If you are battling a cold, dealing with the symptoms of having a runny nose, congestion, and headaches is one of the worst parts of being sick. Modern medicines--like cold and flu syrups and nasal sprays--are great for keeping the symptoms at bay. However, once you've met the dosage limit, you'll need to turn to more homeopathic remedies until you can take your next dose of medication. It's important not to overuse nasal sprays because overdosing on the medication can make congestion worse. Instead, follow the dosing directions on the package and use these home based remedies to help fill in the gaps.
A Steam Bath
Steam can really help get things moving when you're stuffed up. If your shower does not get hot enough, put a pot of water on the stove and let it simmer. Breathe in the hot, moist steam. You can even create a sauna effect by putting a towel over your head. Steam helps you to get better more quickly because your mucus membranes are more efficient at trapping and expelling the virus when they are wet. Drinking tea and other warm liquids also aids this process.
Essential oils are an excellent resource for natural cold treatment. You can use eucalyptus oil on your chest to soothe the pain of a cough. You can also clear your nasal passages by placing a drop of therapeutic grade peppermint oil on the tip of your finger and sucking on it for a minute or two. Other oils that are effective for cold symptoms include lemon (for soothing a sore throat) and clove (for helping with swelling and pain in the teeth and jaw).
Chicken soup has been the poster-child for healing sickness. It's really the chicken broth of the soup that will help you feel better when you're struggling with a cold. Chicken has an amino acid called cysteine that is released when it is cooked. When ingested, this protein has immunological properties that boost your immune system. Broth is made from boiling chicken bones, and the bone broth is also good for promoting gut health, where good bacteria help to fight infections like the common cold. The bountiful vegetables in chicken soup also help promote healing with beneficial vitamins and minerals.
A Good Night's Rest
When you're under the weather, all you want to do is stay in bed, and there's a reason for that. Sleep helps prevent you from getting sick in the first place, as those who get more than eight hours each night are three times less likely to get sick than those who sleep fewer hours. Even shorting yourself 10 minutes of sleep from your normal sleep routine will mean a greater chance of getting sick and staying sick longer.
Everybody washes their hands after using the bathroom or before preparing a meal, but you could be extending your illness by not washing your hands frequently while you are sick. It's also a good idea to wipe things that you normally touch, like doorknobs, and to wash your bedding often when you are fighting a cold. The less exposure you have to the virus, the more effectively your immune system can fight the infection. Plus, it prevents other people in your home or office from getting sick too. Nothing is worse than just getting over a cold, only to have it circulate around and get back to you.
Medications for colds are a great way to stay functional at home and at work, but you will also need some of these home remedies in addition to cough syrup and nasal spray, especially if your illness lasts longer than two or three days.