Colds are among the most common ailments we all get as soon as the weather changes. However, people often confuse it with influenza flu because the flu and cold symptoms are quite similar. Colds and influenza (flu) are contagious respiratory diseases, but different viruses are responsible for them. Only influenza viruses cause the flu, while the common cold can be caused by a number of viruses, including rhinoviruses, parainfluenza, and seasonal Coronaviruses.
It is important not to confuse seasonal coronaviruses with SARS-COV-2, which causes COVID-19. Because flu and the common cold have similar symptoms, it can be hard to distinguish them based solely on the symptoms. However, the flu symptoms are typically more intense and less gradual than those of the common cold. Therefore, you can easily manage a common cold through remedies.
Many cold remedies are available, but do they work? Do they really work? Yes and No. Experts say that there is no cure for a cold. However, you can manage your cold with a bunch of remedies, that may alleviate your symptoms and make you feel better. Here are a few of the most commonly used cold remedies and what we know about them.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
Easy Home Remedies to Treat a Cold Faster
There’s no cure for the common cold yet, but you can shorten the time you spend being sick, by trying out some effective home remedies and taking good care of yourself. When you catch a cold, it usually lasts from 3 to 7 days or two weeks at most. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. Besides doing some useful activities to ward off boredom, you should also focus on the following home remedies to get rid of a cold.
Gargling with Salt Water
When it comes to treating sore throats, gargling with lukewarm salt water is the most effective and proven remedy. Studies show that gargling effectively relieves the pain of a sore throat. Warm water with 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in it, can temporarily ease a sore or scratchy throat.
Children under the age of 6 years may not be able to gargle properly. If your child is unable to gargle, you can give him a warm drink to sip, sore throat sprays, or ice chips. Lozenges and hard candy should be given to children with caution since there is a high risk of choking up on a candy, particularly while lying down.
Steamy showers can help you relax and moisturize your nasal passages. Dizzy from the flu? Take in the steam from a steamy shower as you sit in a chair near it and take a sponge bath. Trust us, this little trick will make you feel better in no time.
Staying hydrated is essential when recovering from a cold. When you’ve got a cold, your air passages get dried up due to excessive sneezing and coughing. These dry air pipes produce more mucous that can cause irritation. But when you intake plenty of fluids, you replenish your body’s hydration level.
Moreover, drinking fluids such as warm lemon water or juice with honey soothes your inflamed throat and prevents dehydration. Since dehydration makes you weak when you are down with a cold, it is better to keep it under check as well. Although coffee has many health benefits but dehydration can be exacerbated by coffee, alcohol and caffeinated sodas.
Get Some Rest
Your body needs time to recover. As a result, sleeping too little may weaken your immune system, making your body more susceptible to infection and hindering your fast recovery. So, try to sleep eight to nine hours per night.
When it comes to an infant down with a common cold, nasal sprays and drops containing saline can come quite handy, since they can relieve congestion and stuffiness. Experts recommend pouring 2 to 4 drops of saline into the infant’s nose, then gently suctioning the nose with a bulb syringe. In order to do this, squeeze the bulb, insert the syringe tip into the nostril, and slowly release it. However, make sure not to use any syringe with a needle attached to its end. Older children may benefit from saline nasal sprays, too.
Honey can be Highly Effective
Like elderberries, people find honey to be quite effective in cold & flu. In fact, one of the oldest homemade remedies to get rid of a cold includes using honey for relief. A simple remedy to help your child sleep better, if he or she is having trouble beating a cold, is honey.
A study from 2013 found that kids could sleep better and cough less at night by taking a spoonful of honey at bedtime. Additionally, it soothes throat soreness.
There is no doubt that the best method of getting rid of a cold is by improving your diet. If you consume a healthy, nutritious and hearty diet, you won’t only prevent the cold but also several other diseases.
Drink Warm Liquids
Warm liquids, such as soup, tea, or flavoured warm drinks are commonly used in many cultures to relieve colds and to increase mucus flow.
Make Sure the Air is Moist; Use Humidifier
Add moisture to your home with a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier to hydrate the dried-out, thus irritated, sinus membranes. Make sure you change the water daily and clean your unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Supplements: Do they Really Work?
Neither medication nor home remedies will cure a common cold. The condition will resolve by itself without medical attention. Nonetheless, some weak evidence suggests that certain supplements may speed up recovery or prevent colds from occurring as often.
We are well aware of how much emotional turbulence a cold can cause; therefore, getting rid of it immediately is a must. So some of the ways you can achieve it are mentioned below.
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According to a study in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, Echinacea may reduce the length of a cold by 1.4 days.
Make Use of Saline Drops
During a cold, mucus in your sinuses and nasal passages can become thick or dried out, resulting in congestion. You feel stuffed up and are unable to blow your nose because of this. Washing your nasal passages with a saline solution can assist you in thinning out and moistening mucus, making it easier to remove.
Vitamin C intake
It’s unlikely that you can prevent a cold by taking vitamin C supplements. However, research suggests that it may shorten the duration of colds. According to a study reviewed in 2013, regular supplementation (1 to 2 grams daily) resulted in a decrease in the duration of colds by 8 percent in adults and 14 percent in children. Overall, cold severity was also reduced.
The ideal daily dose of vitamin C for men is 90 milligrams, and for women, it is 75 milligrams. However, taking high doses (2000 mg) for any length of time can cause some side effects, so it is best to avoid this.
People whose vitamin D levels are low may benefit from supplementation to prevent colds. The supplement is not significantly beneficial to people who receive enough vitamin D already.
In terms of zinc and colds, there is conflicting evidence. There was no significant difference in the cold recovery rates between people taking zinc lozenges versus those who did not, according to a randomized controlled trial published in 2019. However, zinc is known to have a significant effect on improving overall immunity and the defense system of the body and in this indirect manner, it may help you fight infections better.
Many cultures around the world use black elderberries as a remedy for colds. The effectiveness of elderberry syrup has been proven in studies, despite limited research. A study found that elderberry syrup reduced cold durations in people with flu-like symptoms by an average of four days.
Those who took elderberry supplements had significant reductions in the duration and severity of colds compared with a placebo-controlled, double-blind study of 312 airline travelers conducted in 2016.
You should only give acetaminophen to children younger than six months. Children over six months of age should take either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Your child’s doctor can tell you the correct dosage for their age and weight. Adults can take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc.).
If you are giving aspirin to a child or teenager, first consult with the doctor about it. In spite of the fact that aspirin is approved for children and teenagers over three, children who are sick with the flu or chickenpox should not take aspirin. This is because aspirin has been associated with Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition among such children.
A Final Word!
In all, we hope that the above-mentioned remedies will be sufficient enough to provide you with timely relief in case of a cold. The aim is to provide you with home-based treatment methods and tips to ease your cold symptoms as much as possible. Hopefully, after following these tips you’ll be able to ease your symptoms and return to your regular activities soon.
However, we do recommend that you should consult a medical expert if your condition gets severe, as these days, common cold symptoms can mask Covid symptoms. Therefore, it’s always better to be extra cautious.
On this note, we wish you a fast recovery in case of a cold!