Few things can be as uncomfortable as the common cold. In their book ‘Common Cold,’ authors Olaf Weber and Ronald Eccles say the common cold has been around since the ancient times. More than 200 virus strains can contribute to colds, but the rhinovirus is the most common. Colds produce a bevy of symptoms, including runny nose, congestion and sore throat, so it should come as no surprise that sufferers want to find relief fast.
Colds typically last for a week or more. While there’s no cure for the common cold, according to The Mayo Clinic, there are some remedies that can help cold sufferers feel better more quickly.
• Rest: One of the best things to do when you have a cold is to get adequate rest. Your body’s immune system is working overtime to combat the cold virus, and restricting activity can help it direct efforts where they’re needed most. Keep away from strenuous activities, and spend more time relaxing or sleeping to let your body do its job.
• Hydration: Consuming plenty of clear fluids can reduce congestion and ensure that you do not get dehydrated. Plus, warm beverages can be soothing to an irritated throat. Avoid coffee, caffeinated sodas and alcohol, which can exacerbate dehydration.
• Saline rinses: Intra-nasal saline sprays, neti pots and similar products can help loosen mucus that is clogging the nose and sinus cavities, allowing it to flow out. This makes blowing your nose more effective and may help prevent post-nasal drip. Avoid prolonged use of medicated decongestant sprays. They may work well, but they can cause rebound congestion that’s worse than the original stuffiness.
• Vitamin C: Vitamin C will not prevent colds, but it could help in other ways. Taking vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration of symptoms. Vitamin C also may provide benefits for people at high risk of colds due to frequent exposure, offers The Mayo Clinic.
• Soup and tea: Soup is an easy-to-digest meal that provides many of the necessary remedies for a cold, including warm broth to hydrate and soothe, antioxidant rich vegetables and protein to help fuel the body’s recovery process. In 2000, Dr. Stephen Rennard of the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha actually tested if chicken soup clinically makes people with colds feel better. He found that chicken soup inhibited neutrophils, immune cells that cause congestion. Decaffeinated tea also may help you stay hydrated and relieve many cold symptoms.
• Reinfection: Use cleaning products that are effective at killing viruses around the house to prevent reinfection and cold relapses. Also, avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth between hand-washings to keep germs at bay.
Colds can be a nuisance. Most medicines will help relieve symptoms but cannot make colds go away faster. Natural remedies can help the body’s immune system work at its best and lessen the severity of a cold.