Are you looking for a natural or alternative treatment for your cold or flu symptoms? Here are 10 tips that can help relieve your symptoms.
# 1 know when not to treat symptoms
Believe it or not, these bothersome symptoms you experience are part of the natural healing process – proof that the immune system is fighting disease. For example, fever is your body’s way of trying to kill viruses by creating a warmer-than-normal environment. Plus, the hot environment of a fever circulates germ-killing proteins in your blood faster and more efficiently. So if you endure a moderate fever for a day or two, you can actually heal faster. Cough is another productive symptom; it clears your airways of thick mucus which can carry germs to your lungs and the rest of your body. Even that stuffy nose is best treated gently or not at all. A decongestant, like Sudafed, limits the flow to the blood vessels in the nose and throat. But often you want to increase the blood flow, as this warms the infected area and helps the secretions to flush germs out of your body.
# 2 blow yourself often (and the right way)
When you have a cold it’s important to blow your nose regularly, rather than sniffing mucus in your head. But the pressure can bring germ-bearing phlegm back into your ears, causing earaches when you blow hard. The best way to blow your nose: press a finger on one nostril as you blow gently to free the other.
# 3 warm salt water can be used to treat that stuffy nose
The salt water rinse helps break up nasal congestion, while also removing virus particles and bacteria from your nose. Here is a popular recipe:
Mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of lukewarm water. Use a bulb syringe or nasal irrigation kit to inject water into the nose. Keep one nostril closed by applying light pressure with your finger while injecting the salt mixture into the other nostril. Let it drip off. Repeat it two to three times and then treat the other nostril.
# 4 stay warm and rested
Keeping warm and resting when you have a cold or the flu helps your body direct its energy towards the immune battle. This battle puts the body to the test. So give it a little help by resting.
# 5 Gargle
A sore throat can be moistened by gargling and provide temporary relief. Gargle with half a teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of lukewarm water, four times a day.
Try an astringent gargle to reduce the tickling in your throat – like tea that contains tannin – to tighten the membranes. Or use a thick, viscous gargle made with honey and apple cider vinegar or honey only. Infuse a tablespoon of raspberry leaves or lemon juice in two cups of hot water; mix with a teaspoon of honey. Before gargling, let the mixture cool to room temperature.
# 6 drink hot liquids
Hot fluids also help prevent dehydration, relieve nasal congestion, and soothe uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat. If you’re so congested that you can’t sleep at night, try an age-old remedy, a hot toddy. Prepare a cup of hot herbal tea. Add a teaspoon of honey and a small dose (about 1 ounce) of whiskey or bourbon. Limit yourself to one. Too much alcohol will ignite the membranes and make you feel worse.
# 7 Take a steamy shower
Steamy showers hydrate your nasal passages and can help you relax. If you are dizzy with the flu, take a wet shower while sitting in a chair nearby and take a sponge bath.
# 8 Use an ointment under your nose
A small dab of minty ointment under the nose can help open the airways and restore the irritated skin at the base of the nose. Camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol all contain mild numbing ingredients that can help ease the pain of a bare-rubbed nose. However, only put it on the outside, under your nose, not on the inside of your nose.
# 9 Apply hot or cold compresses around your congested sinuses
Both temperatures work. You can buy reusable hot or cold compresses at a drugstore or make your own. You can apply heat by taking a damp washcloth and for 55 seconds, heating it in the microwave (check the temperature first to make sure it’s not too hot.) A small bag of peas frozen foods work well as a cold compress.
# 10 go to sleep with an extra pillow under your head
Congested nasal passages will be relieved by elevating your head. Try placing the pillows between the mattress and box springs if the angle is too awkward to create a more gradual slope.