Ladies and gents, it’s that time of year again… no, not Christmas time… cold and flu time!
I absolutely adore winter and everything that comes with it, especially Christmas and all the festivities, but the one thing that I hate is how badly my immune system reacts to the cold and flu bug. Perhaps I need more vitamin c in my life, but whatever it is, I seem to pick up every and any cold going. If someone sneezes nearby me once on the bus, I’m guaranteed to have a cold within the week!
But, I’m not here to moan and groan about my body’s ease of picking up the common cold. I’m here to give me fellow sufferers some tips on how I find it best to lighten the symptoms of a cold and my go-to cures to shortening that nasty bug. A fair few of these might seem rather on the obvious side and nothing really can cure a common cold but these are my tried and tested remedies to make you feel slightly better.
So wrap up warm, rest well and I hope you get well soon!
For me, one of the worst parts about catching a cold is the sore throat that I get with it. I’m not talking a scratchy throat but those horrible lumps of mucus that seem to form and hurt whenever you swallow (it always seems to be particularly bad for me first thing in the morning and especially at the beginning of a cold).
If you’re the same as me then gargling saltwater is fantastic for temporarily relieving your throat as it helps to reduce and loosen the mucus, which contains bacteria and allergens.
Just mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water, gargle and spit out x5.
Nasal Sprays for Stuffiness
Is there anything more horrendous than trying to talk, eat or sleep with a clogged up nose? How am I supposed to get the well-needed rest that everyone is telling me to get when I can’t even breathe through my nose?!
I grab my go to Otrivine nasal spray. Over the counter nasal drops and sprays can really help to relieve congestion and give some temporary relief. My go-to spray or drops are by Otrivine as I find that they work within minutes and last up to 12 hours. Two drops or sprays just before bed and when I wake in the morning, this really helps to allow me to feel slightly more human!
Honey & Lemon
Used separately or together these two are my absolute go-to gems when I feel any first signs of a cold coming on, or if I’m in full swing of a cold.
Prepared with warm water they make the perfect soothing drink that can help to ease your discomfort. The scientific proof that it actually helps to get rid of a cold might be slim, but generations of cold sufferers will agree that honey and lemon really do work!
If you’re super duper fancy and budget allows then try to purchase some Manuka honey which is proven to help with nasty coughs and can also help you to prevent catching any pesky colds in the first place.
Along with hot drinks, hot soups are a great choice when you’re feeling under the weather. I love nothing more than a bowl of hot chicken ramen soup when I’m unwell and research has even shown that a bowl of chicken soup with vegetables prepared from scratch or a can, can actually help to slow the movement of neutrophils (the white cells inside of us that can help to protect us from infections) in your body.
Hot soups have also been proven to effectively reduce the symptoms of upper respiratory infections. So get slurping!
Ginger roots contain antiseptic and anti-inflammatory chemicals which can help to relieve a sore throat quickly and also kill the viruses which cause the common cold in the first place. Ginger is also helpful for settling upset stomachs, dizziness, nausea and cold sweats.
Purchase some ginger sweets, ginger tea or just slice some into a warm cup of hot water mixed with the above honey and lemon.
Some studies have found that taking echinacea may reduce the length or a cold and the severity of its symptoms, some also say that taking it on a daily basis can help to encourage the immune system.
Although echinacea taken as an organic fresh plant extract has shown to be the most beneficial, we won’t all have access to the fresh plant in our back garden so you can settle for the herb in other forms.
Echinacea capsules contain the powdered root of the herb, if you feel a cold coming on or you’re in the midst of a bad cold, take a 500mg capsule three times a day.
Menthol found in rubs such as Vicks can help to ease breathing and reduce coughing by interacting with cold receptors in the nose and the throat.
Vapour rubs can be used in a variety of different ways – rubbed into the chest and throat area, a teaspoon into a hot bowl of water with a towel over your head. The list goes on.
For me, the most effective method of using these rubs to help ease the worst of coughing fits is to oddly enough, rub a generous amount on the soles of my feet! Yes! It works, I swear. Just lather enough to create a thin layer on the bottom of your feet and then pop on some socks.
This only seems to work for me when I’m lying down, so it’s great for bedtime, but it works and stops me from coughing almost straight away and lasts throughout the night.