A Look at the Common Cold and Five Common Cold Remedies

Common Cold RemediesWith winter right around the corner, the cold virus is not far behind it. Let’s take a quick look at what the common cold actually is, as well as how it can be caught. Finally, we’ll look at five of the top common cold remedies.

What is the Common Cold?

A viral infection that occurs in your upper respiratory tract, there are over 100 viruses that can cause the common cold, though the rhinovirus is the most frequent culprit. In the United States, adults typically catch two to three colds a year, while children catch even more colds [1]. Although colds can occur any time of the year, people are more likely to catch them in the winter and spring.

How do You Catch a Cold?

The cold virus is spread through small air droplets that are released into the air when a sick person blows their nose, coughs, or sneezes. These droplets can easily land on you. If they reach your eyes, nose, or mouth, you are likely to catch a cold. This can also happen if you touch something that has been contaminated with the virus, such as a doorknob.

Now that you know what the common cold is, as well as how you catch them, it’s time to look at five common cold remedies.

  1. Honey: Not only can drinking warm lemon tea with honey help relieve the sore throat that often accompanies a cold, but it decrease the severity of coughing in a child, which helps them sleep more soundly.
  2. Salt Water: Gargling one teaspoon of salt dissolved in a full glass of water can help prevent colds, as well as reduce the severity and duration of of their symptoms [2]. It can relieve sore throat pain, reduce nasal congestion, and loosen mucus, which expels allergens and bacteria from your body.
  3. Vapor Rubs: Best known for their tell-tale smell, vapor rubs have been shown to ease cold symptoms in children over the age of 2 by opening air passages to reduce coughing and fight congestion [3]. It is also effective for adults.
  4. Fluids: According to the American Lung Association, you should drink at least 8 glasses of juice or water a day when you are suffering from the flu [4]. Staying hydrated keeps the lining of the nose and throat moisturized, which makes it easier to thin secretions and clear out mucus.
  5. Steam: One of the easiest ways to clear up a stuffy nose is with steam. You can take a hot shower, breath it in over a mug of hot lemon tea with honey, or fill a bowl with water and sit over it. If you decide to fill a bowl with water, be sure to add an essential oil, such as tea tree oil, which has antiviral and antibacterial properties and a pretty strong smell that helps dislodge congestion.

Unfortunately, chances are good that you are going to catch a cold in the next few months. However, using the common cold remedies discussed above, you can keep yourself as comfortable as possible.

Sources:
[1] httwww.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16242593

[3]http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/6/1092.abstract?sid=6fefdf71-6ce6-4741-b120-9a4f3806787e

[4] http://www.everydayhealth.com/cold-and-flu/home-remedies.aspx

Photo credit: nenetus | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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