I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
Fighting the Common Cold
Palliative measures that seem to help in fighting cold viruses the most are some of the following:
- Rest! Your body needs to recover, and getting extra sleep and resting will help this process. Take some days off from work to help yourself and prevent the spread of disease to your co-workers.
- Humidify the air you breathe. Viruses thrive in dry environments.
Inhale some steam by using a bowl of hot water and placing a towel over your head so that you can get the full benefits of that humid air into the mucous membranes of your nose and mouth. Some people add a few drops of eucalyptus oil into the bowl of steaming water for added effect.
Some humidifiers can be purchased for just such a purpose.
Alternately enjoy a steamy shower and stay in the shower stall inhaling that soothing steam for a while. That should alleviate some congestion.
- Gargle often to treat sore throats.
A half teaspoon of salt in an 8 oz. glass of warm water is an excellent natural antiseptic remedy. Gargling can be done often throughout the day.
Drinking fluids like hot tea with honey and lemon in it can also help ease painful throats.
- Enjoy warm and hot liquids throughout the day.
That old fashioned remedy of consuming chicken soup that you have undoubtedly heard of from many people (perhaps even your mother or grandmother) is good for you.
The extra fluid is essential and it, as well as other hot liquids, will help relieve nasal congestion and loosen phlegm while soothing membranes which are irritated by coughing.
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- Using hot or cold packs around your sinuses seems to help.
Tip: Did you know that you can use a package of frozen veggies wrapped in a towel for an instant cold pack? After the vegetables are thawed, they can always later be made into more warming and healthful soups!
- Use a Neti Pot for help in clearing out sinuses.
Using warm salt water that helps to irrigate nasal passages really helps!
- Use extra pillows under your head at night if you are having difficulty sleeping due to congestion.
It will make it a bit easier to breathe.
- In addition to the measures taken above, be sure to wash your hands frequently! The washing of hands should be a good health habit in any case, but if not...this is the time to start.
- Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when coughing and if that is unavailable cough into your elbow. You usually will not be touching other things with the inside of your elbow and infecting others.
- Try and avoid flying on airplanes when you have a cold virus. That is not only good for the surrounding passengers in that enclosed space who would be exposed to your illness, but the altitude changes can cause increased pressure in your eardrums which can result in pain and worst case scenarios even cause a rupture leading to hearing loss. Be safe rather than sorry!
I hope that if you come down with the dreaded cold virus, these useful tips will be of value to you or in helping others you know.
- Important! Be sure and read about Reye's Syndrome if your child catches a cold or another malady. Avoid using aspirin to bring down fevers in children.
Here are some videos that you might find of interest.
The first comes from a doctor who calls himself a functional medicine nutritionist. He claims that he can drastically limit the duration of a cold if one follows his advice.
There are many ideas from different sources as to how best to manage and treat cold symptoms. This last video suggests healthful foods to eat when feeling ill. Eating healthful foods makes good sense to me!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2016 Peggy Woods
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 21, 2019:
Hi C E Clark,
I agree with you that when we were both younger, there were no immunizations for diseases like measles, mumps, and the like. I had measles and whooping cough but escaped getting the mumps even though both of my brothers and mother was ill with it at the time. I was certainly exposed to it.
We do get our flu shots every year, even though it is not 100% effective. Each year varies, but supposedly if you catch the flu, despite having the immunization against it, the severity of it is lessened.
C E Clark from North Texas on December 20, 2019:
My daughter got all of her shots. I'm not an anti-vaxxer by any means. She got both the measles shots recommended at the time, but I've read that the early measles vaccine wasn't as strong as the one that came later. So with all the measles everywhere I worry if her shots were sufficient, or should she get a booster shot?
I got all the shots available at the time, but there weren't any immunizations for measles, mumps, whooping cough, or chicken pox when I was little. I had them all, the diseases, and it's a wonder, given all the complications with mumps and measles that I experienced, that there were no long term bad results. Missed a lot of school as a result of those diseases too.
I don't get the flu shots. I got the shot for the Asiatic Flu when I was 6 years old and ended up with the flu as a result and missed 2 months of school in the first grade. I was sicker n' a dog for weeks. The Swine Flu was a problem in Milwaukee some 20 years ago. Lots of people there got sick from the shots and some died. I figure if everyone else gets their shots like they're supposed to, no one will have the flu to pass on to me . . . ;)
Vitamin C has made a big difference in colds and flu for me. Since I started taking 500 mg everyday and 1000 mg during flu season, I've only had 3 light colds and one bad one since spring 2012 when I started taking the vitamins. Of course one needs to get their sleep, eat nutritiously, and basically stay in good general health and not let themselves get run down. Vitamin C probably wouldn't have as good an effect on someone who was badly run down.
