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Common Cold Remedies And Prevention-True or False

Updated on January 16, 2016
Winter really isn't the best season for the common cold.
Winter really isn't the best season for the common cold. | Source

Tips passed down from past generations can be misleading.

We all know the home remedies and the wise tales for preventing winter colds from attacking us. These tips have been carried down through the generations. Grandma for the most part was accurate in her warnings. After all her grandma told her every trick she knew to keep her family safe and well. The trouble is our dear elders did not have evidence to back up their theories as modern day studies have given us a better defense to battle catching colds and flu.

Grandma said, “If you go outside, you better bundle up and dress extra warm so you don’t catch cold.”

Grandma was partly right about not exposing ourselves to the elements because the threat of hypothermia is possible, but dressing warm will not prevent us from catching colds. False! Colds are caused by a virus. If we are exposed to the virus we are a candidate to catch cold. Both colds and flu are very contagious. Avoid crowds and avoid going around sick people if possible.

Grandma warns, “Don’t go outside without your coat or you will catch cold.”

Again colds are caused by a virus and viruses are more likely to be inside than they are outside as germs linger on surfaces and in stale air. Sorry grandma. This one is false.

When I speak of grandma, I have two fine women in mind.

This is my maternal grandmother, Katherine Rood.
This is my maternal grandmother, Katherine Rood. | Source
This is my paternal grandmother, Sadie Madison.
This is my paternal grandmother, Sadie Madison. | Source

More True or False Conclusions

Sweat out a cold? Sorry, the old wise tale is another false remedy to get rid of colds. In fact sweating can make problems worse. You can become dehydrated at a time when you need extra fluids. Staying hydrated combats many ailments and the common cold and flu is no exception. Take is easy with your daily workouts. You need not stop them completely, but pay attention to what your body is telling you and try not to over-do it.

Can chicken soup cure a cold? Studies show this remedy is beneficial as it can help battle inflammation. So grandma’s chicken soup not only warms you up, but it is true, it also helps you get closer to being healthy. Pass grandmas recipe to the next generation and help fight the common cold.

Can covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze avoid spreading germs? This is true. Covering our mouths when we cough or sneeze will stop us from spreading germs. But use a hanky or cough into the bend in your arm. Do not use your hands and if you do use your hands wash them immediately before you touch anything else. The best defense we have against germs right now is to not spread them around by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching our face. Wash your hands often with soap and water. When soap and water is not available hand sanitizer can be a substitute. Disinfect shared surfaces.

There is no cure for the common cold.

There is no cure for the common cold. Most people think that winter is the time when we are most venerable to colds. But the reality of it is that most colds are spread in the spring and fall. Winter’s low temperatures kill germs and bacteria associated with disease.

Prevention is the key to avoid getting sick. Vaccinate yourself against flu and other ailments when vaccines are available. There is no vaccine yet for the common cold. Perhaps the future will someday find a cure. Until then we need to pay attention to how we as individuals can protect ourselves. We especially need to avoid exposing others to our illness. People with low immune systems that are already suffering from other disorders cannot afford a dose of the common cold. Most people can combat it successfully, but some will be in danger of worsening an already existing condition.

The common cold cannot be fought with antibiotics. Antibiotics are made to fight infections. The common cold is a virus. This has caused problems in previous years with patients insisting on an antibiotic to treat their illness even though their health care professional told them it would not do any good. Too many antibiotics can cause a resistant to them leaving little help for an illness that they could have otherwise found relief from. Listen to your doctor. On the other hand don’t avoid seeking help because either bronchitis or pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics and often there is a fine line between the patient knowing the difference between them and the common cold.

Teas for your Cough and Cold

One thing grandma knew worked for the cold season is her special tea remedies. There are so many variations. Each is very effective in treating the symptoms of the common cold. Its number one ingredient for cough is honey.

Green teas or black teas are equally beneficial for treating cough and congestion if lemon, honey, ginger and cinnamon are added to the warm brew. Honey and lemon alone is helpful as is honey, lemon and ginger or honey, lemon and cinnamon or honey and ginger or honey and cinnamon, honey alone is actually a cough depressant. Fix your tea with any of these and you will soon notice relief.

Clover honey is widely available where I live. Honey treats a cough quickly.
Clover honey is widely available where I live. Honey treats a cough quickly. | Source

I'll swear by honey to treat any cough.

Honey can also bring relief to a coughing pet. I once had a fifteen year old Jack Russell Terrier named Boomer with a collapsed trachea. There was no cure. All we could do was to keep her comfortable. She coughed constantly and the suppressants the vet gave me for her were of little help. I read an article about honey bringing coughs under control. At first I dipped a dog biscuit or piece of meat into the honey for her. It worked like a charm and my vet said if it works keep giving her the honey. She got so she would lap a teaspoon of honey off a plate without me having to camouflage it. We went through this regiment right up until the day I lost my best friend, Boomer a few weeks later.

I’ll swear by honey to treat any cough. But watch your labels if you buy it in a grocery store because some of it is imitation and we want the real honey the bees make. I’m not sure about one kind of honey being better than another but if its real honey it should help your cough. The clover type seems to be the most available type of honey here.

Honey helped keep Boomer comfortable.

This my Boomer(left) and her son Junior both were great companions now chasing balls in Heaven. I miss them both very much.
This my Boomer(left) and her son Junior both were great companions now chasing balls in Heaven. I miss them both very much. | Source


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    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, rajan jolly. I appreciate your visit.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      This is separating the chaff from the grain. Though I would say these remedies work. Since they allay the symptoms they keep one more comfortable till, for instance, colds. take their time to go away.

      Informative, no doubt.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you for stopping by, Thelma. When I think I'm coming down with a cold, the tea will usually get rid of it.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      3 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Indeed a very interesting hub. I really thought that we mostly have colds during winter time. Thanks for sharing. Now I know that I can give my dog Angus honey when he has colds.

    • Diana Lee profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana L Pierce 

      3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, rebeccamealey for visiting my hub. It was a surprise to me as well when I did the research to read that colds aren't as plentiful in winter as they are in fall and winter. But it does make sense because not much lives in bitter cold temperatures.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Very interesting. A great summary of the common cold and all of the misconceptions surrounding it.And I was surprised to learn that colds are more prevalent in fall and spring than in winter. Thanks!


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