Common cold can be caused by almost 200 viruses, and irrespective of the season can lead to runny nose, fever, cough and congestion for 5-7 days. It’s no surprise that we tend to fall ill during a change in season, when our body is trying to adapt to the weather and our immunity levels may be slightly low, and your body may fall short of Vitamin C or Vitamin D. Other than medicines, you could follow these home remedies for cold and cough: Eating a balanced, healthy diet that includes foods such as broccoli, garlic and ginger can go a long way in helping you recover.
“Rhino virus is the commonest virus and usually causes cold in fall or late spring, while the RSV and corona virus causes cold in winter, and the enterovirus causes cold in summer. However, it can also spread virally from person to person by visiting crowded places, irrespective of the season,” says Dr Indraneel Raut, Consultant-Internal medicine and critical care at Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai.
If you are afflicted by common cough and cold, ensure that you stay hydrated as fever can lead to dehydration. Sipping on lukewarm water can provide relief to the throat, while eating soups and juices can help you hydrate your body.
Here are some of the other remedies for common cold:
Salt water gargling
Steam inhalation and gargling are good remedies for congestion. “Have hot milk with turmeric or consume a concoction of lemon, cinnamon and honey,” says Dr Abhishek Subhash, General Practitioner, Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai.
Include Vitamin C rich foods in your diet which are good remedies from common cold. Research done by the University of Helsinki, Finland, shows that consuming a certain dosage of vitamin C every day during a cold can shorten the duration of the infection. “Foods rich in vitamin C such as amla (Indian gooseberry), oranges, strawberry and broccoli should be included in your meals. You can also have hot soup with pepper and garlic,” says Dr Raut.
Public Health England advises people to take Vitamin D supplements daily during autumn and winter to prevent common cold, as sunlight hours get reduced in these seasons. In India, it is the high levels of pollutants in the air that prevent us from gaining enough Vitamin D, so supplements or eating foods high in Vitamin D like fatty fish, cod liver oil, egg yolk, mushroom and organic milk could help.
If you are suffering from congestion, you need to consume garlic. It contains a natural antibiotic called allicin, which fights viral and bacterial infections and acts as a decongestant.
If you are suffering from a cold or flu, drink 1-2 cups of ginger every day and you will notice an improvement in symptoms and a reduction in irritation of the respiratory tract. “Ginger is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. This is the reason why it is the first and most recommended option for any respiratory problems or allergies and/or asthma,” says Rohini Mondal, a nutritionist on Lybrate.
Mushrooms are the latest superfood and since they are high in beta-glucans which can help fend off a cold by destroying disease-causing cells, and boost the immune system which has been weakened by chronic illness.