Written by Lisa Allen, MD
Is there really a cold and flu season or is it just a coincidence that people get runny noses and coughs during the winter?
Actually, cold weather is proven to spread disease due to the lower moisture content in the air, making a person more prone to infection. The flu virus survives longer outside of the human body due to low humidity.
All of these factors attack someone’s weakened immune system, causing uncomfortable symptoms associated with the cold or flu.
We will explore five natural methods you can do to help relieve some symptoms.
There are many natural cold and flu supplements that you can try to help avoid getting sick altogether or to treat symptoms.
However, before buying any type of supplement, we want to remind you that some products are not tested enough, nor are approved by the FDA.
To ensure you’re getting a quality product that is actually effective, do your research first. You can find websites that review different products and read what experts say about each ingredient, such as this Research Verified review.
Taking a supplement should not cause additional worries.
Zinc relieves symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. It has even been proven that it shortens the length of the infection itself, and can prevent people from getting colds in the first place.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C has varying opinions about its efficacy for treating colds. Research has proven that taking vitamin C can help prevent getting a cold or the flu. This vitamin can also shorten the duration of your cold by two or three days. Children should not take high levels of vitamin C as it could cause stomach issues.
Turmeric has an active ingredient called curcumin which has many health benefits. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, and is a popular spice and supplement used for all sorts of medical conditions from depression to an upset stomach. Turmeric helps soothe your stomach and helps regulate your bowels. Spooning a few spoonfuls in your tea can also help with decongestion.
Chicken Soup: Just Like Grandma Used To Make
There are three specific liquids that have proven to help reduce flu and cold symptoms:
- Chicken soup
- Salt water
If you have a cold, you need to pack your body full of nutrients, especially essential vitamins we have outlined above that your body needs to fight off disease.
Eating foods when you have a stuffy nose is undesirable, as you can’t taste anything, but if you drink most of your foods, taste won’t really matter.
Chicken soup has many health benefits for your cold: its steam can help decongest your stuffy nose, and you can help your overall health with the vitamin C and beta-carotene from celery and carrots.
Tea with lemon or honey helps soothe your raw throat and dries out mucus. After your fever breaks from your flu, you can get your strength back by sipping on some tea and consuming soup.
Lastly, gargling with salt water is a natural and effective way to reduce the redness and inflammation in your throat. It helps clear out phlegm and acts as a cough suppressant.
Don’t Spread Germs: Wash Your Hands
If you work with children, you already know how quickly germs can spread.
You probably already have some hand sanitizer in every pocket and regularly wash your hands with warm, soapy water.
The closer proximity you have with other people, the more likely it is for you to catch any disease they may have.
The separation between staying healthy and getting contaminated could be just one doorknob – so keep hand sanitizer nearby!
Don’t Cough On People
This seems like an obvious thing to point out, but it still needs to be said: your coughs carry all kinds of germs, including particles of mucus.
Cough into a tissue or into your elbow to avoid spreading your germs.
Avoid coughing into your hands if you have to, because you can still contaminate people through your hands that are now carrying your germs.
Use a Humidifier
If you have a stuffy, runny nose, using a humidifier does wonders to clearing up your sinuses.
The cold, dry air in the winter dries up and damages the mucus membranes in your nose.
Using a humidifier loosens mucus build-up and helps you breathe better.