Everyone has caught the cold at some point, and everyone has a different means of fighting it. There are remedies that people swear by, and some are actually effective! But why does drinking chicken noodle soup work? And why should you use a humidifier? Read on to find the reasoning behind these home remedies:
Drinking fluids: When suffering from a cold, dehydration is often a problem. Staying hydrated with water, juice, and lemon water with honey helps, while alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated soda can dehydrate you and make you feel much worse. Fluids also help loosen congestion and can relieve some symptoms.
Saline nasal drops and sprays: These are also used to combat congestion, but unlike many types of nasal decongestants, they do not lead to a rebound effect, which refers to the worsening of symptoms after discontinuation of use. Feel free to ask a pharmacist for tips on how to use nasal drops and sprays properly.
Drinking chicken soup: There are two ways chicken soup is thought to help combat cold symptoms. First, it may act as an anti-inflammatory agent by inhibiting the movement of neutrophils in your body. Second, it temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus and thus may reduce nasal congestion.
Over-the-counter cold medications: These medications may provide some symptom relief, but they will not prevent a cold or shorten its duration. Be sure to read the package instructions carefully or talk to a pharmacist about possible side-effects. If you do visit a physician, let him or her know what you’re taking.
Humidity: Cold viruses seem to thrive in drier conditions. Dry air also dries our mucous membranes and makes them less effective in keeping out microbes. By using a humidifier, you can add some moisture to your home, but a humidifier can also be a source of mold, fungi, and bacteria if not cleaned properly.
The best thing you can do to combat the common cold is to take care of yourself. Proper rest, drinking fluids, and keeping the air around you moist may help fight cold symptoms, but they won’t act as a cure. Remember to wash your hands frequently to stay healthy and to prevent the spread of germs!
- Cold Remedies: What works, what doesn’t, what can’t hurt from Mayo Clinic by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cold-remedies/ID00036>
- Common Cold Treatment from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases <http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/commoncold/pages/treatment.aspx>
Article by Nikita Rathaur
Feature Image Source: ABC News