Whether it’s freshers flu, your ‘annual cold’ or you’ve been in close proximity with people sneezing, millions of people get colds once autumn comes. And when you’ve got one, you want to get rid of it. In this article, we’ll discuss seven ideas so you’ll know how to get rid of a cold – fast!
Nobody really knows why we tend to get more colds in autumn and winter, but some theories include:
- We don’t live in tune with the rhythms of nature, so instead of resting more, we just put on electric lighting and force ourselves to work as hard as we do throughout the summer.
- A reduction in sunlight exposure, which means lowered vitamin D levels, depresses the immune system function
- There are more of us in close proximity indoors, coughing and sneezing over one another!
- Here’s an interesting idea about the humidity and dryness of air and how it effects colds and ‘flu.
Whatever the reason, having a cold can be miserable. A runny nose, constant sneezing and the feeling you’ve swallowed a cheese grater can all lead to a pretty miserable time and with no ‘cure’ for the common cold, you might be looking for alternative remedies. Here are a round up of some ways to ease the common cold that are fast, safe and effective:
Boost your immune system
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘prevention rather than cure’ and it’s especially true when it comes to our health. So start planning a healthy autumn in late summer if you can. Start topping up on vitamins and minerals (vitamin D if you’re unlikely to get sun exposure every day throughout the winter and vitamin C to boost the immune system).
Try these supplements
So the vitamin D and C aren’t quite working, or you’ve found this article too late and you’ve developed a full blown cold. Don’t despair! There are a couple of supplements worth considering n- zinc and echnicea:
There is some evidence to suggest that taking zinc supplements within a day of the symptoms starting will speed up recovery from a cold and reduce the severity of symptoms. One review suggests that taking echinacea may lower your risk of developing the common cold by more than 50 percent. It may also reduce the length of a cold. If you’re a healthy adult, consider taking 1 to 2 grams of echinacea root or herb as a tea, three times daily, for no longer than one week.
Water is one of nature’s finest medicines! Required for many body functions, water will also help flush toxins from your system. And remember, if you’re sweating or have a very runny nose, you’ll need even more water to replace lost fluids! If you don’t like plain water, try making a ‘herbal tea’: add a couple of slices of lemon to a mug, grate in some fresh ginger, pour boiling water over and leave to steep for 10 minutes before straining. You can add a teaspoon of honey too, to soothe a sore throat.
Wash your hands
The cold virus can land on towels, door handles, the toilet handle, light switches etc. So if you touch these surfaces, then touch your nose or eyes with your fingers, you could become infected. The NHS state that washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap is one of the best ways to prevent the common cold spreading. This is especially important if you’re a parent who wipes their child’s nose. Here’s how to wash your hands properly:
You are what you eat
It’s really important when you have a cold to eat light, nutritious food. Fresh fruits and vegetables are ideal (every wondered why we take a bunch of grapes to a sick person?!) and warming soups, such as the time-tested chicken soup, are simple to prepare and easy to digest.
Adding garlic to foods can help too, so make sure you put some in your chicken soup! One study conducted by the University of Florida found that taking aged garlic reduced the severity of cold and flu symptoms and that these symptoms also went away quicker. Their overall conclusion from this was that garlic boosted participant’s immune cell function. Another study conducted in Mexico, found that garlic reduced the frequency of colds in adults but not necessarily the duration.
Pass the salt
If you have a sore throat, regularly gargling with a mouthwash of warm, salty water may help reduce swelling or pain. Take 1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water and gargle it all once or twice a day.
Essentials oils such as eucalyptus (a key ingredient in Vicks VapoRub) is a powerful decongestant that relieves nasal congestion and catarrh. You can dilute two drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a tablespoon of cooking oil or milk and pour into a warm bath or foot bath. Relax for 20 minutes, inhaling deeply.