As lockdown comes to an end, you may find that minor coughs and sneezes are more common as being at home has meant we've been exposed to fewer colds and viruses. This might prompt us to frantically Google: 'What's the difference between a cold and coronavirus?'
The two viruses share similar symptoms; fever, chills, body aches, and a cough. However, it's believed a runny nose and sinus congestion are very uncommon in COVID-19. While you may feel miserable when you have a cold, the symptoms are usually mild compared to more aggressive viruses like the flu or coronavirus.
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If you find yourself suffering from a cold, don't despair - colds don't have to last as long as you think they do. Here, nutritionist Sarah Flower shares her top tips for getting rid of a cold in 24 hours.
How long does a cold last?
A typical cold will last on average 7 to 10 days and the cold virus will go away as over-the-counter medication eases discomfort.
What are the symptoms of a cold?
The symptoms of a cold include:
- A blocked or runny nose
- A sore throat
- Muscle aches
- A raised temperature
- Pressure in your ears and face
- Loss of taste and smell
Is it possible to get rid of a cold instantly?
There is no guaranteed miracle cure, however, there are definitely tricks you can try to help clear your sinuses and set you on the road to recovery within 24 hours. Follow the simple guidance below...
Top tips for getting rid of a cold fast:
1. Drink, drink, drink!
Keeping hydrated is absolutely vital to help 'flush' out the cold, as well as to break down congestion and keep your throat lubricated. Try to avoid sugary or milky drinks, especially if you have a lot of mucus as this can often make it worse. Instead opt for water (sparkling water with lemon can be very refreshing), or soothing warm herbal, or fruit teas. Herbal teas such as sage, ginger, lemon, camomile, liquorice root, slippery elm and green tea can also help ease a sore, nose or throat problems. For those suffering from inflammation of the mucus membranes, fresh turmeric tea is perfect as an anti-inflammatory.
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2. Up your Vitamin C
This well-known vitamin is extremely helpful when fighting infection, so at the first sign of a cold be sure to increase your intake by eating plenty of berries, citrus fruits, papayas, broccoli and red peppers which will help keep you protected.
3. Boil some bones
Bone broth is packed full of nutrients, including gelatine, collagen and a whole host of vitamin and minerals to help heal and get you back on your feet. Add some garlic for its powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-catarrhal properties, and some chilli, which acts as a natural decongestant. Turmeric, cinnamon and a dash of fresh ginger can also be added and will help to speed up your metabolism.
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4. Use a supplement
A melt-in-the-mouth supplement such as New Era Q can help to ward off symptoms of catarrh and sinus disorders, while New Era J can help those suffering from more general cold symptoms. When taken together, they promise to offer the ultimate protection from colds and flu.
The importance of having the right supplements can't be underestimated for immune health. Through common colds, flu season and COVID-19, scientific evidence has made it clear that the right combination of vitamins really can make a difference to how your body fights off infections.
Margo Marrone, Founder/CEO of The Organic Pharmacy and Homeopath, says she "wanted to combine the most important vitamins that were proven to help with the immune system and specifically the respiratory system, so (she) could provide some support during these unsettling times."
Immune Boost Duo, £55, The Organic Pharmacy
The Immune Boosting Day Supplement is rich in Vitamin A, D & C which all contribute to a properly functioning immune system. Vitamin A specifically helps the body fight off illness and infections, Vitamin C protects cells and aids their function and Vitamin D contributes to reducing tiredness and fatigue as well as being essential for the overall health of bones and muscles.
The Immune Boosting Night Supplement supports the body's ability to relax and therefore aids in quality of sleep. Seeing that the second arm of the immune system is a proper night's sleep, it is important that it doesn't get neglected. Infection-fighting antibody production is enhanced by deep relaxation and adequate amounts of rest. This spectacular mixture of magnesium and herbs reduces anxiety and allows the body to recover through a deep night's sleep.
5. Step outside
When it comes to combating a cold, Vitamin D is essential in helping to regulate an immune response. During the colder months, many people become deficient in Vitamin D because they stay inside avoiding the weather but you need to make sure you expose yourself to the sun's UVB rays by going outside for at least 15 minutes per day - even if it's chilly. For those unable to do so, a great alternative is opting for vitamin D3 supplements. Taking one daily not only boosts the immune system and fights infection but can also help with depression, bone and joint and heart health.
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6. Stock up on Zinc
Try to incorporate plenty of zinc-rich foods in your diet, including pumpkin seeds, spinach, beef, wheat germ and cocoa. This is because the zinc will decrease the time period of the symptoms you are experiencing. You can also take a good quality supplement such as a Zinc Citrate daily.
7. Try Pelargonium
Pelargonium is a natural, herbal remedy which can help with respiratory infections, sore throats and general cold and flu symptoms. Take this remedy as soon as you begin to feel the onset of illness and continue until you see signs of improvement.
8. Take it easy!
We all think we are invincible and push forward no matter what but when feeling under the weather ensure you take some time out, turn off the Wi-Fi, grab the duvet, relax and de-stress. This not only feels good but can also boost your immune system. The perfect excuse for a lazy day!
But, don't just think you're resting because you're chilling out. Getting actual sleep is key as it will help your body to restore faster and fight off infection. This is your free pass to take multiple naps in addition to having a fair few early nights. If you need a helping hand, you should try...
Slip silk eye mask, £50, Space NK
10. Add moisture to the air
Winter is radiation season which means your house can become really dry leading to throat irritation. Of course, it's probably too cold to turn it off altogether but counter it by adding a humidifier to introduce some moisture into the air too. It could really help loosen up your congestion.
11. Buy some honey
Research suggests honey is more effective than many over-the-counter medicines. Honey has long been used as a home remedy to treat coughs and colds, but it's often believed to work more on kids. Recent studies suggest can improve symptoms, particularly the frequency and severity of coughing.
Rowse Blossom Honey, was £8.96 now £5.98, Amazon
12. Take a relaxing bath
A warm bath can reduce a fever and ease any aches or pains. Try adding Epsom Salt and a few drops of essential oils to soothe your body and help to remove toxins.
Westlab Reviving Epsom Bath Salts, £24.99, Amazon
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