With cough and cold season upon us, chances are you’ll be hitting your local drugstore to stock up on medicines to ease runny noses, sore throats, and achy muscles. While these over-the-counter medicines are usually effective, they can cost upwards of $10 for a single pack—and that’s with a coupon! So if you’re looking to save a little money as well as the discomfort of the seasonal cold, give these home remedies a whirl. Just remember to consult with your doctor first. And above all, when you’re feeling under the weather, it’s important to allow yourself to take a break from the daily grind and get plenty of rest!
Sore throat: Try gargling with salt water to cure a sore throat. Just add half a teaspoon of salt to a very warm cup of water, and repeat every three to four hours. The saline solution actually helps to cut phlegm and reduce inflammation. Or, you could opt to take the cider vinegar route: Mix one tablespoon of honey, one tablespoon of vinegar, and 8 ounces of hot water, and sip slowly! The taste may not be desired, but many swear by this at-home cure. And if all else fails, give yourself a healthy dose of steam—cover your head with a towel and sit over a bowl of steaming hot water (the towel helps to trap the steam).
Cough: All of the sore throat remedies will also ease a stubborn cough, so the good news is you can treat two symptoms with one cure. Other methods to help a nagging cough are to drink hot carrot juice, suck on a lemon filled with black pepper powder and salt, or even regular eating of grapes over a number of days. The grape method is believed to tone up the lungs and act as an expectorant.
Runny nose: For starters, drink plenty of fluids as this will help in the thinning of the mucus. Ginger is also extremely helpful for runny nose relief. Just cut some ginger into small pieces (add salt to taste) and chew on them. This will help drain your nose as well as maintain a normal body temperature. Or, try a saline rinse by dissolving a half teaspoon of salt into an 8-ounce glass of filtered warm water. Once the salt is dissolved, suck up the solution with an eye or nose dropper and insert the dropper's end slightly into your nostril. As your press down on the dropper, inhale slightly through your nose. Do this in each nostril at least twice, then blow out the watery discharge afterward so it doesn't run into your stomach.
Achy back: The best way to relieve an achy back related to the flu is by relaxing with a heating pad. Just be sure to avoid putting the heating pad on your bare skin, and make sure it’s not too hot as to burn your skin.
Fever: A fever often gives you the shivers, and while it’s okay to cover up, once you start to feel warm switch to a single, light sheet. It’s not true that you can "sweat out a fever", so bundling up under heavy covers will likely make you feel worse. Instead, try taking a tepid or cool-ish bath (but not ice cold!) for a half hour. Make sure to drink plenty of hydrating fluids, and dress with as much of your body exposed as possible; this will allow your sweat glands to better release moisture, which will ultimately make you feel more comfortable.
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