You know that the common cold can be one of the most fatiguing features of winter, often lasting weeks. The flu is another debilitating infection, often more serious and accompanied by a high fever, body aches, and chills. Here are some natural treatments that may help you shorten the life of a cold or flu and get you back on your feet:
Curb your cold or flu with supplements
Immune-boosting supplements may be helpful in fighting off a virus and strengthening your body’s defense system.
A short list includes:
Homeopathic remedies for the cold and flu—Products such as Oscillococcinum may decrease severity and duration of flu symptoms.
Vitamin C—A higher-than-normal dose of 1,000 to 4,000 mg per day may make your cold shorter and milder.
Echinacea—At the onset of a cold or flu, 3 to 4 ml of echinacea in a liquid preparation or 300 mg of a powdered form in capsule or tablet can be taken every two hours for the first day of illness, then three times per day for a total of seven to ten days.
Zinc lozenges—Use lozenges containing zinc gluconate, zinc gluconate-glycine, or zinc acetate, providing 13 to 25 mg every two hours, to help stop the cold virus and shorten the illness.
Get your Zs and your fluids
Dr. Woodson Merrell of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City advises staying home if you are ill. “You are more likely to rest and drink more fluids in an unstructured home environment,” she says.
Stay hydrated—Noncaffeinated drinks, including water and low-sugar juices, may help loosen and clear out mucus, soothe a sore throat, and replace fluid loss due to a fever or runny nose. Warm liquids, like herbal teas or soups, not only hydrate but their heat may also help fight off the infection and relieve congestion.
Take it easy—Lie down, stay warm, and sleep if you feel tired. This keeps all the body’s energy available for combating the virus. If you have trouble relaxing, dim the lights, watch your favorite movie, or take a bath.
Don’t dry out—humidity helps
Because the cold and flu thrive in cold, dry environments, you can help boot out the virus infection by staying warm and raising humidity levels. Also, at very low levels of humidity, the nose mucus dries up and isn’t able to defend as well against harmful viruses and bacteria.
Use a nasal mist to keep your nose mucus moist.
Use a humidifier at work and home.
Warm your hands and put your face over the rising steam as you sip your herbal tea.