Colds leave us feeling miserable but the fact of the matter is, our immune system needs them in order to remain healthy. If it never had any challenges, we would become susceptible to illnesses and their complications. So what can be done to ease the discomfort of a cold without actually suppressing this important process?
• As soon as you feel the first symptoms of a cold (tiredness, vague sore throat), take a vitamin C supplement, preferably of a fairly high dosage. You cannot overdose on vitamin C and any that you don’t need is simply re-absorbed by the body. This can often stop a sore throat from developing.
• Gargling with previously boiled salt water can ease the pain.
• Take a slice of fresh lemon and infuse it in boiled water, then add a teaspoon of honey and leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Lemon and honey is a traditional remedy for easing sore throats and aching joints.
• Try echinacea. This herb has been used for hundreds of years and by Native American Indians for preventing and treating colds and flu. You can put a few drops on your tongue or if you can’t bear the taste, mix it with orange juice.
• For adults only, you could try making your own Echinacea lolly pops, by chopping fresh Echinacea root and leaving it to soak in vodka for up to four weeks. You then add chilli’s, root ginger, honey, cranberry juice and lemon juice and place in lolly pop moulds in the freezer, ready to use whenever you have a cold! A recipe for this is available in James Wong’s book, Grow Your Own Drugs, Published by HarperCollins Publishers, ISBN 978-0-00-730713-5.
• Drink plenty of water. A dehydrated body is more susceptible to infection and does not recover as efficiently.
• Get a humidifier. According to the Mayo Clinic, cold viruses thrive in dry air and contribute to sore throats and blocked noses, so by keeping your air moist you reduce the severity of symptoms. Do keep your unit regularly cleaned because bacteria can grow on the humidifier.
Sources: Mayo Clinic: Cold Remedies.
Grow Your Own Drugs, by James Wong.
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/. She is author of the book, 'Breast Milk: A Natural Immunisation,' and co-author of an educational resource on disabled parenting, in addition to running a charity for people damaged by vaccines or medical mistakes.