Every year, one of the most dreadful times of the year is when people are constantly reminded of the need to remain vigilant about getting a cold or flu. No one likes coming down with these nasty infections. Whether it’s coughing, lack of energy, nausea, runny nose or stuffiness; all of these symptoms make people unhappy and can make the holiday season very miserable. Nonetheless, if you find yourself sick and are looking to for natural ways of remedying your condition, here is a quick overview of seven proven ways to alleviate your cold or flu symptoms.
1. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of fluids such as water, teas and juices will help soothe a dry, itchy throat due to incessant coughing. Fluids will help keep your oral cavity and throat moist, preventing the buildup of mucus. However, avoid drinking beverages that contain caffeine. Coffees and sodas that contain caffeine can actually dehydrate you and make throat dryness even worse.
2. Take Vitamin D
For people who live in wintry climates in the North, lack of exposure to sunlight leads to a reduction in Vitamin D levels. Take 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams of Vitamin D3 to help strengthen your immune system. Elevated Vitamin D levels have shown to improve the immune system, making people less prone to colds and flu viruses.
3. Take Vitamin C
Vitamin C is also linked to a strong immune system. Vitamin C will help minimize stress on the immune system by keeping the catabolic hormone, cortisol, at normal levels. Take 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams daily to reap the cold and flu-fighting benefits of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is available in both pill and lozenge form. Avoid drinking orange juice as a Vitamin C supplement, as it contains far more sugar.
4. Inhale steam
Inhaling steam, especially if it’s scented with something mint or eucyalyptus, will help break up blocks of mucros and improve breathing within nasal passages. Steam will also help circulate more blood to the nasal passage, allowing germ-fighting white blood cells to move freely to the area to combat the cold virus. Fill a large bowl with boiling water and the scent of your choice and hold your head above it with a towel draped overhead to keep the steam in and inhale deeply.
5. Take Zinc Echinacea
Take zinc echinacea lozenges to help not only fight a current infection, but improve your immune system in the long run. Studies have shown that individuals that supplement with zinc echinacea every two to three hours experience less symptoms associated with a cold or flu virus.
6. Drink soup broth
Chicken or beef soup broths actually are good for those who have itchy and dry throats. Many of these broths are made with real, whole vegetables that contain copious amounts of vitamins and nutrients that help ward off infections. Also, the steam from broths will help clear out nasal passages and improve breathing if you have a stuffy nose. Add a little spice to your broths to help create a thermic effect in your body. This will get your body’s temperature rising to allow for white blood cells to roam freely to fight off infection.
7. Get rest!
Aside from taking herbal supplements to help remedy your situation, you should strive to get plentiful amounts of rest. Avoid putting a lot of strain and stress on your body. Your system will need as much energy as possible to help recover from the drain of a cold or flu virus. Strive to get at least eight to ten hours of sleep a night. Turn off ceiling fans, as this could worsen nasal stuffiness. Also, make sure you are wearing layers of clothing to create a thermal effect for your body. This will help to blood flowing in an efficient manner, allowing white blood cells to fight off the infection as soon as possible.
There are obviously many more natural and herbal remedies that you can take in order to relieve yourself from a cold. These steps are to be taken to prevent colds and the need to visit a medical professional, however if your symptoms persist or worsen, a doctor’s visit may be necessary. Nonetheless, the biggest take away is that you do not have to rely on expensive over-the-counter prescriptions and cold medicines that make you feel drowsy and may have more long-term effects.
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Alex Faubel enjoys writing about topics related to health and medicine in career-focused education programs.