Home remedies for cold and flu symptoms

Home remedies for cold and flu symptoms

It’s that time of year again, when stuffy noses and persistent coughs start showing up everywhere. Experts are already predicting that this is flu season Will be a rough one and reporting an increase in various other respiratory illnesses despite two years of relative calm.

The best precautions against influenza infection Vaccination is being given, and there’s nothing you can do if you get sick beyond managing your symptoms. The flu, common cold, and other upper respiratory illnesses are caused by viruses, so you can’t cure them with antibiotics, which are used to treat bacterial infections. Antiviral drugs Tamiflu, for treating influenza, is usually reserved for people who have tested positive for the flu and who are at risk of serious complications, such as those who are pregnant, elderly or immunocompromised. For everyone else, doctors recommend resting and waiting for your symptoms to subside.

“There’s a saying that if you treat a cold it goes away in seven days, if you leave it alone it goes away in a week,” says Dr. Aviva Rome, a physician who specializes in integrative medicine.

But for generations, countless home remedies — a cup of warm tea or soup and a spoonful of herbs — have helped manage cold and flu symptoms such as a sore throat or congestion. Scientists have spent years trying to measure how effective certain remedies are, how often they should be used, and which formulations work best. But studies are often small or don’t show much efficacy.

Still, experts agree that there’s no harm in adopting habits that can make you feel better when you’re sick, even if they only provide one. The placebo effect. (You should see a medical professional if your symptoms are severe, if you have trouble breathing, or if you don’t see any improvement after more than a week.)

“Sometimes we don’t have evidence for many common traditional practices because they don’t have much economic value to study, but we have thousands of years of anecdotal data and we have enough evidence to prove its safety,” Dr. said Rom.

Here’s what we know and don’t know about some popular remedies that show at least a little promise.

There is some evidence that certain vitamins and ingredients in home remedies — such as vitamin C, elderberry, and zinc — can, at the very least, stimulate the immune system and shorten the duration of your symptoms.

The idea that vitamin C can help with colds is not new; It was popularized by Nobel laureate Linus Pauling In the 1970s, that took off A wave of demand for nutrition. Since then, scientists associated with the supplement industry have suggested that Vitamin C supports various functionssuch as the ability of immune cells to detect and fight infections.

Nutritional efficacy is still controversial. For one, the body is not able to store the high levels of vitamin C found in supplements, and any excess vitamin C is usually excreted in your urine. Some clinical trials have found that when you take vitamin C supplements may matter for effectiveness: a comprehensive meta-analysis of vitamin C trials. Published in 2013, for example, suggests that regular supplementation, even before you start feeling sick, can shorten the duration of a cold by a day or more. But taking vitamin C after you’ve already developed symptoms doesn’t show consistent benefits.

In some studies, elderberry, a common ingredient in cold and flu syrups, especially those aimed at young children, The duration of symptoms is short When taken beforehand or immediately at the onset of illness. But this is a very limited amount of data, Dr. Ram said. Elderberries contain powerful antioxidants and chemicals known as anthocyaninsWhich has been shown in lab tests to help immune function.

Similarly, research on zinc suggests that taking syrups and lozenges containing the trace element every three to four hours can shorten the length of a cold or flu. In a day or two, prevents viruses from potentially multiplying. Other analyzes have concluded that there is Not enough evidence It is better than placebo.

Most formulations of zinc have several side effects. Some people who have used zinc nasal spray have experienced a Permanent loss of smell. People who take it orally may experience a lingering metallic taste in their mouth. “The really important thing to note is that you should take zinc with food because it can really cause nausea,” Dr. Ram said.

A sore throat is often a natural result of inflammation as your immune system fights off viruses in your upper airways. Swelling and pain can make swallowing food and staying hydrated more difficult. It makes your throat drier. A cough can make things worse. Staying hydrated by drinking plain water, hot tea, broth or soup can help you feel more comfortable.

In many cultures, ginger is one of the first things people reach for when faced with a sore throat. It is often steeped in boiling water with other herbs to make a soothing tea or added to chicken soup. And, it turns out, there may be some science to back up these old habits: A handful of studies have found that Ginger may have anti-inflammatory properties Which can help reduce swelling.

