When the cold weather hits, many people find themselves fighting a nasty bug. Whether it’s a runny nose or a sore throat, these bothersome germs can affect your work, school and sleep. As a young person, especially as a young mother, I can’t afford to be sick. I can’t afford to go running to the doctor, wait at a walk in clinic or take the time off work. I also can’t afford to spend money that I could be spending on food to buy expensive cold medicines that don’t do anything but temporarily relieve my cold symptoms for 6-8 hours. That is why, throughout the years, I have perfected a list of home remedies that help to ward off colds, most viruses and infections until I can get settled into a job with a great benefits package, sick days and a sweet salary. My list is also completely safe (I use them on my daughter all the time because if she’s sick I can’t go to work) but use your discretion and keep allergies in mind when trying any home remedy.
At the first sign of a sore throat gargle with salt water. This is obvious but people rarely follow through on this home remedy. What I usually do is keep a cup of warm salt water in the bathroom. I gargle and spit until the entire glass is empty and then I refill the glass and start again at the next bathroom visit. If you follow through with this procedure, the sore throat should not progress past the initial uncomfortable stage.
If you find you have swollen lymph nodes and white spots on the back of your throat then I feel sorry for you. I really do, but I have a solution for you. Honey will be your best friend. It will soothe your sore throat and has natural antibacterial properties that help fight infections. Now let’s blast that sore throat into oblivion with some OJ and ginger. We all know orange juice is rich in Vitamin C and helps to boost immunity and reduce inflammation. Ginger is a super food and rich in antioxidants and has many uses, but in the case of a sore throat it also boosts immunity and reduces inflammation. I prefer to use raw ginger and use a cheese grater to grate it into the OJ. This combination can combat most illnesses but it can cure your sore throat in a matter of days.
Growing up I had really bad eczema and I remember my parents taking me to the doctor for that yucky smelling cortisone cream. When I noticed my daughter had the same problem, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Vitamin E increases cell turnover and circulation. It is also a powerful antioxidant. I prefer to use Webber’s Vitaman E ointment. It acts as a protective barrier while moisturizing and treating my daughter’s eczema. It helps to treat sunburns, scars and is safe to use on tattoos as well. Since using this product, my daughter’s eczema has been kept at bay and scars from scratching have healed.
I find a cough more of an inconvenience because it’s disruptive; disrupts sleep, disturbs others and leaves you short of breath. Most coughs start out dry and then progress to a wet cough. Before you start hacking your guts out, try some honey. It’s not just a coincidence that honey is found in most lozenges. It not only helps soothe your sore cough but it can also treat what is making you cough. Garlic is another super food because it is chalk full of vitamins and nutrients, it is also high in antiviral and antibiotic properties (and it’s been sitting in your kitchen this entire time!). How I use garlic to treat a cough either dry or wet is to boil it in water on a low setting for about 20 minutes. I then add a peppermint or chamomile tea bag, pour it into a glass with some honey and voila! I’m on my way to better health. For pesky night time coughs I rub my back, throat and chest with pure eucalyptus oil. Be sure to use another oil as a protective barrier such as vitamin E or Vaseline because this oil can be very powerful. It is the active ingredient in many cold medications and instead of running out and spending money on expensive medications you can purchase a small bottle at the health food store for as little as $10 and it will last you for months (if you use it right).
I’ve suffered from this awful infection throughout most of my childhood and I almost had tubes put into my ears to prevent them. It wasn’t until adulthood I discovered a safer, more effective and natural remedy. Epsom salts are high in magnesium and it “draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling, relaxes muscles, is a natural emollient, exfoliate” I pour these unappetizing salts into a wash cloth creating a pouch which I then soak it in boiling hot water. I let the cloth cool for a bit and then place pouch by my ear. The heat rising into the ear canal reducing inflammation from the infection and draws out the impurities causing the infection. I reheat the pouch and repeat this procedure until the blockage is clear and I can chew and eat comfortably. For stubborn infections I add a few drops of tea tree oil which is another powerful antiseptic and healing agents that aids in a speedy recovery.
Other than packing your pockets full of Kleenex, this home remedy is a work in progress. I suffer from chronic sinus infections that most likely start off as allergies that progress into a full blown infection. For a stuffed nose, a warm cloth and eucalyptus can be helpful to reduce inflammation, suppress coughs and is high in antiseptic properties. By massaging the nasal cavity of your nose you can clear most of the blockage without causing unnecessary pressure on your sinuses by blowing too hard. Keep moisture in the air by using a vaporizer or a humidifier and keep your nasal cavity moisturized with saline drops and the nostrils moisturized with vitamin E, Vaseline or, if they’re really cracked, lanolin.
If your nose is runny, it is most likely caused by allergies. I find Vaseline helps to keep allergens away. The overall lesson I have learned dealing with sinus issues for the last few years is to blow your nose as little as possible. You can blow out your eardrum or cause the infection to spread. Keep your head elevated and your chin held high and you will get through any illness.
I hope you found my home remedies useful and here’s to making it through our six month winter. Cheers!