Is it just us, or has it taken a turn for the colder this week? Lower temperatures mean that coughs and colds will soon be on the rise, and when that happens we just want to crawl into bed to hide until it goes away.
Prevention is better than cure, so if you feel the early signs of a cold taking hold, here are a few home treatments to help knock it on the head.
Get cosy: Though many of us choose to ‘push through it’ when we start to feel run down, you’re likely to beat the sniffles quicker if you stay warm and take it easy for a bit. This allows your body time to concentrate its energy on beating any nasty virus.You have our permission to rest up! Drinking warm milk, soup or a hot cuppa will also add much needed fluids whilst providing additional soothing effects.
Steamy breaths: If you’re congested, inhaling steam can clear a blocked nose. Many choose to do this by leaning over a bowl of boiling water, but our favourite method is to stay in a hot shower with the door closed for a few minutes after turning the water off. If your shower gel has eucalyptus in it, it’ll give the fumes an extra mucus-shifting boost.
Salty gargles: A great way of easing a sore throat is to gargle with warm salty water. It helps relieve a painful infection through osmosis - the salt draws fluids from the lining of your mouth and throat – and it remains there for a time to form a barrier that locks pathogens from getting back in. A teaspoon of the stuff will be more than enough for most glasses of water.
Take a pill: Over-the-counter remedies such as paracetamol or aspirin are really effective at easing the pain of headaches and sore throats, and can be taken at the first sign of trouble. Ibuprofen will also lower a fever.
Man-flu or full-on flu? : Although the early symptoms of cold and flu are similar, flu is more severe and will come on faster. It also presents at a higher temperature (around 40°C) whilst a cold rarely gives more than a mild fever. Unlike a cold, flu can also cause severe muscle aches, sweating and exhaustion, with a few days bed rest needed. Anyone over 16 can have a preventative flu-jab, and the NHS will cover the cost if you are over 65 or deemed ‘at-risk’.
Remember, your local co-op will always have a selection of cough sweets or cold and flu treatments in stock, meaning relief is conveniently local. Always read the label, and check with a pharmacist if you’re taking any additional medication. Grab some honey and lemon whilst you’re there, so you can treat yourself to a nice hot toddy for some added comfort.