It’s that time of year when everybody’s a bit under the weather.
Here are some ways as to how you can combat that lingering cough, sore throat and runny nose
Treason of colds and flu is very much upon us. Chances are you and your colleagues will be struck down with sniffles, coughs and sore throats at some point in these coming months. Probably more than once. But surely there must be a way to prevent the common cold or at least lessen its impact until it goes away. Here are some tried, tested and scientifically proven ways to get rid of your cold.
Painkillers such as ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin are the only medication known to treat colds. They come in many different forms and the painkiller based cold remedies often come with other ingredients that are supposed to help.
But whether you decide to take these in pill, capsule, soluble tablet or hot drinks, the thing that’s doing the most good is the painkiller.
That said, decongestants taken orally or by nasal droplets can help too, by relieving that blocked up feeling and clearing out your sinus cavities. Most cold and flu remedy pills and hot drinks will have some kind of decongestant in them. They can give you a bit of a pickme-up too, which can be helpful during the day but a nightmare if you are trying to go to sleep.
Finally, there’s some recent research which suggests that taking zinc syrup, tablets or lozenges could speed up your recovery and reduce any discomfort while you are still ill. But it’s not a good idea to take that for a long time, because it can have side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea.
CHECK THE BOX
As with any medication, you should always check the box to make sure anything you’re taking for your cold isn’t going to badly interact with any other medications you’re taking. Some antidepressants can react badly when combined with decongestants. If you’re in any doubt, check the NHS website or talk to your doctor.
SHOULD I PESTER MY DOCTOR FOR ANTIBIOTICS?
No. Your cold is almost certainly caused by a viral infection. Antibiotics are for bacterial infections and will do absolutely nothing to relieve a viral one.What they might do is give you unpleasant side effects and increase your resistance to antibiotics, so they might not work when you eventually have a bacterial infection and do need them.
WHAT ABOUT NON-MEDICATED OPTIONS?
Inhaling steam can help loosen the mucus in your nose, making it easier to clear by blowing your nose out. Fill a bowl with hot water, put a towel over your head and breathe deeply with your eyes closed. If you’re at work and can’t get away with having a bowl of hot water on your desk, chemists sell `inhalators’. While they’re essentially just big plastic jugs with a mouthpiece they’re almost as good as a bowl, and much less complicated.
For your sore throat you could suck on menthol sweets or gargle with salt water. Also be sure to drink a glass of water before you blow your nose.
EATING, DRINKING AND RESTING
When you’ve got a cold, you sweat a lot and have a runny nose so if you don’t replace those fluids, you’ll just feel worse. Drink plenty of fluids. You should also rest up. While we’re not saying you should take a week off work, you’ll get better faster if you rest. And you should eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet (even though it’s tempting to indulge in food that’s high on sugar and carbs when you’re ill), including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables but that’s pretty much true whether you have a cold or not. And for goodness sake, wash your hands and sneeze into a tissue.
WHAT ABOUT HERBAL REMEDIES?
There are plenty of herbal remedies for the common cold out there the most commonly cited is Echinacea. While people claim the herb makes people recover from the common cold quicker than paracetamol based remedies, there’s no firm evidence to support this.
There have been various trials with in conclusive results, but nothing solid.
The same can be said for vitamin C.
While many claim it has preventative and healing properties with regard to the cold and flu, studies found it has very , very limited benefit.