Easy Cold Remedies

With cold season around the corner, keep these home remedies on hand to battle your symptoms.

Feeling miserable because of a cold? While bed is calling your name and you know you should listen, duty is calling too loudly to ignore. What can you do to feel better faster? Good question with bad news. Because there is no cure for the common cold. As a virus, it has to run its course, which usually takes one to two weeks.

Thankfully, you don’t have to suffer the whole time you have a cold. Numerous home remedies are available for colds and many have been around for centuries. Here are a few ways to help alleviate your discomfort.

Drink, Drink, Drink

It is important to hydrate with plenty of water or other liquids. While you can’t flush a virus out of your system, fluids help break up congestion and keep your throat moist. Water, ginger ale, fruit drinks, and sports drinks are helpful, but avoid caffeinated drinks such as soda and coffee, as these can actually cause dehydration.

Especially beneficial for relieving nasal congestion and a sore throat are hot liquids such as clear broth, warm lemon water, and herbal tea with a teaspoon of honey. If congestion is preventing you from sleeping, a good old-fashioned hot toddy may help. Just make some hot tea and add in a small shot (one ounce) of bourbon or whiskey.

Increase the Humidity

Winter is the cold season partly because cold viruses spread rapidly in dry conditions. Also, when the air is dry, so are your mucous membranes. This results in a stuffy nose and a sore, scratchy throat. A helpful remedy is breathing in warm, moist air through your nose. You can do this either with a humidifier or a pot of boiling water on the stove. If you use a humidifier, keep the filters clean and change the water daily. If you breathe steam from boiling water, be careful not to burn yourself.

Taking a hot, steamy shower in a closed bathroom is another way to relieve congestion, moisturize your throat, and relax. Even sitting in the bathroom while the shower is running will help.

Salt Water

What can you do with the salt found on your kitchen table? First of all, you can dissolve one-half to one-quarter teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Gargle this mixture four times a day to relieve your scratchy, sore throat. To make it work even better, add a little honey to the mixture.

Secondly, salt water can be used to irrigate your nose. While this may sound unpleasant, many people rely on it to relieve nasal congestion. The salt water helps to break up the mucous and remove the virus from your nose. Mix one-quarter teaspoon of salt and one-quarter teaspoon of baking soda with eight ounces of warm, clean water. Lean your head over a sink, hold one nostril closed, and use a bulb syringe filled with the salt water to gently squirt the mixture into your other nostril. Let the liquid drain out. Repeat this several times, and then switch to the other side.

Nose Care

Nasal congestion can make you feel miserable. And while you may have more important things to do than blow your nose, it is important to regularly blow your nose instead of sniffing the mucous back into your nose. When you blow, blow gently out of one nostril, while pressing the other side closed. This prevents the germy mucous from getting into your ear passages, which can result in an earache.

If your nose is rubbed raw from frequent blowing, use a salve containing menthol, camphor, or eucalyptus to relieve the pain. These ingredients all have numbing properties and help open your breathing passages. You can also alleviate your pain by applying a hot pack to your sinuses. Use reusable hot packs bought at the store or a damp washcloth heated in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Before placing on your face, test the temperature of the hot pack or washcloth.

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