The weather is changing from winter to spring, but there are still some people coughing, sneezing and blowing their noses. While a cold and a flu are anatomically different, the symptoms are extremely similar. Really and truly, your body sends out white blood cells to attack and get rid of the cold-causing virus, so the remedies we’re about to suggest are to help you deal with the pesky symptoms that make you miserable.
Good choices: water, juice, clear broth, warm lemon water with honey
Liquids to avoid: alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas.
Your body needs time to heal. Skip the all-nighters and try to get a full 8-10 hours of sleep.
Gargle with salt water
A sore throat is one of the most common symptoms of a cold. Gargling with salt water can help relieve some of the discomfort. Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water and gargle with it for about 30 seconds.
Keep your nose clear
Over-the-counter saline nasal drops and sprays can help keep your nose clear. You can also use a bulb syringe or Neti pot to clear congestion, especially in younger patients. Mix ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp baking soda in 8 oz. boiled/ filtered/ distilled warm water then fill a bulb syringe or Neti pot with it. Squirt the mixture into one nostril while plugging the other. Let it drain and repeat before rinsing the other nostril.
Anything warm such as chicken soup, tea or warm apple juice, might be soothing and might ease congestion by increasing mucus flow.
Making the air around you moist can help loosen congestion. You can use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier to add moisture to your home however remember to change the water daily, and clean the unit as specified by the manufacturer.
Soothe your sore throat
Gargling with warm salt water is a popular way to soothe a sore throat, but you can also try ice chips, sore throat sprays, lozenges or hard candy. We don’t suggest you give lozenges or hard candy to children younger than 6 years as they might choke on them.
When all else fails, or you need to function whilst you heal, OTC cold medicines can provide relief for most of your symptoms in one bottle/ tablet. Keep in mind that OTC decongestants, antihistamines and pain relievers won’t actually shorten or get rid of your cold (your body has to do that), but they will make your symptoms bearable until your body gets rid of the cold.
What to avoid:
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream) – these will increase mucus production.
- Processed foods/ junk food – While many refer to them as “comfort food” eating these types of things during a cold will leave you feeling far from comfortable. Avoid anything with more than 5 ingredients, especially those you can’t pronounce.
- Alcohol – it goes without saying but we’ll say it anyways. ALcohol slows down your immune response, so hold off on the wine and whiskey until you’re better.
- Sugary foods and sweets – anything with excessive refined sugar can cause inflammation
- Fatty foods – skip the cheeseburger and fries and opt for something healthier.
- Cigarettes – your lungs will use up a large amount of your body’s vitamin c, which you need for your recovery.
If you or a loved one are suffering through wintertime sickness, come down to our store to get everything you need to get through it, from OTCs to neti pots and air humidifiers. Or if you just need sound advice from your local pharmacist, you can get that at our store too. Just keep in mind that if your cold lasts longer than 3 weeks, you should see a doctor.