Hydrotherapy for Cough and Common Cold

Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr
Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr
Picture courtesy of Kofoed on Flickr
Picture courtesy of Kofoed on Flickr

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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Comments 65 comments

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

really great information. We have to taking care seriously. thanks


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Lita,

Lots of good advice here. I had never heard about this fomentation technique. One clarification...Here is what you stated: "If possible, drink from 8 to 10 glasses of water in its pure form a day, every hour." I'm sure what you meant was to drink continually all day long up to the 8 to 10 glasses of water. If one drank 8 to 10 glasses of water every hour...that could literally be lethal.

Another thing that I have found helps is to use the salt water spray in the nose. Many over the counter saline sprays available...helps prevent (or even get over) sinus infections which can be secondary bacterial infections from having had a cold.

Excellent hub.


GeneralHowitzer profile image

GeneralHowitzer 6 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

Just save this using downloading hehehe gotta share this to my fiancée she's going to like this for she is a PT graduate as well... Thanks... :D


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi, there, prasetio30!

Thanks, it's cold months down here, so I thought it wise to share some info on nursing a cold for fellow hubbers.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi, Peggy W!

Great to hear from you again! LOL! Yes, that would be suicide, really. I'm grateful for your timely attempt to clarify, which you already answered for me! "Spread out" the 8-10 glasses a day, drinking hour after hour.Thanks, you're really a darling.

Oh, yes, the saline nasal spray is effective declogger of stuffy nose. I use that in my nebulizer whenever I have no time to go to the beach for bad colds. It's just like strolling in the beach shore and inhaling-exhaling all the salt particles in the breezy morning air. Nice rejoinder you put for my hub. See you soon!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello, GeneralHowitzer!

Should your dearest fiancée frowns at all, it's because as PT graduate, she knows better than I do. Don't you dare force this unto her! LOL! Please send my regards to her.


alexandriaruthk profile image

alexandriaruthk 6 years ago from US

nice one, very informative too,


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi, alexandriaruthk,

Thanks for your encouraging comment. Hope the info helps you in one way or the other.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

hi Lita very nice hub and very informative too, how are you there in Pinas? Maita


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi, Maita, thanks for the comment. We're all right here, although these are one of those tough times for us fighting off coughs, colds, and their related ailments due to the cool weather.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Thanks for the valued info!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello, Micky Dee! Nice to see you around here. Grateful that you absorb the info on hydrotherapy. Thanks for leaving your comment.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

Forget the foot bath. I'll immerse myself in a whole steamy tub! The old grandmothers knew what to do. Not only do the old time water remedies work, they just feel good too!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

That's great! Grandmothers know best. Here's for your continued good health. Thanks for the comment.


soni2006 profile image

soni2006 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

That's really impressive. You have shared some incredible knowledge in this hub Lita. I believe you must be a wonderful mom. I really agree with many of your views and advice on cough and cold treatment but I have learned about hydrotherapy for the first time in my life over here. Thanks a lot for give some great info on these very common but irritating problems.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi there soni,

I'm humbled by your comment. Thank you. If you had lived with your grandmother, hydrotherapy would have been familiar with you. These are our grandparents' forte, their alternate home grown relief treatment, not only for coughs and colds. There are a lot more ailments that can be relieved or cured by water if used with proper procedures.


Papa Sez profile image

Papa Sez 6 years ago from The Philippines to Canada

Hi Lita, hydrotherapy is indeed the way to go. Adequate fluid intake enhances our immunity to diseases. My wife posted a blog about how we ensure adequate fluid intake by our kids. This might be useful for you and for your readers http://bit.ly/7gtPuF

Thanks for promoting hydrotherapy!

Regards, Papa Sez


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Lita! Thank you for reminding me of the steam therapy. I have nasal congestion from hell right now. I will try some of these other treatments. You must be a nurse.

Wish you were here to put cold compresses on my forehead!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Austinstar,

I was a teacher, and you know how a teacher works, "jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none", hahaha!

