According to WebMD, between 5 and 20 percent of Americans will get the flu this year, with roughly 200,000 cases so bad that people will require hospitalization.
And while we may try everything we can to prevent getting sick, like getting a flu shot, almost all of us will get a cold or the flu at some point this winter season. Luckily, we don’t have to just sit around and suffer.
This exclusive list of natural cold and flu remedies is quite surprising. While I know I’m supposed to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids, I had no idea that wearing wet socks to bed could help fight a cold!
Scroll through below to see how you can combat your cold and get back to feeling healthy as soon as possible.
Do you plan to try these extremely easy cold-fighting techniques? Let us know in the comments!
1. Saltwater Nose Rinse
It might seem weird to put liquid into your nose, but this method can be extremely effective in easing nasal congestion and fighting bacteria.
According to WebMD, you should “mix 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water. Use a bulb syringe or nasal irrigation kit to squirt water into the nose. Hold one nostril closed by applying light finger pressure while squirting the salt mixture into the other nostril. Let it drain. Repeat two to three times, then treat the other nostril.”
2. Gargle It
We’ve probably all heard that you should gargle with saltwater to battle a sore throat, loosen up mucus, and fight bacteria. But it might come as a surprise that gargling with salt can actually prevent upper respiratory tract infections from ever even developing.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, “Simple water gargling was effective to prevent [upper respiratory tract infections] among healthy people. This virtually cost-free modality would appreciably benefit the general population.”
3. Make a Hot Toddy
Alcohol in a drink like a hot toddy might sound like a strange way to battle a cold, but according to WebMD, “Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion, prevent dehydration, and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat.”
They write, “Make a cup of hot herbal tea. Add one teaspoon of honey and one small shot of whiskey or bourbon.” They recommend this for easing congestion, particularly before bedtime.
4. Sleep with Wet Socks
Though it might sound very surprising, wearing wet socks to bed can actually help to ease your cold symptoms.
Best Health magazine writes, “Believe it or not, this soggy strategy can help ease a fever and clear congestion by drawing blood to the feet, which dramatically increases blood circulation.”
They continue, “Warm your feet in hot water. Then soak a thin pair of cotton socks in cold water, wring them out and slip them on just before going to bed. Put a pair of dry wool socks over the wet ones. The wet socks should be warm and dry in the morning, and you should feel markedly better.”
5. Put on the Frozen Peas
It might sound extremely bizarre, but applying hot or cold to your sinuses can be amazing for fighting congestion.
According to WebMD, “Either temperature works… You can apply heat by taking a damp washcloth and heating it for 55 seconds in a microwave… A small bag of frozen peas works well as a cold pack.”
6. Make Lemonade
Lemonade might sound like a summer drink to you, but it actually is great for detoxifying the body, aiding digestion, and battling colds and the flu.
- 2 to 3 Tbsps. raw honey
- 2 organic lemons, freshly squeezed
- Water to dilute
- Lemon slices
They write, “Whisk lemon juice and honey together until well incorporated. Dilute with water to taste and add ice cube and lemon. Sip up!”
7. Put a Dab Under the Nose
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein
Applying salve or VapoRub right under your nose can do wonders for a cold or the flu.
According to WebMD, “A small dab of mentholated salve under your nose can help to open breathing passages and restore the irritated skin at the base of the nose.”
They also say that the numbing quality of these rubs can relieve any pain associated with “a nose rubbed raw.”
8. Steam It Out
It shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise that steam can be a real help in loosening up mucus and clearing out congestion. A hot shower is a great way to really breathe in a significant amount of steam.
But Best Health magazine also recommends a way to “breathe easy with steam” without getting wet. “Pour just-boiled water into a large bowl. Drape a towel over the top of your head to trap the steam, and breathe in through your nose for five to 10 minutes.”
9. Prop Up the Head
If you are the type of person who likes to sleep with a minimal amount of pillows, you may want to reconsider when you are battling a cold or the flu.
According to WebMD, “Elevating your head will help relieve congested nasal passages. If the angle is too awkward, try placing the pillows between the mattress and the box springs to create a more gradual slope.”
10. Knock It Out with Vitamins
Obviously, we’ve all heard of taking vitamin C when it comes to battling illness. And it’s true that foods and supplements packed with vitamin C can do wonders. But there are also plenty of other vitamins to stock up on.
According to Prevention magazine, you should fight your cold by taking omega-3, astragalus, vitamin D, ginseng, zinc, and (of course) vitamin C. Each of these has a specific benefit, so taking supplements or eating foods high in these vitamins can go quite a long way.
11. Fight It with Food
There are so many great foods that will help you to battle colds and the flu, like carrots, cranberries, onions, blueberries, bananas, brown rice, bell peppers, and mustard.
However, according to Wellness Mama, “At the first sign of illness, completely remove all white foods from the diet. These foods suppress immune function and slow the body’s healing ability.”
These white foods to avoid include “grains, sugars, milk, cheese, dairy, sweeteners, [and] soda.”
These easy, natural tips are a great way to find fast relief from a cold or the flu this winter season.
Will you be trying out these simple remedies when you feel under the weather? Let us know in the comments.
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