There is no denying that cold and flu season is just around the corner. With the first major storm of the season poised to hit the east coast and rainstorms in the West, the next thing sure to follow will be colds, coughs, sore throats, runny noses, and the flu.
In this article, we are going to talk about the common cold. While it might be “common” it is anything but pleasant. A severe cold can make you feel like you died from the throat up.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do once you catch the virus. There is no cure. However, the good news here is that there are plenty of natural ways you can prevent, lessen the severity of, and shorten the duration of that oh so common, sniffling, sneezing, stopped up head, sore throat, runny eyes, and coughing cold.
You know the old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is absolute truth! The best way to deal with a cold is to try to prevent one in the first place. There is nothing new here, but if you’ve been skimming over this advice for years, perhaps it’s time you paid attention.
Wash your hands. Again and again and again. Try to not touch your face (which is easier said than done). A friend once made a “buddy system” with a co-worker where they would snap their fingers every time they saw them touching their face.
If you can’t avoid touching public spaces, such as ATM keypads, railings, shopping cart handles and such, get in the habit of using hand sanitizer afterwards.
Getting plenty of sleep and vitamin D (via sunshine if possible) has also been shown to reduce the number of colds people catch.
Despite your best efforts, if you should catch a cold, here are some ways to make it shorter and easier to bear.
- Hot Drinks with Cinnamon or Ginger
This works best if you start at the first sign of the sniffles. Drink hot herbal tea with cinnamon or ginger. Lemon and honey will soothe a sore throat, but using cinnamon or ginger will help to thin the mucus in the sinuses, clearing them out. The virus is lurking in your sinuses, so keeping them clear of mucus as much as possible will help.
This natural mineral is vital for the proper functioning of the immune system. Adults over the age of 18 can take 40mg a day. Taking a zinc supplement will not only help your immune system fight the cold, it is known to prevent the virus from reproducing, so if you take it regularly, you can stop those little stinkers from making you any more sick than you are when you start taking the zinc. Lozenges are a great way to slow the progression of the virus in the mouth and throat. Start with these at the very first sign of illness and continue for 7 days.
A very old fashioned remedy that really works. Many people claim that their cold was completely gone in 36 hours. Most people consume this in tea form with lots of honey as it can taste bitter. You can also make a mix of yarrow tea and either peppermint or chamomile tea for extra soothing, cold fighting power.
- Nettle Leaf Tea with Red Raspberry Leaf
Make your own mix of nettle leaf tea with red raspberry leaf tea for one of the best cold fighting teas around. Both have trace minerals and vitamins that remove toxins and stimulate the immune system.
Garlic is a great cold fighter, but you have to be a toughie for this one. This herb is a natural antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-viral powerhouse. Finely mince one or two cloves, put them in a glass of water and drink it straight down! If this is just too strong for you, add plenty of garlic to chicken soup, broth, or perhaps even make some garlic “tea” with honey. Most kids will not drink this, but for the hearty, this method works wonders.
- Coconut Oil
This natural oil is high in a compound called lauric acid and is believed to remove the protective coating around viruses, making them vulnerable to your body’s immune system. Add 5 to 6 tablespoons of coconut oil each day until symptoms of your cold subside. Try it in your coffee, tea, cooking, toast, or, if you like the taste, just swallow it down right out of the jar.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Yes, there is no denying it, this tastes terrible, but it really works. Add a tablespoon in a glass of water and gargle with it at least 4 times a day. Then, drink one glass of this each morning and night. The earlier you start, the better this will work.
If your head is so clogged you think you need a plumber, try this.
Put a pot of water on the stove. Add three or four drops of Eucalyptus oil to the water. Once it boils, turn off the heat and pour the water into a bowl. Now stand over the bowl with a towel draped over your head. Close your eyes and breathe in the steam. If you must, start breathing with your mouth. You will find that your nose clears up quickly. Be careful not to stand so close to the steam that you burn your face!
- Natural Chest Salve
If that cold should move down into the chest, make your own non-petroleum based chest salve by mixing about 15 to 20 drops of peppermint essential oil into half a cup of coconut or almond oil. Rub this on your chest and under your nostrils, the same way you use vaporub. Wash off with warm water when it feels cold.
If you do catch a cold, please be kind to everyone else and avoid passing it on. Wash your hands, use virus killing tissues, and stay home at least for the first 3 days when you are most contagious.