I wouuld be glad to, dearie. But for now, yes, go and try my treatments. Thanks.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Papa Sez,

Sure enough, we need fluid to make our system go by the rule, either taken in or used as therapy. I'll see what Mama Sez's hub offers, too. Thanks.


dyesebel10 profile image

dyesebel10 6 years ago from USA

Lita, thanks for sharing. I believe in hydrotherapy but to some extent. Re your "once you are infected with the cold virus, you wait until it passes away.", it doesn't apply to me because I am an asthmatic person. Like recently, I had sore throat, cough and cold. The doctor didn't prescribe me an antibiotic. He just told me to drink lots of fluid, gargle with salt-water, rest. Observe for 5 days then come back if it worsens. That's what happened it worsened it became asthmatic bronchitis. I had sleepless nights due to severe coughing and phlegm. I went to my other doctor who's a Filipino, he gave me strong antibiotic and luckily I got well after a week or two. I remember this happened to me also in 2000 when I had flu, i got respiratory illness complication.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Oh dear,Dyesebel,

I know how you feel whenever you have your bouts of asthma. My eldest daughter Pot is asthmatic. Good that you seem not to be allergic to the antibiotics. Pot is hard to treat because she is allergic to certain drugs. The beach breeze is therapeutic, so we often go for brisk walks there.I hope you are now okay.


dyesebel10 profile image

dyesebel10 6 years ago from USA

I'm only allergic to Aspirin so I just take acetaminophen (tylenol) for fever and pain.. thanks for your concern too.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

dyesebel,

Yes, that's it- aspirin. I think she takes celebrex ( a celecoxib for pain). Thanks for your comment.


Betty Reid profile image

Betty Reid 6 years ago from Texas

How clever to group all these different treatments under hydrotherapy! I would also suggest nasal irrigation, which is flushing your nasal passages with saline solution.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Betty Reid,

That's a wholesome reminder! I just had my saline solution nose spray through the nebulizer. I got clogged nose due to cement dusts. Our ancestral house is under renovation. Thanks, you're really a friend!


TINA V profile image

TINA V 6 years ago

I have already tried the salt and water solution, but these are all good hydrotherapy techniques. It was nice of you to share these tips. Keep on writing . . .


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Tina,

Yes, I hope to be back writing soon. I appreciate it very much that you find the tips useful. Hydrotherapy is really helpful. Thanks for stopping by.


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

I shall take this as a sign I need to gargle with warm water and salt. I have been battling sore throat and strep throat and people tell me to gargle and I keep forgetting. Found this hub and got reminded again so I shall I promise!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Ain't I proud of my hub then to be able to move you into action about this very basic hydrotheraphy procedure- gargling with salt and water! Make good of your promise because it works! Thank you.


Amber Allen profile image

Amber Allen 6 years ago

Hi Lita

I've always drunk water and inhaled steam to help with my colds but I never thought of this as hydrotherapy. I'll have to try your other tips the next time I get a cold. A really useful hub.

Amber:)


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Amber,

It's just a difference in terminology, but you are doing the right treatment with water, too. Yes, the season of colds will always catch us up. Glad you like this. Thanks!


Neil Sperling profile image

Neil Sperling 6 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

Great Flushing Hub. Water is more important than most realize. Thanks


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Neil,

..and treating ailments with water like colds, to mention one, has been handed down to us by our great ancestors'! Hydrotherapy is the same old way. Thanks.


hubpageswriter 6 years ago

This is such a refreshing hub. Water is the solution to many problems at times. Drinking water is only going to be good and not harm. Good hub.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Water is life. A person can't live one day without drinking water or any liquid. He can go a long way with water even without taking in food. Yes, water solves a lot of our ailments with the right procedures we call hydrotherapy techniques. Thanks.


2enjoylife8 profile image

2enjoylife8 5 years ago from Amidst a cloud of creative energy.

Even though I may not feel like doing anything when I have a cold, making the effort to nurse does help. Thanks for your helpful suggestions! I'm looking forward to adding a foot bath to my cold nursing:)


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines Author

2enjoylife8,

We share the same attitude regarding colds when it shows its first signs, because anyway, it's self-limiting and passes away in time without treating it. However, nursing it on time can relieve us from discomforts. And with hydrotherapy, we are saved from discomfort and save our money, too. Thank you.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

I am just getting over a cold as I write. Thanks for all the useful tips. I always wear a silk scarf round my neck until it has gone. I find it very soothing. I also put drops of aromatic oil like olbas on my pillow at night. Colds are such miserable things!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Gypsy Willow,

Glad to know you're getting over that miserable thing, indeed! I also do the same, the scarf makes me feel warm by the throat. I use the saline solution which is salt and water when my nose really gets that heavy clogging stuff. Thanks for the added tips.


DjBryle profile image

DjBryle 5 years ago from Somewhere in the LINES of your MIND, and HOPEFULLY at the RIPPLES of your HEART. =)

A Truly useful hub equipped with helpful tips! Thanks for sharing mam Lita! =)


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines Author

DjBryle,

If one could count the number of times he gets sniffs,colds, and coughs year-round, then this hub will be truly a handy help. Thank you.


