How to Get Rid of a Common Cold Fast: Hints to Reduce Illness Time

Learn about some easy ways to help the body get rid of the flu or common cold quickly, such as eating chicken soup and cutting out dairy products.

The season of the common cold is beginning, and the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that between 5 and 20% of the population gets the flu every year. Some people tend to catch a cold or flu virus more than others, and when you catch it, it can feel like it lasts forever.

Although supermarkets and chemists are stocked with cough medicine and tablets, there is only so much these can do. While they may ease the symptoms, there is nothing that can prevent a cold. Some, such as cough sweets, may make the person feel better, but actually, mask a cough and therefore do not do much good. However, there are several things that people can do in order to in order to speed up the course of the cold. Most of these are standard detoxing techniques, but others are vitamins and amino acids that help the body and its white blood cells attack the cold bug.

Keep Warm to Sweat out the Cold

Just because it is cold doesn’t mean the person received it because they didn’t have enough clothes on they probably caught it from someone who had the germs on their skin, such as a workmate, family members or friends, the person they were sitting next to on the train.

When you are ill, you may notice your temperature rises. This is because the body is raising the temperature in an attempt to sweat the cold bug out. Germs, like humans, have an ideal temperature (roughly 37°C, 98°F in humans) and by raising the temperate the body makes it uncomfortable for the germs and stops them reproducing so rapidly.

Help your body out by wearing a jumper, turning on the heating, having hot drinks and showers or baths. Add a drop or two of Olbas Oil or any other inhalant decongestant to bath water in order to help relieve nasal congestion at the same time.

Hydrate Throughout the Day

Sweating out a cold means that liquid is lost throughout the body, and this can lead to dehydration. Therefore, it is important that liquids are drunk in order to keep the body hydrated. This also helps to flush out the toxins from the body.

While water is one of the easiest ways to hydrate, other drinks are just as effective. Choose energy drinks such as Lucozade, which contain glucose. The body uses glucose sugar for energy, which can help the body fight the cold.

However, people should avoid drinking milk, either in hot drinks or by itself. Dairy products do not do well with the sinuses and can make a cold worse.

Have Chicken Soup

Having chicken soup during a cold is not just a family tradition. Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine which helps clear out mucus, which is what the body is trying to cough up.

Soup in itself is also a soothing food, which can still be ingested with a sore throat. While it can be handmade, shop bought chicken or chicken noodle soup such as Heinz or Campbell’s will work just as well and takes a lot less effort to prepare when ill.

Take Supplements and Vitamins to Help the Body

Everyone knows that vitamin C helps the immune system. Fruit such as oranges and kiwi fruit are high in vitamin C, and of course, fruit is good for the body in general. Taking vitamin supplements are a helpful way of topping up the body, but there are more health benefits in eating fresh fruit.

There are also several herbal remedies which can help speed up the process of colds. One of the best known is echinacea, a plant native of North America. It is part of the daisy family (which is why some of the products will have a picture of a pink daisy on the front – this is what the flower looks like).

A 2007 study by the University of Connecticut which looked at data from other experiments suggested that taking echinacea can help reduce the chances of getting a cold by chance, and can reduce the period of the illness by one and a half days. While some researchers have condemned the figures produced by this study, echinacea does shorten the duration of colds.

Echinacea can be taken in several ways – in a pill form, as a drop to take on the tongue or in a drink (for children who may not enjoy its strong taste, drops could be added to diluting juice), or in effervescent form added to water.

However, echinacea should not be given to children under one and is not recommended for under 12s because not enough research has been done into if there are any side effects on a child’s immune system. It is also not recommended during pregnancy, or to be taken over a long period of time.

Lower Back Pain

Many people live with constant back pain. Management of chronic pain is possible with exercise and pain relief options.

Back pain has got to be one of the worst kinds of pain, especially when it is located in the lower back. When you have injured yourself, you soon discover that there are very few movements that do not involve the lower back, especially everyday tasks like getting dressed in the morning. One of the most feared events is sneezing, which sends a ripple of uncontrolled motion which can cause unbelievable pain.

