Hydrotherapy for Cough and Common Cold
In my previous hub, Protect Your Health Against Cough and Common Cold,
there is this statement, "We can't cure cold, but we can nurse it". A
cold is an infectious disease, but luckily, it is a self-limiting one.
This means, once you are infected with the cold virus, you wait until
it passes away. But who among the sufferers would like to treat their
infection that way? We are likely do something quick to ease our
discomfort from sniffs, sneezes, and coughs, especially so when we feel
body aches and fever.
Medicines, and there are a lot of them under varying categories of use, can help ease cold and cough discomforts. However, due to the high cost of medicine, many are experimenting on some alternative natural cure that can just as well give comfort to the patient with this disease. One is the use of water, known as hydrotherapy.
What is hydrotherapy?
"Hydro" means water, "therapy" means cure. Water is essential to life not only as something to drink. It is also unquestionably a valuable help in treating various diseases and conditions. It is either used in its pure form or with suggested amounts of substances dissolved in it. Water is used internally and externally not really "to cure" but to aid in managing, for example- a common cold and cough.
What are some forms of hydrotherapy techniques?
Usually, colds undergo three phases, namely sore throat, head cold, and chest cold, according to Herminia de Guzman-Ladion, author of a manual, The Healing Wonders of Water. When symptoms of cold and cough appear, they tell us that there is presence of cold virus in the body. Nursing a cold with the so-called hydrotherapy technique is less expensive and easy to apply. The following are the most common procedures. Minors, however, need assistance from their elder members of the family for safe and efficient results.
1. Drink plenty of water.
To wash out the virus in our system, our grandmothers will recommend 2 glasses of water right away upon waking up and before eating breakfast. They say this will help in elimination of waste from the body, probably with the intent also to lessen the virus already affecting it. If possible, drink from 8 to 10 glasses of water in its pure form a day, every hour. Water with dissolved substance like fruit juice also helps.
2. Gargle with hot salt-water solution.
Cold drinks are not recommended cough and cold remedies. Our grandmothers' antiquated treatment is by gargling with hot water with salt. If you are having sore throat, put 1/2 teaspoon of salt in hot water, stir thoroughly to dissolve. Test the water, let the solution roll in the throat for as long as you can while you gargle.
3. Steam inhalation for stuffy nose also helps.
Almost always, the nose becomes stuffy with mucus at the onset of a cold. Constant expectoration of the mucus renders the mucus membrane of the upper respiratory tract to dry up. Rather than wait for it to aggravate the suffering of the victim of cold, we can apply steam inhalation. Steam or moist air is introduced to loosen the congested nose with mucus.
To do this, you need a kettle with a spout, a one burner stove, or hot plate, or even the old reliable local charcoal stove. Fill in the kettle with water just below the spout. Let boil. Add 1 tsp. of aromatics, into the boiling water, the most common of which is Vicks vaporub ointment or tincture of Benzoin, or Camphor oil, for good smelling sensation. Get a piece of cardboard, make a cylindrical tube. Take the patient near the boiling kettle with care. Get an open umbrella, put over the head of the patient and spread a sheet of cloth over it to form an improvised tent. With the cylindrical tube placed in the steaming spout, direct the steam into the tent away from the patient's face. Inhalation takes from 30 minutes to 1 hour, morning and evening, as tolerated.
4. Apply hot wet compress to the throat.
To remedy a sore throat, you need hot wet compress around the throat. Hot wet compress has deep penetrating quality that soothes a sore throat. It can also relieve pain. Dip a face towel in hot water as hot as your hands can tolerate. Wring to squeeze extra water out. Then wrap the compress around the throat without pressure. Get another cloth to wrap around the neck to cover the hot towel completely. This allows longer time for the heat to penetrate. Compress must be changed frequently. Keep the compress hot at all times renewing it every 3 minutes for 15 to 20 minutes. At the end of the treatment, remove the hot compress, pat the area dry.
5. Fomentation to the chest for chest colds with cough and fever.
Fomentation is a variation of hot compress. If the cold progresses to chest colds with cough and fever, local application of heat on the chest cavity will help, it relieves the tightness in the chest and at the same time lowers fever.
Get enough regular size towels, at least 5-6, a small basin, one blanket, one kettle of boiling water. Remove all clothing of the patient, cover him with the blanket. Put ice water in the basin, with compress at bedside. Close windows to avoid drafts. Wring out one towel from boiling water. Spread a dry towel on a table and wrap in it the hot towel. Apply to the body area of the patient.
As you do the hot compress, apply cold compress over the forehead, too, to lower the fever. Give at least 3 changes of fomentation, drying the area quickly between applications. Change fomentation every 5 minutes until water gets warm or cool. Don't wait for the compress to become cold. After the last fomentation, rub the body area quickly with cold compress wrung from the ice water. Remove cold compress from forehead. Dry thoroughly. You may also give sponge bath or quick warm bath if desired. Dress up patient with comfortable clothing. Let patient rest after the treatment.
6. Give a hot foot bath if the cold starts with a head cold and stuffy or running nose.
Head cold is characterized as having headache due to head congestion with stuffy or runny nose. This must be treated at once so that the cold will not go down the chest and might invite fever. Hot foot bath helps get rid of head congestion as it draws the blood from the head and gives relief.
The patient sits on a chair, by himself or may be with assistance in bed. The feet are submerged in a pail or basin ankle deep in hot water to a patient's tolerance. Add hot water for 20-30 minutes. Put cold compress to the forehead or the nape, renewing it every 2-3 minutes. At the end of the treatment lift the feet from water and pour cold water over them. Give patient hot and cold shower if he is strong, or warm sponge bath if done in bed. Dry the patient and keep him comfortable. As this makes the patient perspire, let him rest until perspiration stops. Dry him thoroughly.
To get the best effect of your efforts to nurse your cold and cough, stay at home, get plenty of rest. Don't overeat. Have only light meals with plenty of fruits, fruit juices, and soups. Avoid sweets because too much sugar in the blood lowers your resistance to infections.
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