Truly, the head and common cold have no cure. That’s right! There are no antibiotics for flu or cold and surprisingly, most people don’t even need them during cold or flu infections. Why? This is simply because most colds are viral infections and antibacterial medicines do not cure viruses, but treat bacteria diseases. So what is the best natural medicine for head cold and cough?
Well, there are effective ways of relieving the cold and cough symptoms besides taking over-the-counter medicines for pain or fever relieve as well as for a blocked nose (nasal congestion). Generally, most healthy people with a cold get better within 7-10 days with no treatment. This is because their body’s immune system automatically fights off the infection.
Reliable clinical studies reveal that cold symptoms such as sore throat, running nose, cough, fever, blocked nose, or pain cannot be improved by antibiotics. Also, continuous use of these antibiotics when your body doesn’t need them only increases the medicine’s resistance. But, if your symptoms get worse or fail to improve after 10 days, then you must see your doctor.
Since there’s no cure in sight for head cold, cough, and flu, over-the-counter treatments; such as lozenges, can relief the symptoms or shorten their period. The natural approach to cold and flu treatment has been proven to be the most effective remedies to help you feel better with time. Most of these remedies are simple DIYs and can be done from the comfort of your home. Let’s check them out…..
#8. Take Enough Rest
Getting plenty of rest is important when having a head cold since your body will direct the energy towards boosting your immune system’s ability to fight the cold, an activity that drains the body. So giving it a little help through good rest in a warm and humid environment will help you feel much better.
Doctors say lots of rest is the key treatment of a cold. You might need up to 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to enable your body to fight off more infections. In case you find it hard to sleep, drugs like Nyquil are recommended to help adults recover faster.
This brings some temporary relief by moistening a sore throat. You can prepare the solution by dissolving a teaspoon of salt in warm water. Gargle the solution four times daily. An astringent gargle can help reduce the persistent tickle in the throat. This kind of gargle can be prepared from tea that contains tannin to help tighten your membranes. You can also use a viscous, thick gargle that contains a combination of honey and apple cider vinegar. Other ingredients include: lemon juice and one tablespoon of raspberry leaves. These can be added to hot water mixed with a teaspoon of honey. Gargle once the concoction cools to room temperature. Keep in mind that honey should never be given to children below age 1.
#6. Drink Lots of Hot Liquids
Hot liquids keep you hydrated, relieve the nasal congestion by helping the mucus to flow more freely, and soothe the inflamed membranes along your nose and throat linings. However, drinks such as caffeine and alcohol should be avoided. If you are dehydrated, you might also find it painful to blow out the mucus. A nasal saline spray is ideal for breaking up the mucus while keeping things in the head moving.
#5. Rightfully Blow Your Nose More Often
It’s recommended that you blow your nose more regularly when having a head cold instead of sniffling mucus back inside your head. Don’t blow it hard, as the pressure could lead to an earache. The best way to do it is by pressing a finger over one of the nostrils and gently blow to clear the other. Repeat the same for the other nostril. Wash your hands with a hand wash after this exercise to avoid spreading germs.
#4. Put Cold or Hot Packs Around Your Congested Sinuses
Either the hot or cold temperatures will help you feel more relieved and comfortable. Reusable hot or cold packs can be bought from a drugstore. You can also make your own at home. You can do this by taking a small bag of frozen beans or peas and use it as a cold pack. Or heat a damp washcloth for about one minute in a microwave (test the temp. to ensure it does not scald you).
#3. Steamy Shower
A good steamy shower can relax and moisturize your rather congested nasal passages. If you’re feeling dizzy from the cold or flu, you can take a steamy shower as well as a relaxing sponge bath.
#2. Take it easy
Relax and avoid working out on days when you have a head cold and cough. Such taxing activity like exercising can affect your immune system, causing you to feel even sicker. This will also prevent the spread of the infectious cold or flu.
#1. Lozenge or Ice Cube
Sucking on any of these helps soothe the irritation or discomfort caused by the sore throat.
All these home remedies can make you feel better as well as help you fight off the cold or flu virus.
The Best Over-The-Counter Medicine for Cold and Cough
As earlier stated, colds and flu have no specific cure, but symptoms can be treated to get relieve. For the pains, fever, and aches caused by the virus, a drug such as Tylenol can be administered instead of aspirin to prevent the risk of Reye syndrome, which can be fatal especially in children suffering from viral illnesses. This condition is more severe when children take aspirin.
The heavily advertised over-the-counter flu and cold medications that treat symptoms you do not have may lead to unnecessary overtreatment and should be avoided at all costs. The FDA and manufacturers now warn that over-the-counter cold and cough drugs should not be administered to children below the age of 4.
Decongestants that contain pseudoephedrine can be used in temporal clearance of the nasal passages as well as relieving dryness. Decongestant nasal sprays are also effective in clearing the nasal passages, but they should not be used for more than three days as they can result in a “rebound” effect. That is, worse congestion and excessive mucus. On the other hand, pseudoephedrine increases the heart rate and blood pressure. Consult a doctor before taking this drug especially if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, prostate problems, or thyroid problems.
Other Medicines You Can Take to Manage Symptoms of a Head Cold or Flu
- Ibuprofen and paracetamol for pain and fever relieve
- Combination of both cold and cough medicines
- Complementary medicines such as zinc, vitamin C, or Echinacea
- For treating cough: Dextromethorphan (brands such as Robitussin or guaifenesin; Mucinex) are ideal as cough suppressants and for breaking mucus.
Treating Head Colds and Coughs in Children
Colds, coughs, and fevers are very common in children, particularly if they suffer from chest infection and after being vaccinated. However, it’s worthwhile to know that a fever which is not more than 38.5°C is not a sign of serious illness. To the contrary, a fever enhances the body’s immune system’s ability to fight infection.
A menthol-based rub that is topical can be applied on the chest to decongest the nasal passage. Decongestants have pseudoephedrine, a component known to constrict blood vessels and therefore increases blood pressure.
Note: Aspirin should never be used to treat fever in children younger than age 16. This is because the active component, Reyes Syndrome, is known to affect the brain function as well as cause liver damage.