The Cold and flu are mostly harmless medical conditions which are not considered as serious illnesses, but they are also one of the top productivity killing health conditions due to the amount of rest required and almost a week long symptoms. The cold is mostly seasonal (winter) and viral, so antibiotics are of no use which is also a good sign. The good news is, there are very easy and simple remedies as well as precautions that can not only help fight off a cold, but can also keep it at a safe distance. Listed are some very simple remedies and precautions that can really help.
1. Build a Stronger Immune System
The best defense against a viral disease like cold and flu is a stronger immune. If your immune system can attack the virus and win over it, you are safe. So the logical step when you are getting into the winter is to take some immune-building nutrition like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium, iodine and zinc. Out of these, Vitamin C is well known for its cold-preventing properties.
All the listed nutrients and vitamins are immune-boosting and can prepare your immune system to counter the upcoming viral attack. You can find multiple supplements in the market with these immune boosting nutrients.
2. Wash, wash and wash…
Well, this is common knowledge, but let us restate it again. Studies claim that washing hands frequently can significantly decrease the risk of contracting cold & flu. Make it a habit to wash your hands whenever you are exposed to a place with a lot of people. Wash your hands at least 5 times a day especially before and after the meal.
3. Add Ginger Tea to Your Daily Diet
Adding 2 to 6 cups of ginger tea to your daily diet can not only help in preventing cold & flu, but if you have already contracted cold, it can help in limiting the duration of sickness. This is due to the anti-viral properties of ginger and its immune-boosting micro-nutrients. You can also add more ginger as an ingredient in your food.
4. Use Herbs
Use of herbs is a top and most commonly used natural remedy around the world. Herbs are also a common alternative medicine in Chinese and other South East Asian cultures for centuries. If you are not comfortable with using supplements for immune boosting nutrition, a great alternate is to use herbs that are known for building a stronger immune. A mixture of herbs like astragalus, rhodiola and cordyceps can do wonders in prevention as well as to heal you faster.
If you have already contracted cold, you can choose other anti-viral herbs like red root, licorice, isatis, and lomatium.
5. Pick up the Symptoms Early
Detecting symptoms early can make a lot of difference to the severity of the cold & flu. As soon as you contracted the virus, symptoms appear immediately. Research shows that the counter measures within 12 hours of contraction can cure cold quickly. Common symptoms are runny nose, body ache, cough, mild temperature, congestion, sore throat and fatigue.
6. Vitamin C
We have already discussed that Vitamin C is good for cold-prevention, but it can also effectively shorten the duration of a cold. If you are suffering from cold, drink orange juice which is full of Vitamin C. Other food sources of vitamin C include leafy green vegetables, strawberries and kiwis. If you are taking supplements, make sure to follow the recommended daily dosages published by National Institute of Health that are 75 mg for women and 90 mg for men.
7. Keep Warm
While you are resting, make sure to keep warm and use blankets or turn up your thermostat a little. Warmth can also keep your body in relaxed state and will help you with rest.
8. Increase the Use of Fluids
Keeping yourself warm often means sweating along with runny nose if you have already contracted the cold virus. To counter the dehydration, make sure you are drinking lots of fluids. Dehydration can increase the severity of the cold virus and also make your sore throat dry making it more painful. Fluids like orange juice, watery fruits and vegetables, soups, teas and plain water, all work great in countering cold virus.
9. Steam Treatments and Hot Shower
Steam treatments and standing under the hot shower can help loosens mucus and provide a relief to dry nasal passage. It is also one of the oldest but effective cold treatments in the books. For sinus-clearing, give yourself a steam facial by covering your head with towel and putting a hot water bowl under your face. Let the steam get into your nasal passage to help relax the nasal passage.
Taking hot shower is also a nice treatment. Many people avoid bath during cold, but it is an effective way to clear a cold quickly. Make sure to let the hot water run for sometime before getting under the shower to build more steam. It not only helps in decongestion, it provides your body with required heat and relaxation. Make sure to dry yourself thoroughly including your hair before leaving bathroom.
10. Gargle with Salt Water
This is another common and among the oldest treatments for sore throat, and still very effective. During cold, dry and itchy throat is the most irritating symptom for many. Gargle with salt water provides an effective relief due to antiseptic properties of salt while water hydrates the throat. Make sure to gargle with the salt water 4 times a day. Add little baking soda to the solution if you find the taste unpleasant but do not swallow.
11. Eat Honey
Honey also has excellent anti-viral properties and immune boosting nutrients. It can also provide soothing effect to the itchy and dry throat. You can add a spoon of honey to your daily diet, or for more effectiveness, dissolve it in a hot cup of tea or water.
Many studies claimed that rest can limit the duration of cold if you have already contracted it. In fact, it is rated as a better cure than many anti viral medicines or other natural remedies. The simple science behind this belief is that your body needs a lot of energy to fight off virus, and by providing rest to your body, all the energy is directed towards fighting the virus. Make sure to get a proper rest if you don’t want to keep cold for a long time.
13. When Do You Need to See a Doctor?
In most cases, you can deal with cold & flu on your own following simple precautionary measures or natural remedies, but in some cases, it is advised to visit a doctor. While mild temperature is normal, but suffering from 101 degrees for more than 3 days is alarming. You also need to visit doctor if your temperature rises above 103 or you suffer with earache, bloody mucus, shortness of breath and if the symptoms lasts more than 7 days.