If you use a Neti pot, be sure to use purified water instead of tap.
OTC Pain Relievers/Fever Reducers
Over the counter pain relievers acetaminophen and ibuprofen are often all you need to relieve pain and reduce fever. You can alternate use of these medicines for all-day relief.
Healing Foods and Supplements
Though the jury is still out on some of these remedies, many people believe in the healing power of certain foods and supplements. For instance, chicken soup is believed to slow the movement of neutrophils, white blood cells that help fight disease, allowing the neutrophils to concentrate in areas of the body that are infected. Chicken soup is also effective in relieving upper respiratory symptoms. Other foods and supplements that could help reduce your cold or cold symptoms include ginger root, echinacea, honey, garlic, probiotic yogurt, and vitamin C.