Home Remedies for Cough and Cold for Adults
Your alarm goes off and as you reach for the snooze button, it hits you. Your throat is dry and scratchy. You try to stretch and as you suck in your breath, your left nostril clogs. That’s right, you’ve got a cold.
So what should you do? There’s a ton of advice out there and every year a new scientific breakthrough. The reality is, there are some simple things you can do that require little effort and will certainly lessen the effects, if not the duration, of your cold. Below, I’ve compiled a list of the top 3 things to do and NOT do when you’re battling the oldest virus known to man along with four easy home remedies someone with a cough and cold.
- Go to work if you don’t have to. If you’ve got one of those bosses that don’t care about your personal life, well, you might be screwed. Don’t lose your job over a cold. But if you can stay home, do it. Most companies these days do not want their employees coming to the office snuffling and coughing. It’ll be a tidal wave of lost productivity. If you do have to go in, bring your own tissues and a steady supply of Lysol. That’s just good manners.
- Drink alcohol. I grew up with the same old wives’ tales you did. A hot toddy or a nice whiskey might feel good on your goopy, scratchy throat but you’ll be dehydrating yourself at a time when your body needs as much moisture as you can give it. Alcohol will only stress your body more when it’s already stressed enough and can make it harder for you to accurately gauge your symptoms (I mean, you’re probably already a bit groggy, no?). Bottom line, it suppresses your immune system.
- Take a fever reducer unless you’re totally miserable. I know, I know, this goes against what countless doctors have told their patients. But that fever is your body’s natural defense against the virus. Your body heats up because the cold virus (along with many other viruses) cannot survive high temperatures. Not only that, but it triggers the production of T-Cells, your immune system’s front line of defense. So keep a blanket handy for when you get cold, and wear layers for when you get hot, and let your body fight the good fight.
- Rest. Now’s the time to catch up on the last season of The Walking Dead, or The Real Housewives, or whatever you’re into. Or read. The point is to lounge on your couch or bed, and do as little as possible. Sleep when you need to, and don’t when you don’t. That fever you didn’t treat is also tiring your body out, and the less you tax your system, the more your system can fight the virus.
- Eat chicken soup. This is an old wives’ tale that has stood the test of science. Chicken stock contains a chemical called cysteine that helps thin the mucous in your upper respiratory tract, and the more you can keep that stuff moving, the quicker you feel better and the less likely you are to develop a sinus or ear infection. I always keep chicken bones or chicken stock already made in the freezer for when my kids, and then I, get a cold. Store bought stuff is just as good as homemade, however. If your stomach is off, just try to drink the broth from a cup. If you’re up to cooking, the simple act of simmering it on the stove has the added benefit of steaming up your house, which will also help unclog that left nostril.
- Drink plenty of fluids. This is another time your mother was right. Those fluids also help flush the mucous out of your system. The best thing to drink? Juice with 100% RDA of Vitamin C is good, but the best thing is tea with organic honey. The science is mixed on honey because of limited studies, but a lot of people swear by its ability to inhibit coughs, which means you’ll sleep better. It’s a known anti-inflammatory, and some studies have also suggested that honey has antibacterial properties, which is why it’s been known as the “Jewish Penicillin”. Also, if you’re drinking enough that you have to go to the bathroom every hour or two, you are doing even more to flush that nasty little virus out of your system.
4 Home Remedy Tricks to Getting Over a Cold
Studies have found that honey can work more efficiently to calm a cough than over-the-counter drugs and medicine. It is a rich demulcent, with a high viscosity and stickiness that does an incredible job of coating and soothing those irritated mucous membranes. There is an enzyme added by bees when they harvest honey which has antibacterial properties to help shorten how long you have the cough if it is due to bacterial illness.
Honey contains a treasure chest of hidden nutritional and medicinal value for centuries (Link)
What to do: Eat 1 tablespoon of organic, raw, honey
2. Steam Shower
Steam is very underrated when it comes to dealing with a cough, cold, or congestion. Not only does the steam quite literally loosen mucous and phlegm, almost immediately, but you can add numerous essential oils that will impart wonderful healing benefits.
These benefits (anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory etc.) do become airborne, so you inhale them while you breathe in the steam.
3. Carrot Juice
Carrot juice has a high content of beta carotene and has a strong source of vitamin A. It also is high in B complex vitamins like folate, and many minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Carrots can help relieve various symptoms of a cough. Make fresh juice from four to five carrots and add some water to dilute it. For taste and added benefits, add one teaspoon of honey.
Carrot Juice is one of those miracle concoctions that is good for various purposes. It helps treat and prevent diseases and helps improve our vision, skin, hair, nail etc. Drinking carrot juice daily is a habit that everyone should start, as it is both healthy and tasty as well. Not a combination that is easy to find! (Link)
Drink the juice three to four times a day until your symptoms improve.
4. Ginger Peppermint Syrup
Spicy ginger works as an expectorant, helping loosen and expel mucous from the lungs.
Chop up some ginger and add it along with some peppermint to 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so that the liquid simmer. Simmer until the liquid has been reduced by half, than strain. Let it cool slightly, and then stir in 1 cup of honey until it has been dissolved completely. Bottle and take 1 tablespoon every few hours as needed to ease your cough.