Nasopharyngitis, head cold, acute coryza or rhinopharyngitis are the words that are synonymous with the common cold. A cold is caused due to viral infection, and it is the ailment of the upper respiratory tract that has an effect on the nose. It also affects the sinuses, throat, and eyes. Surprisingly, there is still no medicine in the world that can cure the common cold. It is almost useless to consume pills during a cold as those pills can just treat a few of symptoms of cold and not the cause of the illness.
The main cause of a cold is a virus, which can enter your body directly or indirectly through the mouth, nose, or eyes by way of any of the following:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Hand shaking
- Sharing of contaminated utensils, towels, and other objects
The symptoms of a cold can vary from person to person. They can even be different each time you get a cold.
The reason why there are so many symptoms of a cold and that they vary so much is because different viruses can cause a cold. So, what you experience when you get sick depends largely on the virus that led to your illness.
You may experience some or all of the following symptoms when you come down with a cold.
- Runny nose
- Nose and chest congestion
- Watery eyes
- Constant sneezing
- Mild fever
- Little body ache
- Mild fatigue
- Sore throat due to chocking and accumulation of cough
- Harsh voice
- Pain, itching and irritation in the nasal passage
- Loss of appetite
- Clogged ears due to accumulation of cough
- Bad taste buds
Home Remedies for Common Cold
Below are some home remedies for a cold that can effectively control the symptoms and help you to feel better faster.
1. Fluids : While suffering from a cold, you should drink a lot of fluids, especially those which will make your nose clear and free from mucus. You can consume chicken or vegetable broth to combat the problem and lower its effects. You should drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day normally to stay helathy, but it is even more important when you are sick. You can also sip chamomile tea, ginger tea, mullein tea, or other herbal teas.
2. Steam Inhalation : Inhaling steam is one of the most effective ways to get rid of a stuffy nose. It clears out the nasal passages by making the mucus runny. You can add a few drops of eucalyptus or lavender oil in two cups of steaming hot water, bend over the bowl with your head covered with a towel, and inhale the steam at least for 4-5 minutes.
3. Blow your Nose : One of the best and hassle-free cures to get rid of cold faster is to blow your nose regularly. Many people sniff in the mucus, which not only blocks your ears but also makes your cold stay around longer. Hold one nostril while blowing mucus from the other to help clean your nasal passage out.
4. Salt Water : Gargle with lukewarm water with a little salt in it. Salt can treat a sore throat that is scratchy and itchy. Do it at least four times a day for effective results.
5. Citrus Fruits : Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lime, and grapefruit, are the best treatment for the common cold. You can also drink the juices of these fruits.
6. Steam Bath : Taking a steam bath will also benefit the whole body, including your nose and throat. It will moisturize and soothe your body to provide relief.
7. Menthol : Menthol has a strong aroma and is very helpful in opening up closed nasal passage. Put some menthol drops in hot water and inhale the steam or simply put a few drops on your pillow to let the strong aroma do its job.
8. Extra Pillow Below Head : When you are experiencing cold that includes a stuffy nose, sleep with an extra pillow under your head as this will elevate your head a little more, thus, preventing your nose from getting congested.
9. Saline Nasal Drops : Use a mixture of water and salt and sprayed inside the nose as drops. It clears out the nasal blockage of mucus.
You can also put saline nasal solution in a neti pot. Put the solution in one nostril, and it will flow out through the other nostril, giving you immense relief from swelling and inflammation in the nose.
10. Honey : Honey is an old remedy that is quite effective in treating the cold. Take a tablespoon of honey and heat it for a few seconds. Add a pinch of black pepper and consume it for quick and effective results. Black pepper will relieve a sore throat as well.
You can also mix fresh lemon juice in honey to speed up the healing process. The antioxidants and Vitamin C present in fresh lemons strengthens the immune system.
11. Vitamin Pills : It is also advisable to consume vitamin and mineral pills regularly to make your body immune towards a cold. Plus, it adds more strength to your body to fight infections.
12. Garlic : Garlic is a good herbal remedy for fighting against illness. You can prepare garlic tea for quick relief. Crush 2-3 garlic cloves and add them to two cups of boiling water. Simmer it for 10-15 minutes. Strain and cool it to mouth temperature. Now, add a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and raw honey.
13. Red Onion : Peel a red onion and cut them into slices. Now, place these onion slices in a bowl and coat them with honey. Put it in the refrigerator for a night. Eat it in the morning.
14. Vicks VapoRub : Massage your chest, back and neck with Vicks VapoRub. It will provide you relief from cold and nasal congestion.
15. Homemade Decongestant : Take a little oil in a pan. Saute minced onion in it. Now, mix 1 cup of vinegar in it. To prepare a thick paste, add cornmeal to it. Put the paste in a muslin cloth and cover it. Apply it on your chest and throat area. Cover with a blanket or towel. Let it stay for 12-15 minutes.
Homeopathic Remedies for Cold
If you want to try herbal or homeopathic remedies to help treat your cold and heal faster, then you may want to give the following a try.
Do keep in mind that if you are using other medications, herbal remedies may interfere or interact with them. In any situation, it is best to check with your doctor before using any type of homeopathic substance.
1. Aconitum : This one is effective if the patient has developed cold due to dry and cold weather. It works great if consumed during the first 24 hours of the cold attack.
2. Allium cepa : This one works well against symptoms that include red and watery eyes and burning and irritation in the nasal area. It is also effective for treating congestion and headache.
3. Natrum mur : This is meant for patients with burning eyes or watery discharge from the eyes. It is a good homeopathic remedy for children and also alleviates the symptoms, such as thick white mucus and chronic nasal congestion.
4. Pulsatilla : It is given to the patients that experience a bland nasal discharge that is without any burning or itchy sensation. It is effective for greenish or yellowish mucus from the nose.
Other homeopathic medications that are also quite effective are: Nux vomica, Natrum mur, Calcarea carb, Arsenicum, Belladonna, Euphrasia, Gelsemium, etc.
In addition to trying home remedies to treat your cold symptoms, there are some general things you can do to avoid transmitting the virus or picking up a new one. Make these into new habits so you can stay healthy.
- Always wash your hands before touching eyes, nose, and mouth through which a virus can enter your body quite easily.
- Use paper towels to dry your hands and throw them away after use.
- Avoid getting close to people physically if they have cold or if you are suffering from a cold.
- While sneezing, cover your face with a handkerchief or tell a person suffering from a cold to do so.
- Avoid smoking as smoking may congest your air passage more and worsen the condition.
- Always keep surroundings clean, especially if someone in your household is infected.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle through good eating and sleeping habits.
- Don’t share utensils and towels with the infected person.
- The immune systems of people who have high stress levels are usuauly weak, putting them at more risk to catch a cold. So, control your stress levels as much as possible.