We have all experienced our fair share of colds and it is never a pleasant experience. From the throbbing pressure in your head and sinuses to the coughing, sneezing, and runny nose, cold symptoms can leave you feeling miserable for an entire week or more. While over-the-counter medications may help to reduce cold symptoms, they may not do anything to actually shorten the length of the cold. Fortunately, there are a few natural remedies you can try to shorten your cold or to fend one off if you start at the first sign of cold symptoms.
Natural Remedies to Stop or Shorten Colds
When you feel that first tickle in your throat you probably rush to the drug store for cold medicine. While that cold medicine might help to break up congestion or soothe a sore throat, all it is designed to do is lessen your symptoms – it doesn’t do anything to fend off or shorten the cold itself. Below you will find a list of six natural remedies to try at the onset of a cold to shorten its duration or to stop it all together:
- Supplements to Boost Your Immune System – Strengthen your immune system so it can fight back against the cold virus by taking certain supplements at the first sign of a cold. Vitamins A, C, and D are helpful for immune health as are minerals like selenium, iodine, and zinc.
- Sip on Some Ginger Tea – Not only will hot tea soothe your raw throat, but ginger has natural anti-viral properties that may help your body fight back against the cold. You may be able to find tea at a specialty food store or you can make your own by steeping fresh ginger in water then heat it with a little lemon and honey.
- Get Some Extra Sleep – In order to charge up your battery to fight against the oncoming cold you need to get plenty of rest. The more tired you are, the longer you will stay sick and the fatigue will just add to the burden of your cold symptoms.
- Try Nasal Irrigation – If you start to feel sinus pressure or congestion, flushing your nasal cavity with saline solution may help to get rid of the cold-causing bacteria. Try using a neti pot and perform the treatment no more than 2 or 3 times per week.
- Get a Little Exercise – When you are feeling sick, exercising is probably the last thing you want to do but studies have shown that exercise actually strengthens the immune system. Engaging in regular exercise can decrease your risk for catching a cold by as much as 46%. If you already have a cold, getting some exercise can help reduce the severity of your symptoms and the number of days you have them.
- Wash Your Hands – The simplest but most important thing you can do to fend off a cold is to wash your hands. Always wash your hands before eating and any time you make contact with another person, especially someone who is sick.
These are just a few of the many ways you can tackle a cold naturally. You can also try taking some elderberry syrup or increase your consumption of certain anti-viral and immune-boosting herbs. No matter which remedies you choose to try, be sure to take it easy while you are sick because stress and anxiety can just make the cold worse.
There are many different strains of the cold virus and each person’s body reacts to the virus in a different way. You may find that one or more of the remedies listed above works well for you while others have no affect at all. If your cold lasts for longer than a week or your symptoms become severe, contact your doctor to see if there might be something else going on.