Cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract that primarily affects the nose and is caused by a variety of viruses. In this blog, we have discussed some of the common causes, home remedies for cold and ways how to prevent from further spreading.
What are the symptoms of a Cold?
Symptoms of a cold may include –
- sore throat
- nasal congestion/runny nose
How does a Cold spread?
- Airborne respiratory droplets (coughing/sneezing)
- Saliva (sharing drinks/kissing)
- Skin to skin contact (hugging or shaking hands)
- Touching contaminated surfaces (doorknobs/blankets)
- Sharing belongings (handkerchief/towel)
Home Remedies for Cold
Cold is an infection caused by viruses and takes its time to heal. In this article, we have discussed some Home Remedies that will help ease and soothe the symptoms.
Gargling with salt mixed in hot water relieves the sore throat (the first symptom of a cold). It also reduces and loosens the mucus which contains bacteria and allergens. Other than salts you can also add honey and lemon juice to warm water and use it for gargling.
2. Drink water
Drink plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated. It also helps to thin the mucus. Of all the liquids, water is the best. Drinking warm water eases the sore throat as well as keeps you warm.
Hydrotherapy is a form of water treatment that is most effective in the Upper Respiratory conditions such as Cold. One of the most common uses of hydrotherapy for cold sufferers is Wet Cloth treatment. This treatment can easily be done at home as it requires a pair of thin cotton cloth. The cotton cloth is soaked in cold water, wrung out and then placed on the forehead and feet overnight.
To reduce the night coughs honey is the best medicine at bedtime. Keep in mind it should not be given to children under 1 year of age.
5. Teas & Soups
Green tea, tea with lemon and honey and other hot drinks help break the congestion as well as soothe the sore throat. Hot & spicy soups promote nasal drainage & ease breathing. Chicken soup slows the movement of neutrophils (a type of WBC) in the body thus concentrating it in areas where healing is most required.
It contains the compound allicin, which has antimicrobial properties & might reduce the severity of a cold.
Ginger tea or pieces of ginger in boiled water soothe the sore throat & relieves headache when suffering from cold.
These are friendly bacteria that reduce the chances of upper respiratory tract infections. They are also beneficial for a strong immune system.
9. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol intake may contribute to dehydration thus it should be avoided.
Steam soothes the nasal as well as the throat tissues improving inhalation. Thus taking boiling water in a pot & bowing over it with a towel on the head while inhaling steam is helpful. To make it more effective you can add a few drops of Eucalyptus (an essential oil) or some Vicks VapoRub.
11. Blow Nose
Clearing your nasal passages from time to time is important during a cold. In case the mucus gets sniffed back it may reach your ears & lead to an earache.
12. Saline drops
They encourage the drainage of mucus & help clear the nasal cavities. It is helpful for children as they have a problem with blowing their nose.
13. Vitamin C
Though it may not clear up the cold symptoms entirely, it can reduce the duration & severity of a common cold. Most importantly it is required for a strong immune system.
Applying VapoRub before bed helps open air passages to fight congestion, reduce coughing, and improve sleep. One can also add VapoRub to boiling water and inhale.
15. Use Humidifier
Increased humidity reduces nasal inflammation and eases breathing. It also checks Influenza which more likely spreads in a dry environment.
16. Massage your Nose
Massaging the acupuncture point located near the lower border of the nostril can provide relief from nasal congestion.
How to prevent a cold?
Prevention is always better than cure. Though you cannot always prevent a cold but precautions will help:
- Washing hands: It is important to wash hands frequently using soap & water as the viruses holding to the hands might cause infection & lead to a cold. In case soap & water is not available, opt hand sanitizers.
- Building immunity: Strong immune system helps you fight against all germs & keeps you fit. Proper sleep, exercise as well as a balanced diet helps you build up a strong immune system. Certain supplements & herbs too, help build strong immunity.
- Avoid contact: Stay away from an infected person as well as maintain distance if you are a victim. Avoid sharing personal belongings such as towels, handkerchiefs, etc.
- Don’t touch your Eyes or Nose: To avoid spreading germs, keep your fingers away from your eyes/nose.
- Try Zinc lozenges: Zinc lozenges might not prevent you from getting a cold but reduce its severity as well as the duration.
When to consult a doctor?
Consult a doctor if congestion continues for more than 10 days or accompanied by any such sign.
- Yellow or green nasal discharge
- Fever over 100 degrees
- Trouble breathing or chest pain
- Cough lasting more than 3 weeks
- Coughing up blood
- Short of breath & wheezing
- Severe sinus pain
- Difficulty in swallowing food