With winter almost upon, now is the perfect time to take preventative measures against the common cold. One of the most common causes of school and work absenteeism, cold and flu affects us all, and if you have already succumbed to this common viral infection of the nose, throat and sinuses, you could try pain pills and decongestants, or you could try one of the many natural remedies available instead.
Treating a Common Cold
There is no cure for the common cold, and once you develop the symptoms such as a runny nose, a sore throat and a high temperature, you can expect them to last for around 7-10 days.
While not life-threatening, colds are highly contagious, and so it is advisable to stay at home and take care of yourself until all of your symptoms have gone.
Many people buy over-the-counter painkillers to relieve the symptoms of cold and flu, but they are not suitable for everyone, and if you prefer to keep pain medicines for more serious conditions, our natural remedies for the common cold could be just what you need to keep your symptoms at bay.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C has been used to prevent and treat common colds since the early 1970s, and while it will not cure your cold, it could relieve some symptoms and help you recover quicker.
You can take vitamin C as a supplement, or source it naturally from citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, and vitamin packed smoothies.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of liquids, hot and cold, to avoid becoming dehydrated.
When we have a cold, we lose a lot of fluid through sweating, sneezing and blowing our nose, and so it needs to be replenished throughout the day.
You probably won't feel like doing much during the first few days of your cold, but that's a good thing.
Rest is one of the most effective cold remedies, so head back to bed or jump on the couch with your duvet and give your body a chance to recover.
4. Eat Right
An apple a day will not only keep the doctor away, it will also help you recover from a common cold.
While you may not have much of an appetite during the first few days, try to eat a high-fibre diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Soups are a good choice when you are feeling ill, and the warm liquid will soothe a sore throat.
Used for centuries to treat the symptoms of cold and flu, Echinacea could make your cold symptoms less severe.
Available in tablet form or as a tea, Echinacea is a herbal cold remedy that can help the body recover by supporting the immune system.
6. Vapour Rubs
Designed to help you breathe more easily when you have a cold, Vapour Rubs, such as Vicks VapoRub, can relieve chest and nose congestion and soothe a cough to leave you feeling much better.
7. Ginger, Honey & Lemon
There is nothing like a cup of hot Ginger, Honey and Lemon to soothe a sore throat and blocked nose.
100% natural and packed with vitamins, this is one cold remedy that you won't mind taking.
8. Zinc Supplements
Recent studies have found Zinc to be highly effective at shortening the duration of the common cold.
Available in syrup, lozenge or tablet form, Zinc supplements should be taken at the first sign of a cold to reduce the severity of your symptoms, however, not everyone can take zinc and so it is a good idea to discuss it with your GP before self-medicating.