What Are The Best And Worst Cold Remedies?
Achoo! Everyone gets a cold from time to time. Studies suggest that most people get 2 or 3 of them every year. If each cold lasts about a week, that’s a lot of time spent sick! Depending on how bad your cold is, you may need to call off of work and stop your normal daily activities. That can be a huge inconvenience and a large chunk of lost income. On top of that, there is a lot of suffering involved, from congestion, coughing, and nose blowing to fatigue, headaches, and sore throats.
There are a lot of ways that you can feel better as you are recovering from your cold. And you may be able to avoid a lot of lost time by picking the right remedies. Some treatments can actually make you heal faster, and not just cover up your symptoms, which is an ideal situation. Some remedies don’t work at all, and some can be downright harmful. Keep reading to find out which are likely to be best for you.
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Colds are caused by a type of virus. Antibiotics are useful against infections that are caused by bacteria, and not viruses. This means that antibiotics will not help you get over your cold faster, and are not appropriate to give to someone with a cold unless there is an underlying bacterial condition. The kind of situation where antibiotics would help occurs only in those who are severely ill and who have other immune complications. While you may want to grasp at anything to feel better as fast as possible, antibiotics are not going to help in this case.
This one is a clear winner! Gargling warm salt water is soothing and helps to break up the mucus that can stick to the back of the throat. Salt even helps to heal irritated tissues in the throat faster, so you can feel better while healing more quickly. Many people avoid this treatment because they think it will sting or be painful. Contrary to this myth, there is no stinging or pain, and it helps almost immediately. One word of caution though is to make sure not to swallow this liquid, simply spit it out into the sink. You may also want to rinse with mouthwash, to have a fresh taste in your mouth.
This remedy is tricky, and it depends on the soup. Drinking warm liquids, such as soup, hot tea, or even mulled cider can help your throat feel much better, and can help to keep you hydrated. You need extra liquids while you're sick anyway. When it comes to soups for getting better from your cold faster, aim for traditional, nutrient-dense recipes. Start with a rich broth made from leftover meat or chicken bones (which is becoming easier to find in stores), and add vegetables like carrots, celery, chopped kale, onions, and other fresh ingredients. These nutrient-packed soups help you to get the vitamins and minerals your body needs to get healthy.
Modern science has provided us with drugs that can help mask the symptoms of colds while we heal. Drugs such as decongestants, cough suppressants, and pain relievers can help us to pretend that we aren't sick so that we can go about most of our normal, daily activities. They don't actually help us to heal faster, but they can make colds less of an inconvenience and remove much of the suffering that we would otherwise have to endure. Make sure to read the labels carefully to get the ones that are right for you. Some of these are specially designed to help you sleep, or to avoid sleepiness so that you may need specific ones for different times of the day.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for good health and long life. It's best to get your vitamins and minerals from fresh, whole food sources, and those who eat a varied diet with a lot of fresh foods tend to report getting sick less often. Because of this, many people who do get sick gravitate towards vitamin and mineral supplements. While there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that these supplements can help your cold to move along faster, they may or may not be as effective as a healthy diet. Fresh air and sunshine are certainly beneficial, though this isn't always possible depending on the weather.
The oldest remedies remain the best ones. The strongest recommendation is to drink plenty of liquids, avoid overeating, and get lots of rest. While you may have many responsibilities and plans, it's best to put as much of this on hold as you can so your body has time to heal. The less you have to tackle in your day; the more energy can be used for fighting the cold virus and getting you back to being healthy.
Getting a cold is inconvenient, but you don't have to suffer from the symptoms as much as you might think. While it may be a few days to a week of low energy, coughing, and blowing your nose, some remedies can help you to heal faster. Not every remedy is going to be right for everyone, so choose which ones work best for you.