Fighting coughs and colds – naturally

Natural Remedies for Colds and Coughs Blog Header

Natural Remedies for Colds and Coughs Blog Header

Top Tips to fight coughs and colds – naturally

It’s winter here in Melbourne, and with the cold weather comes coughs and colds. Both the children and I have been battling a horrible cold all week, so we’ve been testing all the remedies in this week’s blog.

If you still manage to get a cold, what’s the best way to shake it off?

1. Have a cuppa

The heat from a hot drink will help loosen the mucus so that you can cough it out (and you really should cough it out – keeping infected mucus in your chest is really not a great idea!). A hot drink will also soothe a sore throat, at least for a while.

2. Stay hydrated

Every sneeze, every honk into the hanky means that you’re losing moisture, and becoming less hydrated. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, herbal teas and soups. Keeping up the hydration also helps to keep mucus thinner and less sticky, so it’s easier to cough up. Just make sure to avoid alcohol and caffeine.

3. Breathe in some steam

It’s an old remedy, but it’s a good one. Once again, the steam will help to loosen mucus. You’ll breathe easier and be able to cough without it being quite as racking. To make the steam, you can either run a hot shower and sit in the bathroom for a while, or do it the old fashioned way – pop some hot water in a basin, put a towel over your head and lean over the basin and breathe.  You can pop some herbs in to the steaming water to help clear your nose – eucalyptus, thyme, peppermint or rosemary will help, or add a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil to a steam bath. Don’t use these if you’re pregnant, or on small children.

Lie down on your stomach, have someone place a towel over your back and give you some firm pats to try and help expel mucus. Spit out any mucus that you cough up.

Another alternative is to use a humidifier to add some moisture to dry air. Check out the gorgeously stylish ones from Aroma Bloom.

4. Sort out your sore throat

Try gargling with salt water a few times a day. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it really does work. A somewhat sweeter option is to have a spoonful of honey. Honey works well on coughs and can help prevent secondary bacterial infections. Add a couple of spoons to a cup of herbal tea. Don’t give to honey to young children, though.

5. Get some rest

Rest and relax. Get someone else to help out with the housework, have a nana nap or just get to bed early. This will give your body a chance to fight the germs. It may sound easier said than done, but if you’re run down, you’re much more likely to get sick, so take care of yourself!

Menthol infused ointment under the nose can help relieve a blocked or stuffy nose, and the menthol has a mild numbing agent that can help relieve the pain of a nose that’s raw from blowing or wiping.

6. Rug up

The old wives’ tale about getting cold means you’ll catch a cold does have some truth to it. If your body is busy trying to get warm, it’s too busy to fight cold viruses away. When you do have a cold, getting a temperature is your body’s natural way of fighting germs – germs can’t survive in the higher temperature.

7. Use a menthol balm

Menthol infused ointment under the nose can help relieve a blocked or stuffy nose, and the menthol has a mild numbing agent that can help relieve the pain of a nose that’s raw from blowing or wiping.

Rubbing a natural menthol balm onto your chest before you go to sleep will help you to breathe easier through the night.  Try one of the natural ones from Badger or Little Innoscents, and you’ll be able to use it on children, too.

Prevention is better than cure

Prevention is better than cure! Stop yourself from getting a cold in the first place, with these When the first of my children started to show symptoms of a cold, I should have done everything I could to prevent myself from catching it.

Of course, it’s best not to get a cold in the first place! Here’s our top five tips to prevent yourself from catching a cold:

1. Eat a balanced diet

The first thing is to make sure that you’re eating properly. Lots of fruit and veg in your diet will ensure that you’ve got all the vitamins and minerals that you need to fight any viruses that come your way.

2. Get some extra vitamins

While I’m not a big believer in vitamin supplements, getting some extra vitamin C in your diet by way of some of the delicious mandarins that are in season at the moment will certainly help out. Add a few extra cloves of garlic to your dinner, too, as garlic has long been considered to prevent colds. Have a curry, and add an extra spoonful of turmeric to ward off germs, too.

3. Exercise moderately

Get out in the fresh air. Exercising moderately will keep you healthy, and if you get out and get a walk in the fresh air, you’ll get your body temperature up, too, which will help fight off germs.

4. Get some fresh air through your house

Open the doors and windows in your house. Get rid of the toxins and germs that build up you’re your house is sealed up against the cold. Germs can’t escape if you don’t let them out, which means they’ll circulate and everyone will catch the cold. Just 15 minutes a day is enough to clear the air.

5. Wash your hands.

Wash your hands properly, and you’ll stop germs transferring. If you’re out and about and can’t wash your hands as often as you’d like, use a natural hand sanitiser like Squeakie, MelroseEO or Envirocare.

What are your favourite natural remedies for preventing and fighting colds and coughs? Share in the comments below.

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