The common cold is a minor ailment yet one that greatly slows down our daily routine and in most cases, brings it to a temporary stop. Common colds are caused by more than 200 viruses the symptoms of which are a runny nose, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, sneezing,fever and a general sense of malaise.
Usually a cold will last for about seven days. It spreads rapidly through the air or through contact with an infected person or contaminated surfaces.
All the years of medical research have not found a cure for the common cold and the medication available is usually to manage the symptoms rather than cure the disease. Antihistamines, oral
and topical decongestants, cough syrups, lozenges and mouthwash are just some of the medications prescribed or bought over-the-counter.
Antibiotics do not help in this case as they target bacteria whereas the cold is caused by viruses.
Aside from conventional drugs, natural cures do an equally good job and can save you some money. These are not instant solutions, but they do give the body a chance to heal itself naturally over the course of the illness. Here are some easy-to-follow remedies readily available in your kitchen:
For all-round relief:
1. Dilute one lemon in a glass of warm water. Add a teaspoon of honey. Take this twice a day;
2. Make ginger tea by boiling a cup of water and a teaspoon of ginger. It is even better to use a fresh piece of ginger. Let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes. Pour in a cup and add a tablespoon of honey and juice of half a lemon. Take at least two portions a day;
3. Make use of the antioxidant benefits of green tea. Sip throughout the day; 4. Eat three cloves of raw garlic once daily. Chew on fresh parsley to get rid of garlic breath;
5. S tock up on lots of chicken soup.Studies have shown that it contains anti-inflammatory properties that fight cold symptoms. It is also packed with nutrition which you need to get better.
To decongest the passageways:
Pour hot water into a basin/bucket and add a blob or two of Rob, Vicks or similar vaporiser. Drape a towel over your head and bend over the basin/ bucket to inhale the steam. Come up for air every few seconds and as your passageways get decongested, blow your nose. Repeat until you feel some
relief. If your nose is too stuffy, you can inhale the steam through your mouth and be careful not to get burned. You can also apply the vaporiser under your nose or on your chest to relieve pain and to aid breathing.
For a dry and stuffy nose:
Add ¼ teaspoon of salt to 5ml lukewarm water. Use one to two drops in each nostril at least three
times a day.
For sore throat:
Gargle salt solution of one teaspoon salt and a glass of warm water several times a day.
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