Having a cold blows.
It's practically impossible to avoid colds during cold season. But that doesn't mean you have to stay down for the count. Comeback like a champ with these six easy and natural ways to kick that pesky winter cold and feel better faster.
1. Breathe Aromatic Steam
You've probably noticed that even when you're congested you breathe a little easier during a hot shower. That's because the steam helps open your bronchial tubes while also thinning the mucus in your sinus. Of course you can't stand in the shower all day, but you can fill a bathroom or kitchen sink with steaming water, add two teaspoons of chopped fresh ginger or a couple drops of oil of eucalyptus, put a towel over your head, lean over the steam, and breathe deeply. Voila! Relief!
2. Irrigate Your Nose
According to WebMD, irrigating your nasal passages with salt water has been scientifically proven to help alleviate congestion by thinning mucus and clearing out the nasal passages. Whether you use a Neti Pot or a bulb syringe, flushing your nose regularly can relieve cold and flu symptoms.
3. Sip on Hot Chicken Noodle Soup
We're not kidding: a bowl of hot chicken soup will make you feel better quickly. Not only have studies shown that the soup improves the function of cilia (those tiny little hair-like structures found in your nose that help fight bacteria and viruses,) it also helps thin mucus in the mouth and throat.
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4. Chomp on Some Chili Peppers
Did you know that chili peppers are a solid source of capsaicin, an antioxidant that also provides natural decongestant? If you can stand it, add some peppers or hot sauce to your dinner; this should temporarily improve breathing. Don't have any peppers? Add some horseradish. It contains a chemical similar to one used in decongestants.
5. Drink, Drink, Drink, and then Drink Some More
Every doctor says it when you go in for a sick visit: drink lots of fluids and get lots of rest. But when you feel awful, it's hard to chug water. So turn it into a game if you need to: get one cup of fluid down an hour. Water, ginger ale, tea, clear soups, electrolyte replacement drinks-anything to keep you hydrated. What's the grand prize? Feeling better! (You can also treat yourself to a few pieces of hard candy.)
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6. Hook up a Humidifier
Maybe the worst part of being sick is the inability to fall sleep at night. And if your room is super dry, it's only going to make it harder to get that much-needed rest. Invest in a humidifier or vaporizer to add some moisture to your environs and help clear nasal and chest congestion. You'll be thankful in the morning.
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