When you get a cold or flu, it’s important to try and reduce the severity of your symptoms as much as possible.
Fortunately, there are many simple home remedies you can do at home to help alleviate your symptoms and make them go away more quickly. These remedies may also help your body heal from the infection quicker.
1. Gargle with Salt Water
A sore throat is one of the most annoying and uncomfortable symptoms of an infection. They often come on quickly and can leave you feeling miserable for a few days, but most sore throats get better within a week.
A salt water gargle can help soothe your throat and relieve pain, but you must be consistent with this remedy. Albany ear, nose and throat doctors recommend gargling two to four times a day, depending on your severity of symptoms.
The saline solution also draws virus and bacteria to the surface of the throat, where they can be flushed out. Moisture on the surface of the throat also acts as a lubricant, helping to ease irritation and inflammation.
In addition, saltwater gargles have been shown to reduce harmful mouth and throat bacteria and lower the risk of developing gum disease (gingivitis) – an oral disease that causes swollen gums and tooth loss. Moreover, the warm saltwater can balance the pH in your mouth, which helps keep natural mouth bacteria alive and healthy.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water is one of the first things that you should do when you are sick. It’s not only important to prevent dehydration, but it can also help relieve your symptoms like runny noses and aches.
When you are sick, your body loses fluids faster than usual, especially if you have fever, diarrhea, or vomiting. It is crucial to stay hydrated so that your body can properly flush out toxins and get rid of any infection.
However, drinking too much water can actually be dangerous. In fact, it can lead to hyponatremia or water intoxication, which is dangerously low sodium levels that can kill you if not caught in time.
This is a very rare occurrence but doctors warn that there is no clear guidance on how much water is safe to consume when ill. The case of a 59-year-old woman in London was published in BMJ Case Reports this week and doctors are calling for better guidelines to be drawn up.
Doctors advise that everyone should drink enough water to keep their sodium and potassium levels balanced. The recommendation is to aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day. It is also essential to drink fluids that are enriched with electrolytes.
3. Take a Hot Bath or Shower
Taking a warm bath can help to break a fever, relieve congestion and relax sore muscles. Adding essential oils like lavender and eucalyptus can also help you to relax and unwind.
Despite the fact that you may be too ill to enjoy a long hot bath, it is important to take one whenever possible, as it is one of the most effective remedies for reducing inflammation and helping to alleviate symptoms of colds and flu. In addition, a warm bath can also soothe skin conditions like eczema and reduce redness, irritation, and pain.
If you are prone to coughing, it is also a good idea to take a bath when you are sick because the steam produced in the water can clear your nose and ease nasal congestion. It is also recommended to stay in the bath for no longer than 20 minutes, so as not to disrupt your body’s ability to regulate your temperature.
A hot shower can also be beneficial to your health, but there are some things you need to know before jumping in. First, the water should not be too hot because it can irritate and aggravate conditions such as eczema.
Second, it is not recommended for those with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease as it can cause problems in these people. Finally, it is not a good option if you have a skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema because the hot water can dry out the skin.
4. Diffuse Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is a great natural remedy for when you are sick because it can help relieve coughs, colds and a chest infection. It can also be used as a nasal decongestant to ease sinus congestion. It’s commonly included in vapor rubs and cough drops.
It’s also a good insect repellent and it can be used as a home disinfectant to kill bacteria in the house. It’s also a good natural oral health product to freshen your breath.
The essential oil of the eucalyptus tree has antimicrobial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps fight bad breath and halitosis.
Another benefit of eucalyptus oil is that it can ease a headache. It can be diffused in the air or used as a massage oil on your temples and back of the neck.
It can also be used as a nasal spray to alleviate a sinus condition that causes headaches. It can also be diffused in a bath to soothe and relax your body.
It is important to dilute eucalyptus oil when applying it topically. It should only be used on the skin after consulting your dermatologist. It is not suitable for infants and young children as it can cause severe rashes.
5. Drink a Hot Herbal Tea
Whether you’re sick or just feel like treating yourself, drinking a hot herbal tea is an easy and healthy way to boost your immune system. Herbal teas contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation, fight off viruses, and promote good health overall.
The key is to choose the right herbal tea for you. The best types of teas are made from herbs, which have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
A cup of tea can help relieve a sore throat, decrease inflammation and reduce mucus production. Herbal teas can also improve your sleep if you’re having trouble falling asleep at night.
Herbal teas are brewed by infusing various plant parts including roots, seeds, bark, leaves, and flowers. They are often caffeine-free and contain combinations of ingredients that experts call “tisanes.”
Rose hips, for example, have a high content of vitamin C. This vitamin can help prevent colds and flu by strengthening the immune system.
Drinking a cup of rose hip tea can also soothe a sore stomach, since it contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It can also help boost your immune system and increase energy levels.
A recent study suggests that drinking a cold glass of tea can increase fat oxidation, which is a metabolic process in which the body breaks down fat to produce energy. This is good news for those who want to lose weight and boost their energy level!
6. Inhale Steam
Steam inhalation is an age-old remedy that is commonly used for treating respiratory issues such as a cold and sinus infections. It is a simple non-invasive treatment that relieves inflammation, loosens mucus, and opens the airways to ease congestion.
To use steam inhalation, fill a bowl with hot water and place it firmly on a flat surface. You can also use a commercially available steam inhaler, but always read the instructions and make sure to use the correct temperature.
Before using steam inhalation, check with your doctor to ensure it is safe for you. Depending on your symptoms, you may be directed to use it for up to 15 minutes twice or thrice a day.
A steam inhaler may be purchased at a local pharmacy or health store. They are easy to use and come with a lid for safe storage.
You can also prepare your own herbal steam by boiling a pot of water and pouring in fresh or dried herbs. Choose herbs such as thyme, mint, basil, rosemary, and eucalyptus.
Inhaling steam is also a good idea before bed to help you fall asleep and improve your sleep quality, according to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine. It may also help to relieve nasal congestion and soothe a cough. The key is to use a mixture of herbs that you enjoy the smell and feel comfortable with.