5 natural remedies for the common cold

You may think that your coughing, sneezing and runny nose are due to seasonal allergies, but they may also be the result of the common cold. Colds may potentially trigger herpes outbreaks, so read on to learn some of the best ways to treat a cold.

As soon as you notice the first signs of a cold, take care of yourself with these five do-it-yourself remedies. Not only will they help shorten the duration of the cold, but they’ll also ease the severity of your symptoms in the process.

Get plenty of rest

One of the most important things to do when you come down with a cold or the flu is to slow down and prioritize rest. Rest allows your body to direct its energy toward fighting off the infection and getting healthy again faster.

Drink your fluids

Getting plenty of fluids is extremely important for breaking up congestion, moistening your throat and keeping your body hydrated. While these fluids should definitely include lots of water, you can also supplement with sports drinks, clear broth, chicken soup, and tea with honey and lemon.

Gargle with warm salt water 

Gargling with warm salt water moistens your throat, bringing temporarily relief to any soreness and scratchiness you may experience. It can also reduce and loosen mucus, which contains bacteria and allergens.

Gargling with salt water may also help prevent upper respiratory infections and decrease the severity of cold symptoms, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Add moisture to the air 

Since influenza thrives and spreads more easily in dry environments, creating more humidity in your home by placing a humidifier in your bedroom can help reduce your exposure to the virus. Increased humidity may also reduce nasal inflammation, helping you to breathe more easily when you have a cold.

Just be sure to change the water in your humidifier every day and clean the unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Use vapor rub

Applying an old-fashioned topical ointment, such as vapor rub, before bed can help open air passages to combat congestion, reduce coughing and improve sleep.

Although it’s not possible to totally cure a cold, you can shorten its duration, get some relief and potentially avoid a herpes outbreak with these home remedies.

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