How to cure a cold
The common cold attacks pretty much all of us at some point, and this page is all about simple remedies that should make you feel better and recover.
Getting over a cold is all about helping your body build antibodies that defeat the cold virus (each cold virus is different as the blighters keep mutating, so the antibodies you already have are for the previous versions of the virus).
The first symptoms of a cold are a scratchy, sore feeling in the nose and throat. You then get a runny or blocked nose and start to feel tired and unwell. Sometimes the infection travels to the throat and you get coughs and catargh as well as sneezing and mucus production. Occasionally you might get a fever, but this is more a symptom of flu than of a cold.
You will feel run-down and low throughout, but within seven to ten days it will be over. Colds are most contagious in the early scratchy stage. By the time your nose is running, your body is working full-blast to kill the virus, and though you might feel terrible, you are actually on your way to getting better. If the cold worsens as time goes on, you might not have a cold virus at all but instead have a bacterial infection.
Cold remedy: drinking fluids
The cold virus flourishes in dry conditions (hence overheated winter rooms exacerbates the problem). Drink as much water and fluids (soups and teas) as you can.
Old-fashioned hot-water with lemon and honey is ideal, as the honey soothes, has anti-bacterial properties and provides you with energy, the lemon provides you with Vitamin C and the water hydrates you.
Cold remedy: chicken soup
It turns out that mothers over the years have been right: chicken soup helps combat colds. Scientists have found that it has anti-inflamatory properties.
Better still, they found that canned chicken soup has the same effects as chicken soup made from scratch, so no need for any cooking, just open a can, pop the contents in a bowl and microwave it.
Cold remedy: Garlic
Garlic has long been used to cure coughs and colds and modern medicine now backs this up. When garlic is crushed it has antibiotic and antifungal effects. If you are suffering from a bacterial infection rather than a viral one, it should help you.
Always use fresh garlic and chop and crush it, and then cook with it. Put it in bolognese sauce, or make garlic bread from scratch with it (chop the garlic finely, spread over bread and cover with butter, and then pop in an oven).
Cold remedy: steam
You can relieve nasal congestion with steam. Either go into a shower that has a lot of steam in it, or fill a large bowl with boiling water, and drap a towel over your head to make a tent that traps the steam and lean over the bowl.
Another thing that works is a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a tissue placed near your pillow.
Cold remedy: rest
Old fashioned rest also helps you get over a cold faster. When you are ill, your body is working full time to kill off whatever is attacking it, and really doesn't need to be distracted by you attempting to do your normal workload as well.
Take to your bed with a supply of tissues and drinks close by, try to get some sleep and let your immune system get on with it. Remember that when your nose produces mucus, what is happening is that your body is trying to trap the virus in the mucus and get it out of your body and away from your nose lining. When you have a fever, your body is trying to literally boil the invader to death. Let your body get on with fighting the cold and let things run their course. The best thing you can do is not exert yourself at all so that all your energy is focused on getting better.
Related page: dealing with backache with back heating pads
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