Turmeric root, a plant in the ginger family, is native to Southeast Asia and has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India. Reduce inflammation. But proving its effects is challenging because the root’s main compound, curcumin, is not easily absorbed by the body, and curcumin supplements can vary widely in composition. Eating turmeric with food or mixing it with a fatty substance, such as cooking oil or warm milk, can help you absorb more of the benefits of curcumin. Adding Black pepper can also help with absorptionDr. Rom said.

“Ginger and turmeric together are a really, really wonderful combination,” says Dr. Rom, adding that when she’s dealing with a sore throat, she drinks ginger-turmeric tea.

If you have a sore throat due to coughing, gargling with salt water can be helpful. Mix about half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth and back of your throat for a few seconds before spitting it out. Any type of salt you have at home will work.

Doctors often recommendation Gargling with salt water as a way to reduce pain in your mouth or the back of your throat and improve overall oral health. Gargling helps loosen thick mucus and can also remove irritants such as bacteria, viruses and allergens from your throat. Dr. H. Kip Talbot, associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says using a saline solution has the added benefit of draining excess fluid from inflamed tissue and replacing it with warm water.

Adding honey to your gargling solution or any tea or warm drink can have a similar soothing effect. Honey acts as an emollient, meaning it soothes irritated tissues by coating them.

Many cultures have their own variations of a soothing honey drink. And some studies show that the remedy works to reduce the frequency of coughing. actually, a research In children 1 to 5 years of age, two teaspoons of honey taken at bedtime has been shown to be as effective as the drug dextromethorphan found in common over-the-counter cough syrups in reducing nighttime coughing and improving sleep quality. (Honey should not be given to children under one year old, however, due to the risk of a rare form of food poisoning known as infant botulism.)

Keeping your nasal passages moist is another simple, safe remedy that can help children and adults get some relief from the flu or cold. You can achieve this by using a humidifier in your room, making some herbal steam, or rinsing your nose with warm salt water.

use of Neti pot and nasal irrigation Ayurvedic medicine can be traced back thousands of years. Much like gargling with salt water, rinsing the nose can help remove some viruses and mucus from your body, while reducing swelling that can lead to congestion. A study published in 2019 showed that this process can help shorten the duration of illness as well as reduce the potential transmission of germs to others.

Make sure you only use distilled, sterile or boiled water for your washing, as tap water can contain small amounts of bacteria and protozoa that carry the risk of other infections. Alternatively, you can try commercial nasal saline sprays for similar effects.

Dr. Fadel Hind, an infectious disease physician at the Mayo Clinic, runs a humidifier in his home during winter flu season. His research showed that room humidity levels of approx 40 to 60 percent Reduces respiratory viral infections and may even prevent you from getting sick. “At that humidity, you find fewer viruses on surfaces and in the air. And the virus that is present is less effective,” he said.

Some humidifiers have built-in sensors that can tell you the humidity level in a room, Dr. Hind said. If you don’t have one, you can buy a basic hygrometer for $10 or less to monitor the water vapor in the air around you and test the performance of a humidifier you already own.

If you have a cold or flu, a humidifier can still help reduce cough and congestion, although there’s less data about how well it works compared to a placebo or whether it can shorten the overall length of your illness, Dr. Hind says.

Menthol, a chemical found in peppermint and other mint plants, can also make breathing easier. You can apply a store-bought menthol ointment like Vicks VapoRub under your nose or on your neck and throat to relieve symptoms. Some people use fresh or dried herbs in traditional steam therapy to relieve congestion. You can do this by steeping herbs like eucalyptus or thyme in boiling water for five to 10 minutes, then covering your head with a towel and inhaling the steam (while taking care of the hot water). Alternatively, you can hang dried leaves in a steamy shower to get some of these benefits.

Some studies have shown that steam rubs containing menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor, when applied to the neck and chest, significantly improved sleep Children and adults have cold symptoms, but experts warn that it can be bothersome for some people.

At the end of the day, choosing a flu remedy is all about trial and error until you find something that makes you more comfortable, Dr. Rom said. And that, he added, “is worth it.”

#Home #remedies #cold #flu #symptoms

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button