This is the second part of my list of home remedies against a common cold (part 1 is here).
As I said previously, use common sense when turning to home remedies. Don’t try to medicate yourself if you’re feeling very sick. Please seek medical advice in any case beyond light symptoms and for children. Do not solely rely on home remedies to cure yourself of a serious infection.
With this warning in mind I collected a few home remedies to do. These are all tips which might be well known but sometimes are forgotten when it comes to treating a cold.
In general though the rule applies: a cold takes seven days with medication and a week without it. The ideas I collected here are some to make that week more comfortable.
Eat whole foods
Contrary to a general believe, vitamin C does not cure a common cold. That means that taking vitamin C supplements won’t do much. There are some medical studies which suggest taking vitamin C preventively might decrease the likelihood of a cold. However, once the cold-virus has struck, vitamin C contributes little to recovery.
But the story doesn’t end here though. Zinc, an essential mineral for our health in general, also plays an important role in treating a common cold. In conjunction with vitamin C some studies have shown that zinc can contribute to a shortened recovery time from a cold.
This focus on vitamin C and zinc as a home remedy essentially means to turn to whole foods. Zinc can be found in beans, nuts, whole grains, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, blackcurrant, and animal-based foods. Vitamin C is found in fresh fruit and veggies, particularly citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and the list goes on. The important part is to get fresh produce and to cook it as little as possible to keep the nutrients intact. And then, any immune system is ‘ready for action’.
Warmth and rest
If I don’t have a temperature I like to take a hot bath to tackle my cold symptoms. A hot shower can also help. Anything to warm up and get ‘the juices flowing’ helps the immune system to tackle any virus. The key to a hot bath or shower is the quick transition into a warm bed. And then … sleep.
The idea of a hot bath is to help the body fight any invaders, much like a fever would. Sleeping (or resting) are crucial in this step as well because a body fighting a cold needs to rest.
Bathing however should be absolutely avoided when you have a fever. The hot water will raise the body’s temperature. If the temperature is already elevated a hot bath or shower can cause more harm than good.
But warmth is not limited to hot water. I also find a warm wrap (scarf or similar) around my neck comforting as well as warm socks, a warm and comfy sweater and pants. Sometimes a hat can also help. Anything that helps me to snuggle into my pillows and let the world pass by.
Fresh air sometimes seems like the last thing on my mind when I’m in bed feeling miserable. However, air exchange or even a trip outside can do wonders for my immune system. There is nothing worse than sitting in a stuffy room without sunlight. When I feel sick I bundle up warm and open the window. If I have the energy I go for a walk.
Going for a walk outside is only an indirect treatment of any cold. The idea is to brighten the mood, get a change of scenery, and generally feel better about myself. Physical exercise helps to release endorphins which make us feel better. Therefore, if the timing is right (i.e. the weather is good and I feel strong enough), I move outside.
Drink, drink, drink
Needless to say that in times of recovery you need to drink. No, I don’t mean alcohol or coffee. I mean plain old water, soups and tea. Drinking is particularly important when a cold comes with a higher body temperature and/or sweating. It’s vital to keep your body hydrated, especially when dealing with a virus.
Finally, allow me to add that I know a cold is never nice to have. Please keep in mind though that it won’t be easier if shared. So, remember to exercise hygiene and social abstinence when dealing with a cold.