Anyway, I agree that people should get themselves and their kids vaccinated for all these horrible diseases that have killed thousands over the centuries. We're so lucky to have these vaccinations and people should see that their kids get them. If everyone refused the vacs for small pox, tetanus, and even measles, and the other things I can't remember right now, I shudder to think how quickly the bad old days would return.
Forgot what I recently read is believed to cause autism, but it wasn't immunizations. Yes, everyone should get their kids immunized against these old diseases that have been around forever, not only to protect their own children, but to protect everyone's children.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2019:
Hi C E Clark,
The reason that some of these diseases like measles are becoming more rampant is because there are still some people who avoid getting the needed immunizations which could prevent measles as well as other diseases. This is a shame! Links to developing autism have been debunked by experts.
C E Clark from North Texas on December 10, 2019:
It's that time of year again when flu and colds are going around. I hear people around me hacking and blowing, etc., so at least some people have succumbed. This is a great article to help people deal with these illnesses if one can't avoid them.
I understand the measles are a serious problem in a lot of places and gaining ground. I wonder if you might have some ideas about that? I had the measles as a child -- every kind of measles there are, so I should be immune to them now, but I wonder if people who didn't have them, but got the shot instead, may be more at risk?
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 15, 2019:
The old remedy of consuming chicken soup for battling colds may indeed go back to the time of King Arthur. Haha!
Dale Anderson from The High Seas on May 13, 2019:
Ah the ever present standard Chicken Soup always makes an appearance when it comes to health issues. It is mentioned so often as a cure all that it makes me wonder if King Arthur said "Sure, I'll pull that sword out of that there rock, no problem. But just let me eat some chicken soup first and then I'll be at it!"
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on September 14, 2018:
Hi C E Clark,
My article was mainly targeted at homeopathic things that can be done to lessen the effects of colds. Your ideas on how to prevent colds or flu are great...especially the handwashing part of it. Very happy for you that taking Vitamin C in larger doses has worked in preventing colds for you. You are right in mentioning that not all vitamins can safely be taken in larger doses like that.
C E Clark from North Texas on September 14, 2018:
I am out in the public 7 days a week at least 12 or more hours every day. When I first started working for our local school district (with special needs children) I was sick all the time (2011). I don't work there anymore, but I am still out even more than I was when doing that job and constantly exposed to whatever is going around.
In 2012 I started taking 500 mg tablets of chewable Vitamin C. It wouldn't have to be chewable, but that is my preference. After I had taken it for a while, maybe 3 months or so, I noted I wasn't catching everything that came along anymore.
During colds and flu season I often double up and take one 500 mg tablet of Vitamin C every 12 hours. That has made all the difference for me.
It is because of previous experiences where dentists and doctors advised me to take Vitamin C due to conditions that I had, that I first thought of taking it to avoid colds, etc.
For example, when I was 16 years old I had several permanent teeth removed and 2 were abscessed. My dentist at that time recommended a 500 mg tablet of Vitamin C daily for several months, and it made a word of difference. Since that time I have noted that Vitamin C can keep my gums and teeth healthy and even help prevent tooth aches. Rinsing one's mouth with Listerine can be helpful if one has a tooth ache also. Rinse several times a day. My teeth have been a problem all of my life for some reason.
My husband several years ago, told me how when he went to his doctor because of a particularly difficult case of flu, was given a Vitamin C injection. It was a very large 'dose' of Vitamin C and it helped his flu clear up pretty quickly.
Because of my own experience and hearing about my husband's experience I decided to try taking Vitamin C tablets in large amounts to see if it would make a difference as it had in the past.
Vitamin C is not toxic as I'm sure you know, but that isn't true of all vitamins, so no one reading this should get the idea that if Vitamin C does wonders in large amounts that other vitamins in large amounts might be equally successful. Some vitamins are toxic in large amounts or when taken in what might be considered excess, so one should learn about the vitamin they are considering before taking large amounts of it. Consult a doctor and learn everything about the vitamin they can from Google.
Anyway, since I started taking Vitamin C back in 2012 on a daily basis and as I described above, I have had only 1 cold and no flu despite being out and about for hours everyday. I'm thinking that one case of a cold was probably due to being run down, not getting enough sleep, not eating right, and being overly stressed.