Come winters common cold is common in almost every household. The presence of viruses which become active with the onset of winter triggers running of the nose and a host of other respiratory diseases. Cold often always begins with the nose, but slowly starts affecting the whole body. The symptoms include running nose, sneezing, sore throat, chills, fever, headache and body pains. A person affected with cold becomes weak and lethargic. However, cold cannot be avoided as it rules in this season. Medications may not always provide complete relief. Hence a few home concoctions that might give the much needed respite when contacted with the virus –
Gargling with Warm Water
The moment you feel the sensation of congestion in your throat or suspect cold, gargling warm water with a pinch of salt ensures a clear throat and might even prevent the further entry of the viruses into the system.
Inhalation of steam
Inhalation of steam from a steam vaporizer provides relief from a stuffy and blocked nose. The hot steam kills any germs present in the nasal tract. Be careful that the steam is not too hot as it might injure the delicate nasal tissues. In the absence of a steam inhaler, make use of a kettle of hot water. When there is a doubt of contacting cold one can indulge in inhalation of steam to prevent it. When already contacted, one can apply balms or vaporizers for a better relief.
Drinking a hot, steaming cup of ginger tea is an effective home remedy in combating colds.
Tea with Mint
Tea with added mint (pudina) and Holy Basil (Tulasi) leaves clears the throat and nasal passages and can even prompt you to say ‘Wah Taj’ like the tabla maestro Zakir Hussain.
Hot steaming rasam
Hot steaming rasam (a South Indian soup) prepared with tamarind and black pepper helps flush out the unwanted toxins. As the nose and eyes water, the congested nasal passages are cleared.
Garlic soup, another oldie prepared by boiling a few garlic pods, helps decrease the intensity of a cold. Garlic can otherwise be also added to the above rasam for a better and integrated effect.
Add turmeric powder to warm milk and have it. It is an effective remedy as turmeric has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Vitamin C, being the anti-infective vitamin is a well known prescription for cold. The best option is to have lemon juice mixed in a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of honey as it contains abundant amounts of vitamin c and builds the body resistance.
Children can always be given a teaspoon of Tulasi leaves juice mixed with honey to relieve nasal congestion. Adults however can chew the holy basil for relief.
Wash your hands
Before handling eatables or anything related to food or drink, wash hands thoroughly with an antiseptic hand-wash or if outside clean your hands with a hand sanitizer. This act minimizes entry of cold causing microbes into your system.
During wet and humid months the common advice rendered is to steer away from the affected persons. Frankly, is it possible to keep a
close and loved one in exile for such a trivial cause and is it practically possible. The virus is spread all over. How long can children be kept away from school or play for fear of contact with the ‘cold virus’ (a dragon) from other affected children? A wise and intelligent option is to teach and follow hygienic health habits –
- Changing clothes and cleaning up thoroughly once from school or play or work.
- Washing hands before eating.
- Using a handkerchief or hand towel while sneezing or coughing to prevent the spread of microbes.
- Reducing intake of cold causing foods like chilled juices and water, ice-creams and others.
- Drink copious amounts of water to detoxify and flush out the toxins from your body.
- Even after all these measures, if cold strikes follow one or more of the above methods to get relief.
Remember an attack of cold is just seasonal. It is always not necessary to resort to antibiotics or other medications, sometimes small ailments can be better handled with effective home remedies before they become chronic. If the cold persists don’t forget to approach a doctor for treatment and cure. The above methods can always substantiate the effect of medicines. A balanced diet devoid of high-fat and indigestible foods and with plenty of vitamin c rich citrus fruits provides immunity against cold. Brisk walking, deep breathing techniques like pranayama, kapalbhati, inhaling fresh air strengthens the immune system and neutralizes the ill-effects of bad weather.