As the seasons change, people rush to their common cold remedy of choice. There are a lot of great choices, but too many choices can be confusing.
Pores open, skin cracks, and the coughs begin. There’s no cure for a lot of the ailments out there, but you can certainly treat symptoms and prevent complications with a lot of different tools that have been enhanced over time, along with a few new discoveries.
Here are a few common cold remedy options, relief explanations, and ways to feel better throughout cold season.
Keep On Drinking Liquids
With any medical condition, fluid intake is important. Whether you go to a doctor’s office, a hospital, or look towards home remedies, staying hydrated is one of the biggest pieces of advice.
But why? And what is considered staying hydrated?
Just as you need water to survive, so do the illnesses inside you. Water a delivery method for not just nutrients, but different workers (red blood cells, antibodies such as white blood cells, and platelets) for bodily functions. Many illnesses take up the fuel needed by those workers and increase your body’s nutrient demand.
The common cold is eating your nutrients, but it’s also drinking your liquids. In addition to losing some of your supply to the germs, you may lose additional water through vomiting, sneezing, perspiration (sweating), or increased urination not caused by drinking diuretics.
Water or decaffeinated tea with lemon is a good choice. Hot tea soothes sore throats and assists in battling congestion. If tea isn’t to your liking, water will do fine.
Lemon is high in vitamin C, and can sooth throat pain as well. The jury is out on orange juice due to its sugar content, but a good rule of thumb is to stick to fresh-squeezed orange juice or orange juice with low sugar content.
Excess sugar suppresses the immune system, but there’s no concrete data on whether the natural sugar content in oranges is enough to outweigh the nutrient or simple hydration benefit.
Tasty Soups To Recover Better
Soups are the next step up. If you need something to chew on or want something more than a sip, Chicken Noodle Soup or Tom Yum Soup are a few staples that help people along the road of recovery.
Why are certain soups chosen over others? In addition to aiding in fluid intake, soups are mixtures that can deliver any nutrient that can be boiled down from grain, vegetables, seeds, fruits, or meats.
With zinc near the top of the “does science think this can fight colds” list, here are a few foods that are high in zinc that can be boiled into soup with their Milligrams (mg) per serving:
- Beef – 5-7mg
- Beans – 2.9mg
- Cashews – 1.6mg
- Chickpeas – 1.3mg
- Kidney beans – 0.9mg
- Chicken – 0.9mg
- Peas – 0.5mg
Although there are many foods that contain zinc, you’re the best judge of what may upset your stomach during sickness. Keep in mind that while boiling, you may lose some nutrients, but you’ll still gain a healthy amount of helpful vitamins in most cold relief recipes.
Over The Counter Medications
Not into home remedies? There are so many products out there, and many of them do the same thing.
Most over-the-counter (OTC) medications exist to sooth specific symptoms, reduce the chance of certain complications, or cause bodily reactions that help you get over the cold.
Cough suppressants, for example, are a bit of a mixed bag. Coughing is helpful in that it expels germ-filled mucus from your lungs during a cold. It’s the body’s natural way of getting problems out of the lungs.
Unfortunately, coughing isn’t perfect just like the rest of the body. Some people may cough enough to cause major damage, and pain is different for everyone. You may also want to suppress a cough if you have to go to work.
Rest is important, but let’s be real. Some people can’t afford going past their sick days.
Here are a few cold medicine categories to help you understand what you’re buying:
- Nasal decongestants – Stuffy, clogged nose relief.
- Cough suppressants – Calms the body’s cough reaction.
- Expectorants – Mucus breakdown, which allows more productive (mucus-removing) coughs.
- Antihistamines – Reduces sneezing and stuffy noses. Also helpful for nasal allergies.
- Pain relievers – Reduces headache pain, joint pain, and multiple inflammation-related problems.
The Best Remedy Is Often Personal
For many people, the right common cold remedy is all about personal preference. Certain things relieve symptoms better in different people, and there’s always a new food or product out there to treat a different type of person.
The power of suggestion helps as well. Knowing that a certain option is supposed to be powerful or being comforted by an old remedy from comfortable memories can lower stress levels.
The placebo effect may be all in your mind, but your mind deserves to be treated well during a cold, too. As you look through remedy options and opinions, be sure to check the ingredients and gauge your body’s reaction to give yourself a better answer of what “the best” remedy means to you.