|The common cold, like the flu, is caused by a virus infection. That means, unless you develop a secondary bacterial infection - say of the chest - antibiotics are of no use. Antibiotics are useless for treating colds and will only do more harm than good by destroying the good bacteria in your body. There are more than 200 viruses that cause a cold. To physically 'catch' a cold or flu, you need to inhale infected air after someone has sneezed or coughed or touch an infected surface and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes. Beware - a simple sneeze contains up to 100,000 virus particles and can travel 9 meters (30 feet). In turn, these little particles can live on both the skin surface or the surface of an object for up to 3 hours. Once infected, there is no cure for the common cold. Treatments are only effective in reducing symptoms. Most colds, even if medications are taken, still take at least 5 to 7 days to go away.
12 Treatments For Colds
1. Steam Inhalation
A blocked nose, cough and headaches are most helped by steam inhalation. Pour a teaspoon of eucalyptus or menthol oil into a bowel of boiling water then inhale the steam under a towel. Do this for at least 10 minutes, 3 times a day.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Staying hydrated can reduce symptoms of a sore throat and headache. You will need to pee lots more, but it is the same as your body trying to get rid of the virus from your body by sneezing or coughing. If your urine is dark yellow or strong in color it means you are not drinking enough. Your pee should be almost clear.
3. Zinc For Sore Throats
If you have a sore throat, try sucking on some zinc gluconate lozenges (look for lozenges that contain 15 to 25mg of zinc such as the brand Cold-Eeze). Take 1 every 3 to 4 hours. The zinc helps to kill bacteria lurking in the throat.
4. Vitamin C Supplement
Vitamin C is strongly anti-viral. Although the effectiveness of vitamin C in treating colds is in question, many proponents still advise taking a daily dose to shorten the severity and duration of a cold.
5. Cold Busting Diet
While you have a cold, base your diet on vegetables, fruit, brown rice, chicken, a little fish and pulses (kidney beans, lentils, navy beans and so on). Keeping your diet 'clean' will help improve your rate of recovery. Cakes, chocolate and junk food weaken the immune system and have the opposite effect.
6. Garlic And Onions
Both foods are great for their antiseptic properties. A traditional remedy for a cold is a soup made with 6 chopped onions, one whole garlic, 1 inch (2.5cm) of fresh ginger, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and a chicken stock cube. Mix all the ingredients and boil in some water. You could also add some lemon grass.
7. Lemon And Ginger Herbal Tea
Finely chop 2.5cm of fresh ginger and leave it in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and drink (you can strain the ginger first, you don't need to eat it).
8. Avoid Nasal Decongestants
Avoid taking nasal decongestants if possible. It appears that these products can actually worsen mucus production and trap bacteria - particularly if they are taken for more than 3 days. Alternatively use a saline nasal spray which is not associated with the same problems.
9. Plenty of Rest
One of the best cures for a cold is rest and plenty of sleep. The more you rest, the more energy your body can divert to fighting the cold virus. Experts recommend staying at home and relaxing for 2 days in a warm (75F), constant environment.
10. Avoid Exercise
Exercise will only stress your body when you have a cold, so avoid it until all symptoms have cleared. Conserve your energy.
11. Sambucol Herbal Remedy
Sambucol is an extract from the elderberry plant. It is thought to have strong anti-viral properties and if taken with a cold or flu may shorten the duration of the illness. It is available in most health stores.
12. Propolis From Bee Hives
Propolis is a substance taken from bee hives. It has both anti-viral and anti-bacterial benefits. If taken as a supplement daily all year round it helps to prevent colds and if taken during a cold may reduce the severity of symptoms.
Ultimately, although colds can make us feel miserable, treatments are limited. The best thing you can do is to have plenty of rest, eat well and drink fluids.
How To Prevent Infecting Others
1. Use a tissue to blow your nose or when you sneeze. Then instantly bin it and wash your hands. The cold is a virus and spreads from person to person by physical contact or through droplets in the air.
2. Don’t allow others to eat or drink from anything you have come into contact with.
3. Change your pillow cases every 2 or 3 days at home. It will help prevent spreading the virus to your partner and clear pathogens from your bedroom.