The best ways to recover from a cold
Article date: 15 May 2014
It's never fun being struck down with a cold, regardless of the time of year. However, with the summer months quickly encroaching upon us, there's a certain feeling of injustice that accompanies those coughs, sneezes and general illness.
According to official figures, we experience around two to four bouts of the common cold every year, while the number increases to an average of between three and eight for children.
So, what are the best ways to rid yourself of this inconvenience as quickly as the symptoms appeared in the first place? Read on for some handy tips.
In most cases, there is absolutely no reason why you should need to make an appointment to see you GP for help and advice.
As long as you've got a well-stocked medical cupboard, you should be sufficiently equipped to handle your symptoms, with painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen useful for reducing fevers and limiting the discomfort brought about by headaches and other similar pains. However, you should always consult the manufacturer's instructions to ensure you administer the correct dosage throughout the day.
Inhaling steam over a recently-boiled bowl of water is another useful technique - just be careful not to scald yourself!
By breathing deeply over the steam with a towel over your head you may find it much easier to clear congestion caused by mucus, while adding menthol or eucalyptus to the water can make this method even more effective.
Watch your diet
What you eat and drink is essential to aiding your recovery, as the nutrients you consume will work towards battling the cold out of your system.
Food and beverages that are high in vitamin C content are standard solutions for fighting off illness, as it is a useful antioxidant that helps protect against harmful molecules. It also maintains blood vessels, bones and muscle.
Similarly, protein helps to build immune cells and prompt a response from your internal illness-fighting system. While this may prove to be more difficult for vegetarians and those who don't naturally eat a lot of protein, it could be well worth looking into what non-meat products can help in this area. Spicy food can make a significant difference, with typical ingredients like ginger and chili peppers possessing anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Chicken curry, anyone?
Drinking lots of water also prevents you from becoming dehydrated, while mixing it with honey can help battle infection thanks to the sweetener's antibacterial qualities.
Take hot showers or baths
Because colds thrive in dry conditions, creating humidity in your immediate environment can make it more difficult for your illness to spread.
A hot bath or shower can moisturise your nasal passage, providing much needed relief if you're feeling sore in this area. Just like sticking your head over a steam bowl, this approach can also help loosen congestion in your respiratory system, making it easier to breathe.
Finally, your tired and aching muscles will probably thank you for a relaxing soak, making a quick dip in the tub a welcoming option for anyone feeling under the weather.