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You start the day feeling fine and peachy, but suddenly your throat starts to hurt. And your day quickly gets ruined. Can you guess what it is? Yes, that’s right – it’s our unwelcome friend the cold.
The common cold is one of the main reasons for skipping work or school and research estimates that there are at least 1 billion cases a year in the USA.
So, what can we do in case we get the cold? The best medicine is rest, but unfortunately, some of us might not be able to afford such a luxury. To help you, I’ve made a list of the best home remedies for cold and cough that you can help you feel better.
But don’t underestimate the common cold. If left untreated, it can lead to complications like pneumonia. You should be especially careful if you have a weak immune system. So, if you don’t experience any improvement in a couple of days, go to your doctor.
Let’s see how and why the disease appears.
What causes the common cold?
The culprit behind the cold is a tiny thing called a virus. In fact, there are around 200 viruses that can be responsible for your cold. Some of them are:
Rhinoviruses–“rhin” means nose. It’s common in spring, summer and early fall and it’s highly contagious. These viruses are responsible for almost 40% of all colds. It can also cause ear infections, sinus infections and in severe cases pneumonia.
Coronaviruses-These viruses are active in spring and winter. They infect your nose, sinuses or throat. Usually, they are not dangerous, but they may cause a severe acute respiratory syndrome.
Human parainfluenza viruses adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus- These usually don’t cause severe symptoms in adults. Complications like bronchitis and pneumonia are possible in children with asthma or people with lung or heart conditions.
However, the viruses behind up to 30% of the colds are still not identified.
How do you get infected with such a virus? Very simply and very easily. You :
- Inhale the virus when an infected person sneezes, coughs, blows his nose or speaks
- Touch infected surfaces like doorknobs, toys, telephones.
Contrary to popular belief, getting chilled or wet doesn’t mean that you’ll get sick. But risk factors for cold include:
- Emotional distress
- Weak immune system
Babies are at high risk of developing colds in the first 4-6 weeks. To prevent colds and boost the immune system, you should breastfeed, if possible. Toddlers and young children also suffer from colds more often than adults – around five to seven colds a year.
Signs and symptoms of cold
The usual symptoms of the common cold are:
- sore throat
- runny nose
You’re more likely to get the cold in fall or winter. The reasons why are simple:
- school starts in the fall
- you’re spending more time indoors
- dry air that leads to infections
- cold viruses survive better in low humidity
Usually, the cold runs its course for 7-10 days. However, if you observe any of the following symptoms, talk to your doctor:
- high fever – 101.3°F for adults, 100.4 °F for kids
- breathing problems
- a persistent sore throat
If your cough doesn’t get better, also get in touch with your doctor. A chronic cough might be due to some serious illnesses.
How to treat cold and cough?
Since the reason behind cold is a virus, there is no cure. Your immune system should do the trick by producing antibodies against the virus.
You can use medicines like ibuprofen and nasal sprays to alleviate the symptoms, but don’t try antibiotics. They are only useful for infections caused by bacteria.
Here are some home remedies for cold and cough that can speed up the healing process.
1. Honey soothes a sore throat
For years mothers have used honey as an effective remedy for a sore throat and cough. It turns out they were right. A study has proven that honey relieves coughing and improves sleeping habits. Moreover, honey:
- Has antioxidant, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties
- Fights viruses, bacteria, and fungus
- Soothes the throat
- Relieves irritation
- Boost the immune system
There are multiple ways to use honey as a cold remedy
- one teaspoon of lemon juice
- two teaspoons of honey
- a cup
- Mix one teaspoon of lemon juice with two teaspoons of honey
- Drink every two hours
Alternatively, you can consume one teaspoon of honey when you feel the first signs of the illness.
If you have a cough, you can mix the honey with cinnamon tea.
- 0.5-3 teaspoons of cinnamon bark
- Cup of water
- Two teaspoons of honey
- Put 0.5-3 teaspoons of cinnamon bark in a cup of water.
- Steep for five minutes.
- Remove the bark.
- Add two teaspoons of honey.
- Mix well.
- Drink before sleep
For a sore throat, make a gargle with honey
- one tablespoon of lemon juice
- two cups of hot water
- a teaspoon of honey
- Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to two cups of hot water.
- Add a teaspoon of honey.
- Leave the mixture to cool.
Notes: Don’t give honey to children under 12 months. It can cause botulism. For older children, consult with your pediatrician. For better results use raw, organic, and unpasteurized honey.
2. Chicken soup reduces irritation and soothes the throat
I’m sure that you’ve heard that chicken soup is good for you when you’re sick. You might find it hard to believe, but it’s true – chicken soup can help you get on your feet faster. There are several reasons for that:
- It contains an amino acid called cysteine. It thins the mucus in the lungs and speeds the healing process.
- The ingredients in the chicken soup have anti-inflammatory properties
- The body absorbs the mineral and vitamins easier when they are in liquid form
- It soothes the throat.