The doctor may prescribe treatment, but for many people, the result is lifelong management of the pain and living with the inconvenience of having to restrict work and social activities such as sports and hobbies.

See the Doctor First if it Does Not Recover

Back injuries are often beyond the ability of a doctor, but doctors must be consulted first for a new pain that persists or an obvious injury. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders states that:

Most patients with back pain recover without residual functional loss, but individuals should contact a doctor if there is not a noticeable reduction in pain and inflammation after 72 hours of self-care.”

They define the pain that is in the lower back as pain that lasts a few days to a few weeks and chronic pain as pain that lasts for over three months.

Most of us Will Experience Back Pain

Although the majority of back injuries are avoidable, the American Pain Society states:

Of all the different types of aches and pains people experience, the most common pain is the back pain. A majority of us – eight out of ten – will experience back pain at some point in our lives.”

The injury may be a result of a trauma or strain in work, sports, gardening or through some kind of accident. Anything that puts an excess of stress on the bones or tissue can bring about the lasting muscle ache or a sharp or shooting pain.

The First Extremely Effective Way to Reduce Pain

Other than drugs, with all the side effects they can bring with them, the cold-pack has got to be one of the most efficient pain relief. Although there will sometimes be conflicting advice from those who advocate heat, chiropractors advise a cold-pack and most sufferers will profess that the cold-pack works best.

The cold-pack may simply be a bag of ice or even a pack of peas or a specially made bag of gel that can be put into a freezer. (Note that a cloth or tee-shirt should be placed between the bag and the skin). The first moment of placing the ice on the lower back can be quite a shock, but within seconds the healing effect is felt.

The pain is numbed and flexibility begins to return due to the secondary effect which is the reduction of inflammation. The cold causes the blood vessels to contract to reduce the amount of blood that can get to the area.

Natural Anti-Inflammatories and Pain Relievers

It is very easy when in great pain, to grab medicines like ibuprofen. They are certainly very effective when used to relieve back pain. However, herbalists are now referring to studies carried out that compare the anti-inflammatory characteristics of turmeric and ginger with that of ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen has many side effects and there can be great risks in taking too much. The side effects are including digestive problems, dizziness, nausea, and hypertension.

Turmeric and ginger are both well known for their anti-inflammatory benefits but together they appear to have a superior effect. The National Institute for Health recognizes the effects and states that it is safe in “food doses.”

Ways to Reduce the Possibility of Injury and Re-injury

The most common causes of back pain, excluding arthritis, are:

  • lifting some objects that are too heavy
  • lifting that is not proper
  • sudden or improper movements of the back
  • overreaching or over-stretching

Being sensible and aware of the possible dangers can greatly reduce the risk of injury and reduce the pain while trying to manage an injured back. The most well-known advice is to bend the knees when picking up a weight (do not bend at the waist) and also to turn the whole body when holding a weight rather than twisting around.

Healthy Exercise for the Back

An important way to reduce the pain and the risk of further injury is to do regular exercise. The right exercise can not only strengthen the muscles around the back but also increase general flexibility and strength making the body better able to cope with any further strain.

Stretching Exercises

The first place to start is with stretching exercises. One particular problem with a back injury is that the pain causes the person to change their posture and walk and stand differently. This puts an uneven strain on the hips and the legs and can bring about further injury.

Stretching exercises can loosen the joints and re-train the body in the correct posture. The stretches should not hurt and so should be stopped if they begin to make pain worse rather than better.

Weight Training

Training with weights increases overall strength but when done carefully can also work the large and small muscles around the lower back to reduce the chances of strain. Most weight exercises involve the back and so unless the doctor has advised otherwise, they can all be performed.

The important thing to remember for most people is that every exercise is safe as long as it does not involve bending at the waist. Always bending at the knees still works the lower back but will not over-strain it. The waist can still be worked but slowly and carefully to ensure that any problem can be detected before it does any further damage

For some people, the back pain will be with them for the rest of their lives but through stretching; weight training and careful choices, the risk of further damage is greatly reduced and the pain can be managed.