(NaturalNews) You know cold season is hitting its peak when crumpled tissues start piling up next to bottles of cough syrup and antibiotics. It seems the moment someone gets the sniffles they feel compelled to visit their doctor, and more often than not, they leave their appointment with multiple prescriptions in hand. You have to wonder: is all this medication necessary?
The answer is no. Home treatment for colds can be even more effective than medications, and without the harmful side effects. Old-fashioned cold remedies can often be made with what you already have in your pantry, and the cost is much less prohibitive than the expense of a doctor`s visit and several prescriptions. Next time you feel a cold coming on, try some of these simple remedies to alleviate your symptoms and shorten the duration of your cold.
Avoid Over-the-Counter Drugs
Although these medications claim to be helpful, they can turn your cold into a nightmare. A runny nose may be irritating, but drying up nasal passages with decongestants is a surefire way to encourage the build-up of bacteria. Instead, keep you sinuses clear with natural saline sprays.
You can also make your own saline solution at home with a half teaspoon of salt dissolved in a cup of warm water. Use a bulb syringe to place three or four drops of the liquid into each nostril. Gently breathe in and avoid blowing your nose for at least thirty seconds. This gives the mixture time to break down some of the build-up in your sinuses. Repeat this several times each day until nasal passages are clear.
Over-the-counter cough syrups should also be avoided. Instead, mix lemon juice with warm water and add a bit of honey. This home remedy can soothe your cough and works equally well for sore throats.
Sinus pressure and pain is often treated with over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These are only moderately effective and are known for their potential toxic side effects. Try placing a heating pad or warm washcloth over the area instead. Repeat as needed.
To speed your recovery, try natural supplements like Vitamin C, zinc and Echinacea. Taken at the first sign of a cold, these can often prevent a bad cold from developing. These supplements can also shorten the duration of your cold.
Lack of fluids prevents healing and sets the stage for infection. Staying hydrated can prevent an advanced sinus infection which is more difficult to treat at home. Drink 8-10 glasses of water each day while you`re sick. Avoid ice water which can irritate your throat.
You can also get more fluids into your system by drinking herbal teas and sipping warm broth. Chamomile tea is known for soothing coughs and sore throats. Chicken broth, especially real broth made at home, is known for its strong healing effects. The warmth of the liquids alone can often alleviate many of your cold symptoms.
Since dry conditions exacerbate cold symptoms and drain your body of fluids, setting up a humidifier can speed the healing process. Just be sure to change the water regularly and keep the system clean.
A cold weakens your immune system and causes the build up of toxins. It is highly beneficial to help the body flush out these toxins by practicing a few simple methods of detox. You should start each day with several minutes of dry skin brushing. With a natural hair brush, make sweeping strokes toward the heart over all parts of the body.
After dry brushing, take a hot shower. Hot water will encourage perspiration, which rids the body of toxins. At the end of your shower, turn the water to cool for up to 60 seconds. Switch back to hot water for another 60 seconds. Alternate hot and cold water like this for at least three cycles. This entire process should be done at least once every day until your cold is gone.
When you`ve got a cold, it`s more important than ever to get your rest and make healthy food choices. A rested and well-nourished body is the best medicine for fighting off a cold.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...