Tackling winter sniffles

As winter begins to bite,  we’ll see all those familiar red noses and watery eyes appearing – and we aren’t talking Santa’s Rudolf!

At some point, almost everyone gets a cold – and because the common cold is caused by a virus, antibiotics are no good as a treatment.

Apparently, most adults can expect to get about two colds a year, and while they’re usually not dangerous, they can certainly leave you feeling awful.

While there’s no actual cure for a cold, there are several home remedies that may reduce those misery-producing symptoms such as sore throat, nasal congestion, coughing and aches and pains.

Gargling is good for easing the sore throat, and can be done with either salt water or a warm solution of water lemon juice and honey.

Drinking plenty of fluids can help prevent dehydration and may thin out the mucus. Water is the best bet when it comes to staying well hydrated, although other liquids such as juice are also good.  Tea with lemon and honey and other hot drinks can help break up congestion and ease sore throat, and hot soup, especially spicy ones, may promote nasal drainage and make breathing easier.  But best to avoid alcohol which is dehydrating!

Steam it out.  Put a towel over your head and inhale steam fom a bowl of boiling water, ideally using drops of a plant oil such as eucalyptus or olbas oil for added relief. Or just take a nice hot shower with plenty of steam, or sit in a really steamy bathroom.

Blowing your nose may seem like a no-brainer – but it needs to be done right! Sniffing – as well as sounding pretty gross to everyone around you – can also force mucus back up into the ears and lead to an earache.  To blow the nose correctly, block one nostril and gently blow into a tissue, then switch and block the opposite nostril and blow.

The best thing about these home remedies is that they don’t have any side effects, so even if they only offer limited help, they certainly won’t do any harm.