There are no cures for a common cold. It cures by itself in a week’s time. However, read on for some remedies that will help alleviate the symptoms…

Have you ever wondered why the cold is known as the ‘common’ cold? It is because at any given point, one in sixty people will be suffering from the cold, hence the term common.

Cold is caused by ‘rhinovirus’ (‘rhin’ in Greek means nose). These virus are present in the air that we breathe and the things that we touch. There are nearly 200 different strains of virus that can infiltrate the lining of the nose and throat causing an immune system reaction that brings with it the symptoms of cold and sore throat.

Despite what some people may tell you, a common cold has no cure. Only remedies are available that can help you feel better. The cold will be cured by itself in about a week’s time. Some cold remedies are very ancient while others are relatively new.

Cure for the Common Cold

Here are some of the remedies that actually seem to work:

*          Chicken Soup: Chicken soup has helped alleviate the discomfort caused by cold for centuries. Research has shown that the chicken soup helps by working in two ways. Firstly, it behaves as an anti-inflammatory and inhibits the movement of neutrophils which are the immune system cells and participate in the body’s inflammatory response. Secondly, it helps by temporarily speeding the movement of the mucus through the nose thereby relieving congestion and reducing the time that the virus is in contact with the lining of the nose. And the good news is that research has also shown that canned chicken soup works just as well as homemade soup. And if you are a vegetarian, you could replace the chicken with some vegetables like carrot and peas and that should do the trick for you.

*          Water and Fluids: Water will not help flush the cold from the system. However, fluids like water, juice, warm broth and lemon water with honey will help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration. However, liquids like alcohol and coffee should be avoided as they further dehydrate the body.

*          Saline Water: In an 8 ounce of glass, dissolve about half a teaspoon of salt and gargle with the solution every four hours. This will provide definite relief to a sore and scratchy throat.

*          Hot Shower: A quick hot shower will help reduce congestion and provide temporary relief. The steam will help shrink the mucous membranes in the nose and throat which help with the drainage of mucus. But remember to keep the shower brief and do not soak yourself in the tub. Even if the water in the tub is hot initially, it will gradually become colder and can worsen the symptoms.

*          Humidity: The reason as to why cold is very common in the winters is because the cold virus thrives in dry conditions. The dry air can also make the mucus membrane of the nose dry causing a stuffy nose and a scratchy throat. Adding a humidifier in your house will help by adding moisture to the house. But remember that the humidifier brings with it mold, fungi and bacteria which can cause other complications. Hence it is imperative to keep your humidifier clean and change the water regularly.

*          Vitamin C: It is believed that vitamin C acts as a natural decongestant and can also reduce the duration of the cold. However, this belief has not been clinically proven. The ideal dosage of vitamin C is a capsule of 500 mg. Anything greater than this will not be absorbed by the body.

*          Sleep: Your body needs adequate rest and sleep to fight infection. Take ample rest and cozy up in bed with warm blankets.

*          Over the Counter Medications: Non-prescription decongestions and pain relief are available that do offer relief from various symptoms but do remember that that these drugs will neither cure cold nor shorten its duration. Research has also shown that if taken for an extended period of time, these drugs can make the symptoms worse and can also cause damage to the liver. I believe that you should consider taking these drugs only if no other option is available.

There are many wives tales that make tall claims about curing cold but they usually do not help. Ask around and find out if the tale actually has helped anyone before blindly accepting any suggestion. It can do more harm than good.