- It reduces irritating, pain and coughing.
- It keeps you hydrated.
There are many ways to prepare a chicken soup. Here’s the traditional recipe for a chicken soup.
- A chicken cut into pieces ( remove the skin, not the bones)
- Chicken broth either homemade or bought ( eight cups)
- Three garlic cloves, chopped
- Half a cup of chopped onions
- Two celery stalks, sliced
- ½ fresh parsley
- 8 ounces of egg noodles
- Olive oil
- Soup pan, bowl, spoon
- Two tablespoons of fresh thyme
- Put the chicken in the soup pan
- Add the garlic, one teaspoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Let it cook.
- Add the broth when the chicken starts to get brown.
- Wait until it boils.
- Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove the bones.
- Cut the chicken pieces into small chunks.
- Return to simmer.
- Add onions, carrots, celery and thyme.
- Cook unit the vegetables are soft.
- Stir the egg noodles.
- Simmer for five minutes.
- Use a ladle to pour the soup into a bowl.
- Add the fresh parsley.
Notes: Here you can find more interesting chicken soup recipes. Or you can watch this video.
3. Ginger tea has powerful anti-virus properties
Ginger has been used for centuries as a remedy for numerous illnesses. And there are many reasons for that.
In general, ginger has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties that help your body fight infections and diseases. It also boosts your immune system, and it acts as a natural pain reliever. It also helps to ease your cold symptoms thanks to its decongestant and antihistamine properties.
Ginger also contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes. They target the rhinoviruses.
Here’s how to use ginger most effectively.
- boiling water
- boiling water
- a tablespoon of lemon juice
- a tablespoon of honeyProcess:
- Add the grated ginger to a cup of boiling water.
- Steep for three minutes.
- Mix a tablespoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of honey in a cup.
- Strain the ginger tea into the cup.
- Stir well.
- Drink regularly until you start to feel better.
Alternatively, you can use only ginger to make a tea
- 10 grams of ginger
- a cup of water
- Cut the ginger into small pieces.
- Put them in a cup.
- Boil until boiling point is reached.
- Strain the tea into another cup.
- Drink twice a day.
Ginger is not recommended for people who take blood-thinning medication. Ginger has a blood thinning effect and may lead to excessive bleeding. People with diabetes should not consume more than four grams of ginger a day.
Also, pregnant women should consult with their doctor first
4. Milk is good for cold and cough
You might have heard that drinking milk when you have a cold is a bad idea because it would lead to increase mucus production. That’s not true at all. Milk can make the mucus thicker, but your body won’t suddenly start producing more mucus if you drink milk. On the contrary, milk together with turmeric can be very useful for fighting cold and cough.
Here’s one popular milk cough remedy.
- a cup of milk
- half a teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper
- a sauce pan
- Put the milk, turmeric and black pepper in the saucepan.
- Boil on medium heat without covering the pan.
- Wait almost until boiling point.
- Reduce the heat.
- Simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Alternatively, you can use milk, turmeric, and ginger for better results.
- ½ tablespoon of ginger
- ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder
- Mix the milk, the ginger, and the turmeric powder.
- Let it cool to room temperature.
- Drink two times a day.
Notes: Here’s a video you can watch for more details.
5. Garlic boost the immune system
If you want to get rid of your cold quickly, it’s best to use garlic. It has numerous health benefits, including anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It’s also rich in vitamin C, sulfur, selenium and other minerals that help the body fight infections.
It’s best to consume garlic raw for better results. But if you can’t stomach raw garlic, you can try this remedy:
- one crushed garlic clove
- two teaspoons of lemon juice
- one teaspoon of honey
- ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- Mix the crushed garlic clove with the lemon juice, honey, and cayenne pepper.
- Drink daily until you start to feel better
If you consume garlic in large quantities, you might experience bad breath, indigestion, body odor, and mouth irritation. Also, garlic has a blood-thinning effect and might reach with certain medications. Pregnant women should avoid excessive garlic consummation.
Overcooked garlic loses most of its health benefit, so you should have it minced, crushed or raw.
How to prevent a cold?
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for a cold. But here are a few simple rules that can keep the cold away from you:
- Wash your hands with soap and water. During the day you touch numerous things that could have been infected with the virus. Washing your hands for 20 seconds can drastically lower your chances of getting sick. You can also use hand sanitizers.
- Don’t touch your face with unwashed hands.
- Don’t get too near to sick people
If you are already sick, you should take precaution to protect other people
- Don’t go to work or school to avoid spreading the disease
- No kissing, hugging, hand shaking
- Cover your mount and nose when you sneeze or cough
- Wash your hands after blowing your nose or sneezing
- Disinfect objects that you frequently touch
Have you tried any of these home remedies for cold and cough? What’s your way of dealing with a nasty cough and runny nose? Share what you think in the comments. And spare a few seconds to like and share the article with your friends.