Feeling under the weather? Use these natural, drug-free methods to relieve the unpleasant symptoms of the common cold and feel better faster!
Did you know that most people get about two to four colds per year? This can add up to a lot of missed work and misery. Symptoms of the common cold can range from a stuffy or runny nose, an itchy mildly sore throat, coughing, congestion, body aches, headache, sneezing, watery eyes, fatigue and even a low grade fever. Many people think they have the flu when they really just have a cold. However, if your fever becomes high, your body aches, or your sore throat is more than mild, then do see a doctor.
Many people take a lot of strong drugs while they are ill to try to get rid of the cold. However, the truth is that the common cold has no cure. Putting a lot of drugs into your body to try to treat a common cold is usually a mistake because the side effects of the drugs may be worse than any danger the cold may pose.
Thankfully, there are tried and true natural ways to treat a common cold and help you get through your cold drug-free. Some of these natural methods can actually help to boost your immunity instead of just suppressing symptoms, so you may recover from your cold faster, and be less likely to come down with a secondary infection.
- Eat Hot Soup – It may sound simple, but just eating hot broth or soup can help combat a cold by helping your sinuses drain. The steam from the soup enters the nasal cavity and helps break up phlegm causing your sinuses to drain, thus relieving pressure and helping your head feel better. Plus, the soup provides calories and nutrition to help you stay strong and nourished as your body fights the cold. Chicken soup is a classic home remedy when you’re sick, but if you are a vegetarian, mushroom broth is a healthy and nutritious substitute.
- Drink Plenty of Juice – When you are sick it’s important to get plenty of vitamin C. One good way to get some extra vitamin C in a whole-food form is to drink freshly squeezed juice, which is healthier than the pre-squeezed stuff and contains more nutrients. You can make orange juice easily with a hand juicer, or if you want to juice a lot of fruit all at once, consider a high-powered electric juicer like a Breville juicer. You can use this to juice a number of different fruits and vegetables to get more nutrients into your body while you’re sick without stressing your digestive system.
- Leave It Alone – It may not feel that way when you’re in the middle of a cold, but some symptoms are actually good! They mean that your body is doing what it’s supposed to do to get rid of the virus. For example, a low-grade fever actually means that your body is fighting the infection and you don’t want to do anything to stop it when it’s working. The only time you need to get a fever down is when it’s very high (over 103 degrees), as fevers over 105 can be dangerous. But a normal fever should be left alone.
- Stop Sucking It Up – If you are sniffing a lot, try to stop sniffing the snot back up into your nose and lungs. Instead, when you feel like sniffing, use a tissue to blow it out of your body. Blow your nose gently, preferably one side of your nostril at a time. Don’t blow too hard, but blow gently enough to clear your sinus passages. Flushing your sinuses with a natural sinus spray like Xlear can also help.
- Get a Neti Pot – This is a small, specially-shaped pot that enables you to clean your sinus passages with saline solution. If you are having issues with being able to clear your sinus passages by blowing gently, the neti pot will help a lot. Be sure to only use distilled water in your neti pot as using tap water can make matters worse – especially if your water is chlorinated.
- Get a Lot of Rest – This is another simple one, but it’s one of the absolute best remedies for a cold! When you are sick the best thing you can do is sleep and rest. Wrap up in a blanket and stay nice and warm. Elevating your body temperature may also help boost your body’s immune function, so wear warm clothes and plenty of blankets. The more you can sleep, the faster you’re going to get better.
- Gargle with Salt Water – If you have sinus drainage or a sore throat, try gargling with salt water. Just use warm water combined with sea salt. Then use it to rinse your mouth and gargle. This will clear your throat of drainage and may help to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Take a Hot Bath – This is a great time to relax in a hot, steamy bath. There are some things you can put in your bath water such as eucalyptus or menthol that you can inhale that will help clear your sinus passages and relax your body. You can also put in some Epsom salts to help soothe sore muscles.
- Run a Humidifier – It can be a hot or cold mist (use cold mist only if children live in the residence) to help add moisture to the air to help relieve symptoms of cold and cough. Some humidifiers allow you to put a few drops of menthol or eucalyptus oil in them to help clear your sinuses even more. Interestingly, a recent study found that using a humidifier dramatically reduced the incidence of illness in school classrooms, so using one all winter may actually help keep you from getting sick in the first place!
- Wrap Your Neck – This is an interesting one that I just learned about a couple of years ago, but it really does seem to work for a lot of people! Wrap your neck well in a warm scarf, and when you go to bed, use a flannel wrap (I use an old flannel pillowcase folded lengthwise a couple of times) to keep your neck extra warm. The theory is that elevating the temperature in this region can help to get rid of bacteria or viruses that may be hanging out in your throat, so it’s best used when you first start to feel like you may be catching a cold.
Using these natural cold remedies will help your body recover faster, without resorting to drugs. In fact, drug-free methods will actually often work as well as, or better than, using drugs – without all the side effects that drugs can cause. Plus, some symptoms are necessary to help fight the bug, so stopping those symptoms can actually prolong your illness.
Use these natural methods instead, and you’ll be feeling better in no time!