Home Remedies for Coughs and Colds

Coughs and colds are common at this time of year. If you are unlucky enough to come down with a bug, the week or two it can take to heal may be very uncomfortable and unproductive

There is currently no cure for the common cold—you just have to ride out the symptoms. However, there are steps you can take to ease the pain and reduce the amount of time spent suffering. A home remedy is great as you can concoct it without leaving the house and spending a lot of money.

While many are familiar with the instruction to ‘drink plenty of fluids’ when ill, not everyone may understand why it is important. Firstly—and perhaps most obviously—your body loses a lot of water when ill. Mucus production saps your hydration, and you may sweat more while sick. Adding dehydration to the list of problems certainly isn’t going to help, so make sure you top up with plenty of water. Liquids will help wash away any mucus buildup in the throat and additional hydration may thin down snot, making it easier to deal with. You don’t even have to leave the house to access this home remedy.

There are a lot of things you can do to gain additional benefits from the liquids you’re drinking—you don’t just have to consume litres of boring tap water. Heat up your drinks to help clear the sinuses. Having a hot shower will help in the same way, as mucus clogging up your nose and throat will soften and clear far easily.

Lemon is a traditional home remedy known to provide relief for sufferers of a cold. It can soothe the throat and provide flavour to hot water. Try combining lemon with honey—not only do the flavours go well together, but honey also has additional soothing benefits. Studies have shown that honey before bed can help reduce nighttime coughing.

Ginger root can be added to water or broth soups to aid decongestion. The ingredient is known for its medicinal properties and is often used to treat nausea and inflammation. Add it to chicken soups to help clear the sinuses and provide relief. Making your soup a little spicier with the addition of chilli powder has also been said to help with symptoms of the cold.

If you are having trouble with a sore throat, a great home remedy is the saltwater gargle. Add a heaped teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and gargle for 30 seconds. The salt will help draw out water from the throat tissues and therefore reduce swelling. Salt is also a great antibacterial; while colds aren’t caused by bacteria, salt can help prevent any secondary bacterial infections.

Many people are under the impression that vitamin C can prevent the common cold, but unfortunately this is not true. It can, however, help reduce the frequency and duration of the colds you contract. There is conflicting evidence of the effectiveness of vitamin C, but it can’t hurt to make sure you get your recommended daily amount. Vitamin C can be found in fruit such as oranges and lemon, peppers and tomatoes and in vitamin C supplements.

Read more: Cold And Flu—How To Keep Winter Viruses At Bay

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