We all know the feeling, a sniffly nose, a tingly sore throat and before we know it we’ve got a full-blown cold. A cold is a viral infection that targets the upper respiratory tract usually affecting the nose, sinuses, throat, and larynx the most. Sadly, as of yet, there’s no actual cure for the common cold and instead we are are only able to manage our symptoms and make ourselves feel more comfortable whilst our body fights it off. So whether you’ve got the tell-tale sniffles or are in the middle of waging war with the common cold virus then here are 10 things that could ease your pain.
1. Blow your nose
The phrase ‘better out than in’ definitely rings true when it comes to having a runny nose as sniffing mucus back into your head can cause more harm than good leading to sinus infections. Blow your nose frequently as needed but don’t blow too hard as the pressure can cause earaches or give you a nose bleed. To blow your nose correctly cover one nostril and clear one at a time and always remember to wash your hands and dispose of your tissues hygienically to avoid spreading the virus.
2. Drink hot liquids
Hot liquids such as tea, herbal teas, and honey and lemon, help to relieve nasal congestion and also provide valuable hydration to your body. The steam from hot drinks rises into the nose, soothing sore nasal membranes and can help you to breathe more clearly. Some beverages, such as the old favorite honey and lemon, provide additional nutritional benefits and can help to soothe a sore throat. To make a honey and lemon drink simply add the freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon to a mug with a teaspoon or two of honey and combine with hot water – be careful as this is often too hot to drink straight away.
3. Suck on cold sweets or strepsils
Cold sweets such as popular favorites, strepsils honey and lemon, help to soothe a sore throat by producing saliva and releasing antibacterial agents such as Dichlorobenzyl alcohol and Amylmetacresol. The combination of the sugar in the sweets and the antibacterial agents help to soothe and fight sore throats whilst providing a pleasant taste that is better than the usual metallic taste associated with having a cold. Some cold sweets also contain numbing agents to help numb the sore throat areas.
4. Apply hot or cold packs to your sinuses
Temperature can play a big part in soothing sore sinuses. Some people find that ice packs wrapped in a cloth provide the most relief, whilst others prefer a hot water bottle. Whither you prefer gently apply them to the sinus area to help reduce swelling and make you feel more comfortable. Remember, don’t ever apply a frozen pack or hot water bottle directly to your face and always wrap them in a towel for greater temperature control.
5. Eat soups, stews or broths
When your body is fighting a cold it needs good quality nutrition and extra hydration which makes hearty soups, stews or broths the perfect meal of choice. Aside from often being packed with vegetable nutrients and protein these dishes also give off steam which can help to soothe sore nasal passages. Soups, stews, and broths also usually contain a lot of liquid which will help to combat dehydration – try to make them yourself at home to keep salt levels down and to ensure they are filled with as much goodness as possible.
6. Take paracetamol
Most leading brand cold medications contain a combination of paracetamol, Phenylephrine Hydrochloride and caffeine. The paracetamol acts as pain relief, the Phenylephrine Hydrochloride helps to ease congestion and the caffeine helps to make you feel more alive and awake. Some leading cold medications can be pricey and so to make things cheaper you can purchase own branded paracetamol and simply have a shot of espresso to gain virtually the same effect.
7. Have a hot bath or steamy shower
A hot bath or steamy shower provides moisture to soothe sore nasal passages and could help to ease some of your symptoms. A small study found that adding Epsom salts to a bath helped to raise the body’s magnesium levels, helping to remove lactic acid from the body, which could help with aches and pains. Alternatively, adding essential oils such as lavender or chamomile to your bath is known to be soothing and calming.
8. Use a diffuser for essential oils
Another way to feel the benefits of essential oils is to use a diffuser. Essential oils can be powerful when used correctly and a few drops can have antibacterial effects as well as helping to relieve congestion. Try peppermint, lemon and eucalyptus for a blocked nose, tea tree, lavender, and peppermint to destroy germs and marjoram, rosemary, lavender and thyme for a headache. Not only do the oils themselves have benefits the steam the diffuser produces can help to soothe your respiratory system too.
Because the common cold is so common people tend to try and continue going about their daily lives by going to work, going to the gym or generally being out and about, but this can put the body under extra stress increasing their recovery time. To help the body fight the virus and also stop you from spreading it, try to stay at home and rest by sleeping more or doing restful activities. Don’t undertake any strenuous activities or try to exercise too hard as you will only find it hard to breathe.
10. Gargle saltwater
Alongside lozenges, hot drinks and medication, gargling salt water is another common remedy to help temporarily relieve the symptoms of a sore throat. Try dissolving ½ a teaspoon of salt in 8oz of water and then holding and swilling this in the back of the mouth. This remedy has been used for years to kill mouth bacteria and ease pain but should be used with caution in young children as they may not be able to gargle properly.
How do you deal with the common cold? Let me know in the comments below!