NP.QUEEN profile image

NP.QUEEN 5 years ago from Dubai

hi,

I understood that water therapy is a good rememdy for all the diseases ...pls try to go through my hubs also!....


cheapsk8chick profile image

cheapsk8chick 5 years ago

What a great and useful hub! I will bookmark this one and definitely apply it in our home. 'Tis the season for coughs and colds! Vote up, useful & awesome!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines Author

NP.Queen,

I've read and commented 2 of your great hubs. I love them. Yes, water therapy is wonderful remedy for most illness. Thank you.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines Author

cheapsk8chick,

The cold season is yet to stay longer and we can't tell if coughs and colds would catch us up no matter how we take good care of ourselves. Thanks for your complete support. Be healthy all the way, my friend!


NP.QUEEN profile image

NP.QUEEN 5 years ago from Dubai

HI Lita,

Thank you for the beautiful comment.Expecting more and more useful hubs from you.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines Author

NP.Queen,

Writing also takes a toll on my health condition as I can't sit longer before my laptop the way I used to do. However, reading comments and replying to them give me much pleasure. I'm happy, though that my yearly executive check up last February 7 turned out that I'm fine.

I strictly follow my doctor's advice and wrote about the way I treat my diabetes- empowerment. And it works! I'll see if I can come up again with one hub. Thank you. Love you.


emilybee profile image

emilybee 5 years ago

Very nice hub and so true-water is the best thing for us.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines Author

emilybee,

You're absolutely right! Thanks for your supportive comment.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 5 years ago

Lita C. Malicdem, Wonderful hub! Great healthy tips for relieving cold symptoms. Thank You for sharing, Peace & Blessings!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines Author

DeBorrah K. Organs,

Colds is everybody's woe, both on hot and cold days, so I share my personal views out of my readings about this to help others. Thank you. God Bless you.


howcurecancer profile image

howcurecancer 5 years ago

I am bathing my feet almost daily and is very refreshing.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines Author

That's great! My aching limbs feel better when i soak them in the beach. Water does wondrous healing really. Thanks for the comment.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

"Avoid sweets because too much sugar in the blood lowers your resistance to infections." - That's something new for me. Thanks for sharing this.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 5 years ago from Philippines Author

I'm diabetic and in my readings, I came to know about the effects of too much sugar in the blood. When ailments hit the neighborhood, I'm careful to stay away for a good distance to avoid infection, of which colds and coughs are one. Thanks for the underscoring!


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

Many excellent tips here and I especially like your instruction on making the 'inhalation steam tent'. And what so many people could benefit from knowing is your stated 'avoid sweets'. There have been some research projects done showing that refined sugar intake lowers the 'fighting ability' of our cells for about 4-6 hours. Amazing. Loved your informative hub!


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 4 years ago from Philippines Author

frogyfish,

Thank you so much for justifying the bad effect of too much sugar in the body through your research readings. The last thing I would do as a diabetic is making my body's "fighting ability" against even simple coughs and colds catch me off-guard. Take care!


DAWNEMARS profile image

DAWNEMARS 4 years ago from The Edge of a Forest in Europe

An informative, useful and interesting hub. Thanks for sharing this info. I am a fan of herbal water and steam inhalations when I have a blocked nose from a cold.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 4 years ago from Philippines Author

DAWNEMARS,

Glad to know you use herbal water and steam inhilations to ease your colds. Thank you for sharing that. God bless!


watergeek profile image

watergeek 3 years ago

Good suggestions, Lita. I've noticed with myself that another "cause," and therefore cure for colds is congestion of my life. When I get really busy with something and let little things slide, I get a cold when too many have built up. So I stop what I'm doing and spend a day or two cleaning up all the little things - like pay bills, clean up my desk, vacuum, dust furniture, make phone calls - whatever small things have been building up. It works.

Also, suggesting people drink water is a very good idea. It helps with other bodily functions too. I wrote a hub not long ago giving tips on how to make sure you drink enough water every day. This information would fit in well with it.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 3 years ago from Philippines Author

watergeek,

I never knew this unique impression of yours about getting "cold". I like that! Your body language really impresses me. Why? I also need a little space for what my body is aching at times to tell me about. I'll try that. It might work for me, too.

I scanned your hub titles, and I believe you're a true watergeek there! I'll be educating myself with your hub ideas and thoughts soon. Thank you!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting suggestions, about drinking water I try to have a few glasses per day, these are helpful ways.


Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 3 years ago from Philippines Author

DDE,

You may turn that positive attitude into a habit and stay healthy all days of your life. Thanks for visiting and for the comment!


Sawet 20 months ago

I carry on listening to the nesscawt lecture about getting free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the most excellent site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i find some?

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