Beat That Cold with At-Home Remedies
Kids are wonderful but they also have a knack for bringing home every germ in their classroom or at the playground. Mommies (and Daddies) need to be at peak performance no matter how many times the little ones sneeze or cough on them. Short of popping Advil at every turn, there are some natural, healthy pick-me-ups that can help keep Mommy and Daddy healthy even when their little ones are run down. Please note: these tips can be used even if you don't have kids to track in the muck.
Pop Those Pills and Gargle That Water!
1. Though vitamin C will wash right out of your body (and turn your pee a bright yellow, maybe even orange), it also is an essential vitamin for your body's natural immune system. Emergen-C and Airborne are both products that incorporate mega-doses of vitamin C. But why pay top dollar for a handful of somewhat odd-tasting drink mixes when you can buy an economy size bottle of 1000mg vitamin C pills and keep them in your medicine cabinet long after your cold passes?
At the first sign of a cold or sore throat, I start myself on a regimen of one 1000 mg vitamin C supplement three times a day for several days. I also make sure to drink extra fluid to help the component do its job and excrete comfortably. In addition, I often increase my intake of naturally occuring vitamin C foods such as oranges and grapefruits (or their juice equivalents). But those items contain a fraction of vitamin C as compared to the mega-dose pills. While the FDA only recommends 60 mg of vitamin C daily for healthy adults and 100 mg for pregnant women, some studies have shown that mega-doses of vitamin C can be helpful when fighting infection. It should be noted, that not all studies have concluded that and that large doses can cause diarrhea and indigestion in some individuals.
2. Echinacea is another supplement I turn to at the first sign of a cold or sore throat. One 400mg pill taken three times a day seems to be sufficient to help reduce the severity of my symptoms and the longevity of my infection. Echinacea is an herb that comes from the coneflower, indigenous to North America. Many folks (and some studies) find that it is a substance that helps the body's natural immune system combat colds, flus, UTIs, and even acne. Taken in pill form is the easiest way but I find that there are some yummy teas as well. Yogi makes a great "special" echinacea formula that is a little minty and very smooth.
3. While the body does not need much zinc, it is an essential component for a healthy immune system, muscle growth, and sexual development. It has been shown in many studies to have a marked effect on the longevity of a cold or sore throat. Do be careful not to ingest more than 100mg per day. It is a mineral that can have serious side effects such as nausea, hallucinations, and diarrhea.
Many zinc lozenges taste awful so shop around. There was a honey lemon one I found years ago that was decent.
Zinc can be found naturally in foods such as lean meat, lentils, and dairy products.
4. Gargling with salt water is something my mother has always been a proponent of and I have resisted. But it is one of the cheapest, easiest, safest, and most effective treatments I've found for a sore throat. Stir a spoonful of salt into a glass of warm water and gargle away. I tend to use it three times a day at the first sign of symptoms, but feel free to use as necessary.
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