As winter approaches, more of us are catching the dreaded cold and its cousin, the cough. Colds and coughs can be more than annoying and can plague you for weeks or months if you don’t take proper care of yourself. Even if you aren’t sick, other things can cause a hacking cough. The dry air in winter, smoking, acid reflux, asthma and allergies can also cause chronic coughs. Even certain medications can cause a cough. The most common ones are high blood pressure medications and some allergy medications. Here are some of the best ways to treat a cold and/or a cough:
- Drink lots of water! It doesn’t matter what you have, staying hydrated is key. Drinking water can help keep your mucous membranes moist, which can help heal colds and coughs. Often a cough is caused by postnasal drip, when secretions trickle down the back of your throat. This can make you cough or gag and drinking fluids can help thin that out or get rid of it. Postnasal drip is often caused by colds, flus or allergies. Another cause of coughs is the dry air and drinking water can help fight the dryness.
- Drink tea and suck on lozenges. Tea and lozenges are great for the coughs and sore throats often caused by a cold. Lemon, honey, Echinacea, elderberry and ginger are all great types of teas for the immune system.
- Take a steamy shower, a warm Epsom salt bath or use a humidifier. A hot shower can help loosen secretions in your nose and clear out your sinuses. This can help with colds, allergies and coughs. Epsom salt baths can amp up your immune system and help you feel better. They are even better with essential oils. Try lavender, peppermint or ones formulated for your immune system. Humidifiers can also help if the air is dry, but make sure to clean it out regularly or it will pump mold and fungus into the air, making things worse.
- If your cough is due to smoking, stop. Smoking not only causes a chronic cough, but a host of other health complaints. Do yourself a favor and find a way to quit.
- Your mom was right; chicken noodle soup is good for a cold. Make or buy chicken noodle soup and add extra garlic. Garlic is an amazing antibacterial that helps fight off infections. If you like the taste, it is best to eat a plain clove of garlic.
- Try a heating blanket, hot water bottle or chest salve to loosen up phlegm and help a cough.
- Remember to rest. When you’re sick, you need extra rest to get back on your feet. Call off work or other activities if necessary and get some extra sleep!
- Gargle with salt water to loosen up phlegm and ease a sore throat or cough.
- If you don’t like taking over the counter medications, try making your own syrups. There are many recipes available online using honey, lemon, elderberries, ginger, or garlic, etc. Then you know what is going in your syrups and many natural remedies actually work very well.
- Don’t forget your probiotics. When you’re sick and especially if you choose to take medications or antibiotics, you will need to make sure you keep your good bacteria intact. Probiotics are also great for strengthening your immune system.
- Some people swear by pineapples or marshmallows for stopping a cough quickly and naturally.
Do you often get colds and coughs at this time of year? What are your favorite natural remedies? Share with us!