Coming down with the common cold means spending days feeling under the weather. You have no energy and symptoms like a sore throat, stuffy nose, and chest congestion. The experience can be draining and means that you have to miss out on fun activities and important work meetings.
Fortunately, you don’t have to take prescription medications or antibiotics to feel better fast. Instead, you can use tried and true home remedies to help beat the cold. Read on to find out how to treat a cold using all natural ingredients.
7 Home Remedies To Treat A Cold
Natural remedies can help to alleviate symptoms of a cold. Most people have these ingredients at home already, making it easy to treat a cold, even if it catches you off guard. For serious infections, always consult a qualified healthcare professional before trying to treat symptoms at home.
1. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to feel better. When you’re body is hydrated, it can focus on fighting off any infections that may be making you sick. Warm liquids such as tea and chicken soup can help soothe a sore throat. If you’re craving something cold, opt for an iced tea or a glass of orange juice.
Fluids can also help to thin out mucus, which is beneficial for people who suffer from upper respiratory tract infections. Staying hydrated can help ease the symptoms of a runny nose and nasal congestion.
2. Get Lots of Rest
The best thing you can do for yourself when you have a cold is to take it easy. Working yourself too hard makes it more difficult for your body to fight off infection and also increases the risk of spreading the disease to others.
Stay home from work and try to relax. Set up a comfortable spot of the couch or in your bed where you can nap and get some rest. If you are suffering from sinus congestion, use a couple of pillows to prop yourself up.
3. Salt Water Treatments
Salt water is a great treatment for helping to ease sore throat pain or alleviate congestion. For a sore throat, gargle with a mixture of warm salt water for 30 seconds. This can help to numb pain and eliminate bacteria that is causing the infection.
For nasal congestion, a saline solution rinse can help to expel excess mucus. Use a tool such as the Neti pot and add warm distilled water and a saline packet. Mix well and then place the nozzle against one nostril. Tilt your head to the opposite side and squeeze the bottle gently. Let the saline solution flow in one nostril and out the other.
You can also use a saline nasal spray to help alleviate congestion in the nasal passages. For stubborn infections, use a medicated nasal spray instead. You can also find nasal saline drops that have the same effect as nasal irrigation without the complicated mess.
4. Hot Showers
Taking a hot shower or a hot bath can help to ease body ache and congestion. This herbal remedy is particularly useful for treating upper respiratory infections. The warm, moist air makes it easier to breathe by thinning out mucus and decreasing inflammation. The warm water also helps to soothe sore, achy muscles. Add a few drops of essential oils to the hot water to further these effects. Alternatively, you can use a humidifier to help moisten dry air and alleviate flu symptoms.
5. Facial Steam Baths
For a stuffy nose, doing a facial steam bath can offer quick relief. Fill a pot with water and bring it to a rapid boil on the stove. Turn off the stove and remove from heat. Cover your face with a towel and lean over the hot water. Breathe deeply for 5 to 10 minutes and repeat as needed throughout the day.
6. Get Vaccinated
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and over. The flu vaccine must be taken each year as it is specially formulated to target the flu and cold virus that is most prevalent for that year.
People between the ages of 2 and 49 have the option of taking the nasal spray flu vaccine. All other individuals can get the flu shot. The CDC recommends receiving the flu vaccine before the start of the flu season at the end of October. You can still get the vaccine after that, but its effectiveness may be diminished (1).
7. Over-the-Counter Medications
If you have severe throat pain caused by strep throat or body ache from the common cold, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or Advil can help to ease the pain. Don’t give aspirin to young children as they have a higher risk of developing Reye’s syndrome.
You can also take cough suppressants if you have a bad cough that won’t let up. Don’t take cough suppressants if you have a respiratory infection as coughing naturally helps to expel excess mucus that is causing congestion.
Nasal decongestants can also help alleviate congestion by decreasing inflammation. The anti-inflammatory properties work to decrease swelling in the nasal membranes. Be sure not to use nasal decongestants for more than 4 consecutive days as they may cause congestion to worsen.
Fend off the common cold by keeping your immune system running at top performance. You can supplement with vitamin C at the first sign of cold symptoms to help your immune system fight off the infection. Eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise to keep your body systems in top shape.
Wash your hands regularly throughout the day to help prevent the spread of infectious disease. Use hand sanitizers to keep your hands clean when you can’t get to a washroom. Avoid touching your nose and mouth, especially after being out in areas that are crowded including large office spaces and metros.
If you do get sick, using these natural remedies can help treat symptoms of a cold fast. They can help alleviate symptom whether they’re caused by a bacterial infection or a viral infection. They also are free from harmful side effects that come with taking prescription cold medicines that are the standard treatment of the common cold. Stock up on these natural ingredients and you’ll be ready when cold and flu season roll around.