12 Natural Treatment Tips for Colds and Flu
Know When not to Treat Symptoms
For example, a fever is your body’s way of trying to destroy viruses by creating a hotter-than-normal environment. Furthermore, a fever’s hot environment causes germ-killing proteins in your blood to circulate more speedily and effectively. So, if you endure a mild fever for a day or two, you may get well quicker.
Coughing is another natural productive symptom; it unblocks your breathing passages of thick mucus that can transfer germs to your lungs and the rest of your body. Even that stuffy nose is best treated moderately or not at all.
A decongestant, like Sudafed, regulates flow to the blood vessels in your nose and throat. But usually, you want the increase blood flow because it warms the infected zone and helps secretions move germs out of your body.
Blow Your Nose Often (and the Right Way)
It’s necessary to blow your nose frequently when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head. But when you blow hard, pressure can take germ-carrying phlegm back into your ear passages, creating earache. The best way to clear your nose: Press a finger over one nostril while you blow mildly to clear the other.
Treat That Stuffy Nose With Warm Salt Water
Salt-water rinsing helps clear nasal congestion, while also eliminating virus particles and bacteria from your nose. Here’s a familiar recipe:
Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt with 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 8 ounces of lukewarm water. Use a bulb syringe or nasal irrigation kit to squirt water inside the nose. Hold one nostril by applying light finger pressure while squirting the salt mixture into another nostril. Let it drain. Repeat two to three times, then treat another nostril.
Stay Warm and Rested
Staying warm when you first come down with a cold or the flu eases your body direct its energy to the immune battle. This encounter taxes the body. So give it a small help by resting.
Gargling can moisten a sore throat and make temporary relief. Gargle with half a teaspoon of salt melted in 8 ounces warm water, four times every day.
To decrease the tickle in your throat, try an astringent gargle — such as tea that carries tannin — to tighten the membranes. Or use a thick, viscous gargle prepared with honey or honey and (ACV) apple cider vinegar.
Seep one tablespoon of raspberry leaves with lemon juice in two cups of heated water; combine with one teaspoon of honey. Let the mix cool to room temperature before gargling.
Drink Hot Liquids
Hot liquids ease nasal congestion, limit dehydration, and calm the uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat. If you’re so congested that you can’t rest at night, try a hot toddy, an age-old treatment.
Prepare a cup of hot herbal tea. Add one teaspoon of honey and one little shot (about 1 ounce) of whiskey or bourbon. Limit yourself to one. Too much whiskey will inflame the membranes and make you feel sicker.
Take a Steamy Shower
Steamy showers moisturize your nasal tunnels and may help you relax. If you’re weak from the flu, run a steamy shower while you sit on a chair nearby and do a sponge bath.
Use a Salve Under Your Nose
A small dab of mentholated balm under your nose can help to clear breathing passages and restore the disturbed skin at the base of the nose. Menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor all have light numbing ingredients that may decrease the pain of a nose rubbed raw. But, only put it on the outside, right under your nose, not inside your nose.
Apply Hot or Cold Packs Around Your Congested Sinuses
Either temperature works. You can get reusable hot or cold packs at a drugstore or create your own. You can apply heat by using a damp washcloth and warming it up for 55 seconds in a microwave (dont forget to test the temperature first to make assured it’s not too hot.) Also, a small bag of frozen peas works excellently as a cold pack.
Sleep With an Extra Pillow Under Your Head
Elevating your head will help free congested nasal passages. If the angle is too uncomfortable, try placing the pillows between the mattress and the box springs to form a more gradual slope.
Don’t Fly Unless Necessary
There’s no point adding stress to your stressed-out upper respiratory system, and that’s what the shift in air pressure will do.
Flying with cold or flu congestion can temporarily damage your eardrums as a result of pressure differences during takeoff and landing. If you must fly, then use a decongestant and carry a nasal spray with you to use only before takeoff and landing. Chewing gum and swallowing repeatedly can also help relieve pressure.
Eat Infection-Fighting Foods
Here are some excellent foods to consume when you’re battling a cold or flu:
- Bananas and rice to calm an upset stomach and curb diarrhea
- Blueberries curb diarrhea and are rich in natural aspirin, which may reduce fevers and help with aches and pains
- Carrots, which carry beta-carotene
- Chili peppers may clear sinuses, and help break up mucus in the lungs
- Vitamin C-containing foods like bell peppers
- Cranberries may help block bacteria from sticking to cells lining the bladder and urinary tract
- Mustard or horseradish may help break up phlegm in air passages
- Onions contain phytochemicals meant to help the clear body from bronchitis and other infections
- Black and green tea carry catechin, a phytochemical purported to have natural antibiotic and anti-diarrhea results
Remember, dangerous conditions, such as sinus infections, bronchitis, meningitis, strep throat, and asthma, can seem like the common cold. If you have severe symptoms or don’t appear to be getting better, call your doctor.