Theories abound about how to end a cold quickly. After all, nobody likes the annoying runny nose, nagging coughs and energy-draining effects of the common cold. But is there really a way to put a fast stop to the sniffles? Some say chicken soup does the trick, others point to the herb Echinacea and others to Zinc supplements. Sadly, there are no scientific studies that prove any remedy works immediately.
Overall, the best advice is probably just to take it easy. Your body needs to gather strength, so your immune system will have what it takes to fight the virus.
Check out the following health-filled hints to help you cope with your cold and put an end to it as quickly as possible:
AVOID OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS: Sure, they mask the symptoms like congestion, runny nose and sore throat but they wont help you get rid of the virus. When you let your symptoms run their natural course, holistic doctors agree youll not only ultimately end your cold sooner, but also strengthen your immune system.
GET PLENTY OF REST: As much as possible stay in bed. Cancel appointments that are not urgent and dont exercise for a few days. Give your body a chance to heal and you may be able to cut the length of your cold.
EAT A HEALTHY DIET: Increase your consumption of vitamin rich fruits and vegetables and avoid foods that are filled with fat. Hydrate with plenty of water. Warm herbal teas, especially ginger, chamomile and rosehips, are good choices. Try chicken soup. Its one of the best foods for soothing a cold. Eat only when youre hungry. You can skip a meal if youve lost your appetite. No big deal.
BLOW YOUR NOSE FREQUENTLY: Dont sniff the mucus back into your body. Theres a method to blowing: Press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other. Caution: blow gently or you might trigger an earache.
GARGLE ! GARGLE! GARGLE! Do it with a teaspoon of salt dissolved in water at least three times a day, or gargle with honey and warm water, or lemon juice dissolved in hot water then cooled. All will help relieve the soreness in your throat.
HEAD FOR A HOT SHOWER. As warm as you can get it and let the bathroom steam up. This will act as a natural decongestant and help you relax so you can sleep through the night. If youre feeling too weak, or youre afraid youll faint, take a sponge bath; still keep the room steamy.
RELIEVE YOUR SINUSES. You can do this by apply a damp washcloth, either hot or cold, and putting it on your forehead or just above your nose (by the third eye). You can always use a bag of frozen vegetables as an ice pack.
WASH YOUR HANDS A LOT. Cold germs love to hide in your hands its probably how you got the cold in the first place. Rather than re-infect yourself, be a studious hand washer. Each time youre done blowing your nose, wash your hands.
YOU CAN TRY SUPPLEMENTS. Well, theres no hard scientific evidence to prove supplements do anything despite what friends may tell you. But in reasonable dosage, they wont hurt you either. Those touted are vitamin C, zinc, and Echinacea. Even placebos have been known to be very effective in fighting disease. Believe theyll work and they just might.
Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates. She is the author of Ten Days to Detox: How to look and feel a decade younger.
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