Are you sick of being sick? Tired of feeling under the weather? With winter in full swing, it’s no wonder that people are dropping like flies with cold and flu symptoms. Being ill is never fun, especially when there’s no magic cure. In fact, the best way to beat a cold is by taking care of yourself first. Try some of our natural tips for getting over a cold.
Our Top Tips For Beating a Cold, Naturally
✔ Wash hands regularly and sneeze or cough into tissues – then throw them straight in the bin
We all know that sneezing and coughing spread germs, but it can be difficult to practice germ control when you’re feeling under the weather. When you feel a tickle in your throat, go ahead and make it easy to keep your cold to yourself with these tips:
Buy tissues you want to use. Tissues with Vitamin E, Aloe, or lotion are softer on your delicate nasal skin and help prevent a raw, red nose. If you prefer avoiding disposable tissues, try soft cotton or microfiber cloths instead. Just make sure to wash them in hot water with a good detergent afterward.
Keep a bin close by. When you’re feeling poorly, the last thing you want to do is get up to throw things away. With a bin at hand, you won’t be tempted to shove your used tissues into a pocket or pile them up on a table.
Teach your little ones to cough and sneeze into the bend of the elbow instead of hands. While you look a bit like Dracula doing it, this method is much better at avoiding the spread of germs than sneezing into your hands.
Take every opportunity to wash your hands. Use hot water and plenty of soap, and don’t forget to wash in between your fingers and up over the wrist bone. Lathering up should take at least twenty seconds or about two go’s of “Happy Birthday.” Afterward, dry thoroughly with a clean towel. If you’re at home, consider drying your hands with a separate towel than the rest of the household.
Disinfect everything you touch. Keep a roll of disinfecting wipes handy and wipe down things like door handles, sink taps, and toilet buttons. Items like cell phones, tablets, and keys are also major germ-strongholds. Make sure to wipe down their surfaces with a slightly damp rag moistened with an isopropyl alcohol solution.
Staying hydrated when you’re feeling crook is critical. Whether you’re running a fever or just battling a persistent snuffly nose, water plays an important role in supporting your immune system. Did you know? Water helps to thin down your mucus, which helps prevent clogged sinuses and makes it easier to cough up.
Keep a water bottle filled and at hand so it’s easy to stay hydrated. A bottle with a narrow nozzle makes it easy to drink from, even when you’re lying in bed. Just make sure to choose one that’s dishwasher safe or easy to clean out, as you’ll want to thoroughly wash and dry it every day.
✔ Drink herbal tea and clear soup to stay well hydrated and to lubricate a dry, scratchy throat
Tired of drinking plain water? Hot beverages like herbal tea and clear soups help you stay hydrated. The hot liquid also helps to soothe and lubricate a dry, scratchy throat. Try homeopathic cold remedies like herbal teas formulated for sore throats and colds.
Broth-based soups double as a great way to eat up even when your appetite is down. Try strongly flavoured soups like meat broths or Asian soups to tantalise the taste buds even when your senses are dulled. A small dollop of hot sauce can also temporarily relieve sinus symptoms because the spicy chemicals irritate your mucous membranes and loosen up any congestion you’re experiencing.
If you’re too ill to pop out to the shops, try doctoring up your own natural medicine for cough and cold symptoms. Adding lemon and honey, or cinnamon and honey to hot water is a time-honoured remedy that helps soothe your throat. Both honey and cinnamon are amazing antibacterials, and these common kitchen ingredients can help you feel better sooner.
✔ A steam vaporiser can help to keep air warm and increase moisture in the air, which may help to relieve coughing, especially at night
Dry and cold winter weather is hard for your body to deal with. When you breathe in that dry air, the air pulls moisture out of your lungs. When you breathe out again, your body loses some water. Over time, and especially when you’re coughing and sneezing, that can be a big irritant.
Try using a steam vaporiser to humidify your bedroom when you have a cold. It's the perfect home treatment for cough and cold symptoms. Not only does it help keep your chilly winter bedroom warm, the humidifier adds much-needed moisture back into your environment. All that moisture in the air may help relieve coughing and congested lungs, and can help you sleep better at night.
✔ Try a steam inhalation with a few drops of eucalyptus or tea tree oil added to help thin mucus and relieve nasal congestion
Have you ever taken a hot shower when your nose was plugged up only to have it all loosen? It’s one of the best feelings in the world. Instead of taking several showers a day, though, try steam inhalation.
Boil water and get ready. Be sure to keep the hot dish or pan on a sturdy, heat-safe surface like a countertop so you don’t hurt yourself or the furniture. Lean over the pan with a towel over your head to trap the steam, and stay that way for a couple minutes. You should start to feel your congestions loosen up, making it easier to clear.
For added benefit, try adding a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus or tea tree to your hot water. The resulting fragrant steam may help thin the mucus even further. You’ll finish clear-headed and with soft skin to boot.
✔ Avoid smoking and other people’s smoke
With all the chaos going on in your body as it fights off an infection, the last thing it needs is a dose of smoke. People suffering from illnesses of all types are especially vulnerable to irritating smoke, which is why you should not smoke and definitely avoid other people’s smoke. Even more mundane sources of smoke like a fire in the fireplace should be avoided to keep environmental irritants minimised.
For people who are nicotine addicted, a patch or some nicotine gum might be a good idea while you’re recuperating.
✔ Rest while the immune system fights the cold virus
The number two thing your body needs while you’re fighting an infection (after water) is rest, rest, rest. Instead of batting down the hatches and trying to carry on when you feel a cold coming on, take a day off and stay in bed. Rest allows your body to shut down and your immune system to fight with extra resources, which can help you recover faster and avoid the worst of symptoms.
Make your bed a sickbay sanctuary by bringing in everything you’ll need to snuggle down. Entertainment like movies or books is a great to keep the mind busy when you can’t sleep but still want to rest. Keep that bin and tissues handy, too, along with a pitcher of water and your water bottle or cup. Turn your vaporiser on to bring moisture back into the air, and let your body take care of you.
If you still have to soldier on through your day, make sure to take every opportunity to support yourself through it. Avoid stressing yourself out about the things you’re unable to do because you’re ill, and try to take it easy. Over the counter remedies can aid in helping you get through the day.
Remember: most times, feeling poorly isn’t an emergency and you’ll be feeling tip-top in no time. But if you have a sustained fever or unusual symptoms, it’s never a bad idea to talk to your doctor.
So there you have it. Brauer’s top tips for beating the common cold. Do you have any great tips for feeling better even when you’re sick? Share your thoughts with us on social media by sharing this article and including your own remedies.
And, before we forget, feel better!