Thursday, November 17, 2011

Home remedies for the common cold

'Tis the season to... sneeze and sniffle.

Yes folks, the cold season is here.  I really hate how the common cold can just lay me low for a few days.  I'm totally zapped of energy and my head feels like a gigantic ball of snot.  It's miserable and I just want it to end.  Like yesterday!!  And it's not like your doctor can help because it's a virus so a visit there and your $25 co-pay will just garner you the advice that "it needs to run its course and to come back if you don't feel better in a few days."

Here are 10 things you can do at home to feel better and hurry things along:

  1. Drink plenty of clear fluids to help break up the congestion.  Good choices are water, juice, sports drinks,  herbal tea (I especially like mint) or ginger ale.  Avoid caffeine because it tends to dehydrate you and milk because it makes your body produce more mucus and alcohol because it inflames the tissues in your nose and throat even more than the cold already has them inflamed.
  2. Inhale steam slowly through your nose to help ease congestion.  Doesn't matter if it's a humidifier, boiling a pot of water on your stove, a steamy shower or holding your head, draped with a towel, over a sink of very hot water.  It's all steam.  I like to add a few drops of tea tree oil to the water.
  3. Blow your nose often, but do it right.  Both snuffing it back in and blowing hard only pushes that nasty infected goop into your ears where it causes you more grief and discomfort.  The best way to blow your nose is to press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other.
  4. Stay warm and get extra rest so your energy is directed toward recovering.
  5. Use a saline nasal spray to break up congestion and rinse virus particles and bacteria from your nose.  A simple recipe is 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp baking soda to 8 oz of warm water.  Use a bulb syringe or nettie pot and hold your head over the sink or a basin to flush nostrils one at a time, using your finger to press the other closed.
  6. Gargling with warm salt water relieves a scratchy sore throat temporarily.
  7. Drink warm liquids like herbal tea, beef or chicken broth, or hot cider to relieve the inflamed membranes in your nose and throat.
  8. Try a small dab of mentholated salve under your nose.  Menthol will help clear inflamed nasal passages and the salve will help with the raw painful skin you get from wiping your nose so much.  I make my own with a dab of Vaseline and a few drops of tea tree oil.  Pine needle oil, eucalyptus, peppermint or camphor might be other good choices.
  9. Sleep with an extra pillow under your head.  Raising your head slightly may help you breathe better during the night.
  10. Try herbal remedies like zinc or vitamin C supplements,  echinacea, or my favorite... honey and cinnamon blended together (1/4 tsp cinnamon to each 1 tsp honey).  Take 2 tsp followed by a glass of water twice a day starting with the first sniffle.  Honey, on it's own is effective against a cough, and both honey and cinnamon have antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties.  You can also stir the honey/cinnamon mixture into your herbal tea or use as a fruit dip.
These tips should keep your cold symptoms bearable and speed your recovery along!!

1 comment:

latter-daymom said...

Great reminder for this autumn/winter season! I love the honey/cinnamon recipe! I hope you feel better soon!