Achoo! It’s that time of year again. Unfortunately, you’ve woken up feeling sick, stuffy and sore.
Millions of Americans are infected with the cold or flu each year, and though it is a miserable process to get rid of the illness, there are some at-home remedies that have been studied and verified as effective.
Today, we’ll look at some natural solutions for common viral symptoms:
Sore Throat? Gargle Salt Water
If a scratchy, irritated throat is ailing you, dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water and gargle for thirty seconds. Water follows salt and, through a process called osmosis, this remedy will actually pull viral fluids out of the throat. Gargle several times per day for maximum benefit.
Stop a Cough with Honey
Not just delicious -- honey soothes inflamed mucus membranes which helps to repress a persistent cough. In a Mayo Clinic study, honey was found to be just as effective as dextromethorphan, a common cough suppressant ingredient. Treat yourself to a tablespoon before bed to help improve your sleep
Sip on Ginger Tea for an Upset Stomach
The National Institutes of Health found that ginger alleviates nausea as effectively as some prescribed anti-nausea medications (and it has zero side effects!). Steep freshly grated or sliced ginger in four ounces of hot water and sip slowly. It’s anti-inflammatory properties help regulate blood pressure and aid digestion. This remedy, however, is not recommended for those taking blood thinners without consulting a doctor.
Reduce Fever and Aches With a Lukewarm Salt Bath
Lukewarm water will feel cool when your body temperature is increased, and the addition of epsom salt will help detoxify and soothe sore muscles as the magnesium and sulfate found in epsom salt are often hailed for their anti-inflammatory and detoxifying benefits. Be sure not to use cold water, as that can actually trigger an increase in body temperature!
Get Some Sun and Fresh Air
Although you may want to hide under the covers in a dark room watching movies all day, it will actually benefit you to spend a little time outside! Harvard Medical School found that the Vitamin D boost from sunlight may benefit your immune system more than highly touted Vitamin C. Gentle exercise, such as a walk around the block, combined with fresh air can also help speed up the recovery process.
The Best Remedy? Rest!
It might be tempting to push through your illness and continue your day as normal, but that ultimately will make it much harder to recover (and you risk infecting others!). Sleep improves the production of T cells, which are immune cells that fight pathogens. Adrenaline and noradrenaline are at their lowest when we’re asleep, which helps the T cells do their job most efficiently!
When To See a Doctor:
- If the affected person is under two-years-old
- If you are unable to keep down water and stay hydrated
- If you are having extreme difficulty breathing
- If your fever reaches over 101.3 degrees fahrenheit or lasts more than five days