24 Nov How to beat a cold this winter
Most people catch a cold at least once a year, but suffering for days or weeks on end from cold and flu symptoms isn’t something you just have to put up with.
If you want to find out how to beat a cold this winter, it’s worth thinking about the changes you can make to fight back.
From staying hydrated and getting enough rest, to dosing up on vitamin C, echinacea and honey, here’s how to give yourself the best chances of beating a cold.
What is a cold?
Firstly, it’s important to understand what a cold is so you understand how to beat a cold.
The common cold is a viral infection that affects your nose and throat. We’re all pretty familiar with the symptoms which typically include a blocked or runny nose, sore throat and cough. Sometimes they come with other miserable symptoms, such as achy muscles and a headache.
Cold symptoms usually last between one and two weeks, but flu-like colds can leave you feeling wrung out for longer.
What causes a cold?
Colds can be caused by any one of over 200 different viruses which are usually spread through airborne droplets.
This is why it’s important to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze and to keep your hands clean.
Inside your body, the common cold virus causes inflammation of the membranes that line your mouth and nose, resulting in the miserable set of symptoms we associate with colds.
How to beat a cold
But what can you do to give yourself the best chance of beating a cold this winter and for the year ahead?
Here are our top ten tips to help make sure a cold doesn’t interrupt your flow and stop you enjoying yourself!
1. Stay hydrated
It’s easy to become dehydrated when you have a cold, especially if you’ve got a runny nose.
Drinking clear fluids helps loosen the mucus in your nasal cavity and reduce inflammation, which helps to relieve the annoying congestion.
Try to drink as much water and clear fluids as possible and stay away from caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee which can make dehydration worse.
2. Get plenty of rest and sleep
Think of a cold as your body’s way of telling you to take it easy. Most of us live at such a frenetic pace it can be hard to accept that there are times when we just need to stop and give our body the time and space to beat a cold on its own.
If you feel a cold coming on, clear your social schedule, accept that you can’t keep working and snuggle up under a blanket.
Try to get a couple of early nights in as soon as you feel a cold is starting. Getting plenty of sleep will help your body fight infection so you can get better more quickly.
3. Sip something warm
Whether it’s a piping hot cup of green tea or a bowl of home-made chicken soup, people all over the world have sworn by sipping something warm to help beat a cold for centuries. The theory is that drinking hot liquids helps to clear congestion and expel the virus from the body.
Milky drinks aren’t a great idea as dairy products can exacerbate mucus production. And more mucus is the last thing you want when you’re trying to beat a cold!
4. Dose up on vitamin C
A 2007 study found that although vitamin C can’t prevent the common cold, it can shorten its duration by around 8%.
Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables and is particularly abundant in citrus fruits like oranges and green veg.
The NHS recommends adults aim to get 40mg of vitamin C a day. Our bodies can’t store vitamin C, so it is essential to get your full allowance every day, especially if you are in an environment where you’re likely to be exposed to cold and flu viruses.
If you’re struggling to get enough vitamin C in your diet, you could try taking a supplement.
Our natural herbal remedy, HRI Coldcare, includes your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, zinc as well as the herbal medicine echinacea for colds.
5. Get some zinc
A recent study shows that Zinc supplements could help to cure coughs and colds and speed up recovery by two days
Academics at Western Sydney University have reviewed dozens of studies looking at the effect of Zinc on respiratory tract infections and say there’s some evidence that it may prevent cold symptoms such as headaches, a runny nose and a temperature, and help to shorten the duration of a cold
HRI Coldcare is the UK’s only licensed herbal remedy that contains not only your recommended daily allowance of Zinc, but also all the vitamin C you need, plus echinacea, the herb known for boosting immunity and fighting cold and flu symptoms.
Zinc is found naturally in foods like red meat, poultry and fish, and vegan sources include chickpeas, oats and tofu, but supplements can be useful if your diet is lacking in zinc.
6. Try honey
Honey has a ‘demulcent’ effect on the throat. This means it helps to relieve the uncomfortable inflammation and irritation caused by mucus.
For this reason, many people swear by stirring a spoonful of honey into a hot drink when they’re suffering with a cold to help soothe a scratchy, uncomfortable throat.
7. Wash your hands
We’ve all learned more about the importance of regular and thorough hand washing over the past couple of years.
Washing your hands is a simple but effective way to prevent yourself and others from getting sick. Throughout the day, germs accumulate on your hands.
By washing your hands with soap and water, or using sanitiser at times when you don’t have access to soap and water, you can kill cold and flu germs and prevent them from infecting you.
8. Blow your nose frequently
That irritating runny nose you get when you have a cold is your body’s way of trying to expel the virus.
Blowing your nose often is one of the best ways to speed up your recovery, but make sure you throw away the tissues each time you blow your nose and wash your hands afterwards.
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9. Add moisture to the air
When you’ve got a cold, dry air can worsen a sore throat. During winter, central heating can dry out the air in our homes, making your throat feel dry and irritated.
The best way to get moisture into centrally heated air is with a humidifier. If you don’t have one, try just enjoying a hot, steamy shower to help increase moisture levels in the air and loosen your congestion.
10. Take Echinacea
Echinacea Purpurea is a natural flowering plant that has been used as a herbal medicinal product for thousands of years. Echinacea root is the active ingredient of HRI Cold & Flu Echinacea and HRI Coldcare with echinacea, vitamin C and zinc, our easy-to-swallow licensed herbal medicines.
Both herbal medicines can be taken daily to keep colds and flu at bay, or used on an ad hoc basis to relieve the symptoms of a cold and speed up recovery.
Follow these tips to help make 2022 the year you beat colds once and for all!
If you are interested in finding out news and information about a natural approach to supporting your health, beauty and wellbeing, why not follow HRI Herbal on Facebook @HRIHerbal.