We all feel cold during the winters. Especially during these winters which have been termed as the coldest winters in 118 years. Winter is also the most common season for contagious illnesses like the cold and flu. This is because the flu virus thrives in colder and drier air. Nowadays, many of us head to the nearest pharmacy to load up on symptom-covering medications to get through the day. The sneezing, stuffy nose, and sore throat are never fun to deal with. So, what can you do to ease some of the pain? We have compiled some timeless natural remedies to help you get quickly back on your feet.
Use steam: Hold your face over a just-boiled pot to clear nasal congestion. If the steam burns your nose, let it cool or breathe more slowly. Using a humidifier or hanging out in a steamy shower can help.
Make ginger tea: Ginger is a powerful antiviral root that seems to halt cold symptoms if taken early enough. Make a tea of sliced fresh ginger root, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and honey.
Chicken soup is good: Science actually backs this old-fashioned notion. Chicken soup contains cysteines, which thin mucus. Spike it with garlic (to kill germs) and hot red pepper flakes (to clear congestion).
Take Vitamin C: We know that vitamin C can help fight infection, so increasing our intake by eating plenty of berries, citrus fruits, papayas, broccoli and red peppers will help keep us protected all-year long. To boost your immune system, take a hefty dose, around 1000-3000mg for a short period of time.
Raw honey: Unpasteurised (raw) honey is an antimicrobial agent and antioxidant. It boosts immunity and suppresses coughs, which is helpful for kids under age 6 who can’t take over-the-counter cough medicine
Stay hydrated: Proper hydration can help your body fight infection. To ensure you’re staying hydrated, try to drink lots of fluids. This can include water, decaffeinated tea, juice (but skip anything with too much sugar), and soup. Avoid beverages that dehydrate you - like sodas or coffee.
Use garlic: Garlic has a long-standing history and reputation for keeping winter bugs at bay. Garlic does in fact have antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, making it a great addition to your cold and flu armoury.
Ease your sore throat: A sore throat can be a constant irritation when you have a cold. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to soothe it. You can make your own honey, lemon, and ginger cough drops. There are several recipes available online - find one that works for you. Sip warm tea with honey and lemon. Gargle with warm saltwater.
Use vaporiser: When mucus builds up in your nasal passages and lungs, it causes congestion and a general feeling of stuffiness. Most congestion from a cold will clear up on its own over time, but you can sometimes reduce it if you use a cool mist vaporizer.
Get some good rest: Fighting an illness can take a toll on your body. Giving your body the rest it needs, can help your immune system fight off the cold virus.
Wrap up warm: In order to avoid cold and flu you must wear warm clothes. Dress in layers and wear a hat, gloves and scarf. Clothes made from wool, cotton or fleecy fabrics are warmest. When you’re indoors, wear warm socks and slippers to keep your feet cosy. The great thing about layers is they give you options. Pile on the shirts and sweaters at the start of the day and peel off one or more as you warm up. Toss several blankets on top of your bed and kick them off at night if you get too warm.
Cook warming foods: When your body is building defenses against a cold virus, inflammation can occur. Try adding some spices to your food to potentially reduce inflammation - while giving your meal an extra kick of flavour: Add some turmeric, ginger, and garlic to soup. Sprinkle some cinnamon and clove in decaf tea. Use a dash of cayenne pepper in a dish to help temporarily clear a stuffy nose.
Act smart: Staying warm in the winter means more than throwing on a sweater and tucking into some soup or chilli. Taking care of your home’s heating system, being smart with your thermostat, and sealing your home all help warm up your house. Plus, giving your heating system some love and care will also increase its efficiency and lifespan, so you end up saving money over time.
Smog alert: While one should avoid direct exposure as much as possible, keep in mind that smog is higher early mornings and late evenings and in areas where the traffic is dense. People should avoid keeping their windows and doors open. Use air purifiers at home and in office, and keep the filters clean. Cover your face and hair if you intend to remain outdoors for long periods of time and also use protective eye-gear.
Stay active: Avoid sitting still for long periods. Even light exercise will help keep you warm. When you do sit down, put your feet up as it’s coldest nearest the ground. Get some indoor exercise by taking a group exercise class at the gym, running or power-walking up the stairs, jumping rope, or even just jogging in place. Also, play it smart and do your hardcore cleaning in the winter when you’re going to be indoors anyway. Not only will you get the chores done, you’ll also warm up as you move around!