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.