These days, we tend to over-medicate ourselves. Stub your toe? Take Tylenol. Runny nose? Take some Benadryl. But more often than not, natural remedies can be just as effective at soothing symptoms, without risk of side effects or overdose. Here are 7 ways to soothe your cold symptoms without medication.
Symptom soother #1: Take a hot shower
The steam will help break up any congestion in your nose and chest, and the heat will help break a fever. Not only that, but we all feel better when we’re clean.
Symptom soother #2: Drink your water
It is important to stay hydrated when you’re sick. Water will help your body flush out any germs and keep a fever down. It will also help thin mucus in your nose and lungs, making it easier to clear out any congestion. When you’re sick, try to drink at least three quarts to one gallon of water every day.
Symptom soother #3: Herbal tea
Chamomile is a great choice to help you relax and get some much-needed rest. Cinnamon tea can relieve cold symptoms, as can ginger root. Mint tea is excellent for relieving headaches, and lemon balm tea can help raise your spirits. Sweeten these teas with honey for a unique flavor and extra minerals that your body needs.
Symptom soother #4: Use a humidifier
Nothing irritates sensitive nasal passages and sore throats like dry air. Using a humidifier can help soothe a scratchy throat or tender sinuses. Add a little eucalyptus oil to the water to help open up airways and clear congestion.
Symptom soother #5: Warming socks
If you’re running a high temperature, use the warming sock method. Wet a pair of natural fiber socks and put them in the freezer. When they’re frozen, take them out and put them on. (It’ll be a cold shock at first, but just for a moment.) Then put another pair of natural fiber socks over them. This will draw the fever out through the feet, and make you feel so much better. It sounds crazy, but trust me, it works. When the inside socks are dry in the foot area (the ankle part tends to dry faster, so check farther down), if you still have a fever, simply freeze another pair of socks and do it again. This is safe for everyone to do as often as needed, unlike Tylenol which can affect the liver or irritate your stomach.
Symptom soother #6: Rice sock
Fill the foot part of a man’s tube sock (preferably a long sock rather than one with a short top) with dry rice. Do not use quick-cook rice, it won’t work as well. Fold the ankle over and slip another sock over it to hold the rice in place. Pop your rice sock in the microwave for one to three minutes (be careful not to get it too hot) and voila! You have a reusable moist-heat compress. This is wonderful for achy muscles, and you can even lay it across your forehead or the bridge of your nose to ease sinus pressure. You can also pop your rice sock in the fridge or freezer to use as a cold compress to help relieve a fever.
Symptom soother #7: Saline
A non-medicated saline nasal spray is incredibly comforting to irritated nasal passages, and can help flush out any congestion. It can be used as often as needed with no risk of dependency. Try to get it as far up in your sinuses as possible – it’s best if you can get it to run down your throat. It doesn’t taste very good, but it will help clear up your cold in no time, and will help prevent a sinus infection. If you’re really stuffy, mix equal parts of plain saline and alkalol (not alcohol, alkalol… you can find it at specialty drug stores and occasionally behind the counter of your major pharmacies) and squirt it up into your nose. The alkalol will help break up congestion even more quickly.
Put these tips to use, and you’ll be feeling better in no time. However, these tips should not be used in place of a doctor’s advice. If you are very ill, call your doctor to see if other treatments may be necessary.