A common cold can be the most annoying ailment which has no specific treatment or cure. A cold can last anywhere from 3 to 10 days and can really bog you down with all those sniffles and endless sneezing.
A common cold is generally caused by the flu virus or the rhinovirus which gets even more active during flu season. Cold is contagious and spreads easily if you come in contact with the virus carrier or at public places and inside closed rooms.
Symptoms of cold are usually a runny nose, blocked and stuffy nasal passage, constant sneezing, sometimes a mild fever and upper respiratory problems, loss of appetite and sense of smell and severe body ache.
A prolonged cold can also result in chronic conditions like asthma and bronchitis. Hence it gets necessary to cure a cold soon. Here are a few very effective and traditional as well as contemporary methods to treat a cold.
- Vitamin C supplements: The most important vitamin necessary to fight cold is the C vitamin. You can take it in the form of supplements or citrus fruits, berries, guavas, lemon juices, bell peppers and other vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C supplement taken in the long run prevents the frequent occurrence of cold, coughs and seasonal flu.
- Nasal sprays and saline drops: Another effective way to fight nasal congestion is the use of saline nasal drops or sprays. It is harmless and provides relief from a blocked nose and the stuffy feeling. Using it just before going to sleep is particularly helpful in providing comfort. Saline nasal drops are a boon for infants suffering from cold, who cannot be put on syrups and medicines.
- Proper Rest: Taking a day off from your work will not just give you the much required relaxation but would also prevent the cold virus from spreading further. If the kids are suffering from cold and flu it is advisable to keep them at home and avoid going to parks, playfields and school as there’s always the risk of making others infected of the rhinovirus.
- Drink fluids: When you suffer from cold it is important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids like water, teas, juices, energy drinks etc to keep the body well hydrated. It detoxifies the body and helps clear the system by passing out clear urine and flushing out the toxins from the body. Green Tea is particularly beneficial in curing colds as it is rich in antioxidants,that help the body fight against germs and diseases.
- Hot shower and steam inhalation: One of the most effective ways to fight cold is the use of steam inhalation. It clears the nasal passage by loosening the mucus and providing relief while breathing. If you do not have the inhalation machine you can still try the good old technique. Boil a pot of water and cover your head with a towel and keep it directly in contact with the steam vapors. Maintain a safe distance from the steam though as it may burn your face. Taking steam like this at least 3-4 times a day proves to be very effective in curing cold. Also the use of humidifiers in a room is quite helpful in providing relief from the cold.
- Exercising: Studies and researches have proved that physical exercise and vigorous activity provide relief from these flu based ailments by rising up your body temperature and letting the virus die. It also builds up the immunity and relaxes your body and provides a good sleep and comfort. Not just flu and cold, regular exercise increases your stamina and body’s capacity to fight against various diseases.
- Zinc supplements: Zinc is an extremely good mineral supplement that’s helpful in building the immune system, curing cold and fighting diseases. It is difficult to obtain zinc from the food sources hence popping over the counter zinc supplements becomes important. There are a plenty of zinc lozenges and pills available in the market today to provide the necessary supplementation.
- Over the counter medications and Antihistamines: A lot of medicines are available today to cure cold or at least provide temporary relief from the cold symptoms. The most popular among them are the antihistaminic syrups which most of the physicians prescribe in case of a real bad cold. These medicines do provide relief from runny nose, headache and nasal blockage, however the side effects of antihistamines cannot be ruled out.
- Chicken Soup and spices: Though an age old traditional remedy for cold, a hot steaming bowl of chicken soup does provides comfort during cold and congestion. It is a common belief that chicken soup thins down the mucus and provides relief from nasal blockage. Same goes with spicy foods. Many spices and the food made from them help in opening blocked nose and soothing the throat.
- Sleep well: There’s nothing better than a good and peaceful 8 hours of night sleep to fight any disease or ailment. When suffering from cold it is important for you to exert less during the day and hit the bed early in the evening to give the body a much required rest and relief. A well rested body responds positively towards any treatment or remedies.
- Ways to avoid the cold: Prevention being better than cure, it is important to learn a few tips to keep the cold at bay when the flu virus hits the town. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water prevents half of the infections to enter your body. Also avoiding the contact of people who have cold, avoiding smoke and drinking plenty of fluids also helps in preventing the flu virus attack.
- Flu vaccines are readily available in the market today. It is important to get a shot and protect yourself from the influenza virus before it spreads its wings. The vaccines help build up antibodies to fight against the flu virus and can be taken in the form of a shot or a nasal spray. People who have a weak immune system and get ill often should particularly get injected with the flu vaccine to stay away from getting the virus again and again.