A regular cough and cold is a common occurrence for most people the whole year round. Coughing, wheezing and sneezing, a stuffy nose, itchy and watery eyes, a sore throat and achy muscles are all symptoms. Whether it's been brought on by a little over exposure to the elements of winter resulting in cold allergies, the pathogens of another person, or a secondary infection, common colds can be dealt with and will usually go away on their own within several days to a week.
Going for a visit to the doctor each time to have cold might not be the most time efficient or economical. Agreed. However, you can use these tried and true home remedies to prevent your cold and cough from hanging you out to dry.
Drink more water
Keep your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water, soup, or room temperature fruit juice. When your body is topped up with fluids, it is better able to thin down the mucus in your nose and throat and keep it flowing freely. This makes it easier for your body to naturally expel it along with the viral particles contained therein. It is suggested that a person drink at least eight ounces of fluids every two hours to help cure a cold.
Gargle with warm salt water or drink warm liquids
Salt is a natural cleanser, and that along with water can help to clear germs in your throat, moisten it and make it feel better. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and gargle it four times each day. Some natural health care experts suggest gargling an astringent, like tea which contains tannin, because that helps to tighten the membranes.
One tablespoon of raspberry leaves or lemon juice along with two cups of hot water and a bit of honey can be either drunk or gargled each day to have the same effect. Drinking warm liquids helps relieve nasal congestions, soothes a sore throat, prevents dehydration, and calms inflamed membranes in the nose and throat. An old remedy for congestion, is to drink hot toddy just before bed. A natural method for this is to make a cup of hot herbal tea with one or two teaspoons of honey (Honey helps cure inflammation!) and a small shot of whiskey or bourbon. At the same time, though, avoid drinking excessive alcohol while you have a cough and cold as too much alcohol is counter productive and causes more inflammation in the membranes.
Catch up on lost sleep
Take an extra long snooze and give your body time out to heal itself. While it might not be possible to take a day or two away from work, you should certainly try to hit the sack an hour or two early when you've come down with a cold, or any other sickness or infection. While you sleep, your body is able to do the work of repairing itself internally.
Simple to perform, and surprisingly effective, the method of inhaling steam through holding your head over a pot of steamy water helps clear a congested, runny nose. Heat a pot of water and place it on a steady surface, like your dining table or a cleared counter top, to prevent it from accidentally spilling. Hold your head several inches above the hot water so that the steam covers your face. Do not lean into the pot. For an added steamy effect you can use a clean towel over your head and around the pot to contain the steam. This method helps to clear out the nasal passage and a blocked nose. If you're leery of the hot water because of safety reasons, a saline nasal spray, or a room humidifier, can work just as well to ease congestion.
Clear out your nose with a nasal saline rinse
Give your nose a rinse out. While the feeling of saline solution up your nose may be less than comfortable when you already have a cold, it can help to rinse and irrigate your nose, cleansing it of virus particles, bacteria, or allergens.
In case you want to try a completely natural saline solution, you can mix a ¼ teaspoon of salt, with ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, and 8 ounces of warm water. Use a syringe to gently squirt the solution into your nose. Hold one nostril closed with your finger, and squirt the solution into the nostril. Give it a moment to drain and then do the other side.
Be mindful,however, to avoid exposing yourself to potential bacteria and infections. Always be sure that you are not allergic to ingredients contained in either homemade saline or general saline nasal spray. If you want to try making the solution at home, use previously boiled water for the solution. Rinse out the syringe thoroughly and let all the pieces properly dry out after using it.