Combating the Common Cold


While it’s an old folk remedy in South Africa to sip elephant dung tea to cure a common cold, this practice hasn’t been endorsed by modern science yet, which is just as well since elephants are rare in most parts of the world. Nonetheless, cold season prompts many to try both old and new methods to rid themselves of their cold’s miserable symptoms. The following tips may help you to combat the common cold and find relief.

Although researchers say that a truly effective cure for the common cold is many years away, sufferers still need relief from cold symptoms such as sniffles, a sore throat, itchy eyes, aches, etc…On average, people can plan to suffer from as many as two hundred colds during their life. On the low end, scientists conjecture that a person may get as few as a hundred colds. It only takes one, however, to make you realize that you don’t want another. Many people look to prevention as the best means to outwit a cold.

Combating the Common Cold

Catching a cold is best prevented by hand washing and repeatedly cleaning surfaces where infected people have been. Cold viruses can live for a couple of hours on surfaces like door handles, so if a person gets a cold germ on their hand from opening such a door and then touches their eyes or nose, they have a pretty good chance of coming down with that cold themselves. Therefore, hand washing often with warm soapy water is the ideal way to prevent contagion particularly when someone with a cold is already in the household.

Living a healthful lifestyle may help stave off a cold. Eating healthy and exercising helps boost the body’s immune system. If eating greens is not your thing, there are a slew of drinks to boost your immune system, that you can make from the comfort of your home and incorporate into your routine. By doing so even if a cold is caught, its symptoms may feel far less severe than someone else suffering from the same cold virus. Scientific studies show that people who are physically fit have a reduced risk of catching colds. Thinking positively and avoiding stress, according to some medical experts, may also help keep the colds at bay.

If, however, you’ve thought positively all day long but still come home only to crash on the sofa with a nasty cold, there are some methods that may alleviate cold symptoms. Far tastier than elephant dung tea, one supposes, chicken soup is an old cold remedy that seems to help cold sufferers feel better—particularly if it is brought to them and they don’t have to prepare it themselves. The hot liquid of the soup appears to help in mucous production which can help a sore throat feel better and can diminish coughing bouts. For similar reasons, other hot drinks like tea can alleviate some cold symptoms too.

Additionally, the steam from the hot soup is likely to open nasal passages and make breathing easier. A better method of steaming is draping a towel over one’s head and inhaling steam from a pan of boiling water containing eucalyptus or menthol crystals. Feeling better able to breathe may alleviate a headache, too, which is a common cold symptom. Taking a hot shower will produce steam and may relieve cold-induced body aches.

Of course, there is a wide variety of natural cold remedies that circulate from generation to generation. Eating garlic is one that many subscribe to. Some cold sufferers suggest that ingesting raw garlic helps speed up one’s recovery time and also boosts the immune system. A robust immune system is better equipped to ward off the onset of yet another cold. Others claim that ginseng and yogurt help combat common colds.

Many turn to over-the-counter remedies when they come down with a cold, but studies have demonstrated that these products are not always effective. Getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids can help a person feel better more quickly as often as not according to research. If you get a cold, you can help minimize the risk of spreading it to others by repeated hand washing and little personal contact. Most colds last about a week between onset and recovery. And, if you have the inclination, try some of that South African tea—the claims may have some basis since the plants’ elephants eat contain elements that fight colds.


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