It’s that time of year again when the temperatures drop and winter coats find their way out from the back of your closet and onto your body, and if you’ve ever had a cold then you’d be familiar with the healthy dose of remedial advice that gets served up after symptoms make themselves known.
Both colds and flu are caused by viruses, and according to some, it’s the body’s way of expelling old and damaged cells. Expect a runny nose, some congestion, and even a cough with a cold, but if you develop a fever chances are you’re also getting the flu.
When you do inevitably get sick, you often hear a constant stream of advice such as: “drink plenty of fluids”, “get lots of rest”, “have a hot lemon drink with honey” and “eat raw garlic or ginger”.
But is there any truth to those old wives’ tales we’re so quick to try? Let’s put them to the test.
It’s true. Chicken soup is actually good for your body when you’re sick.
The salty broth created with lots of vegetables helps to thin your mucous and can help reduce inflammation in the throat, and to top it off, the protein from the chicken helps you produce disease-fighting antibodies.
As an added bonus, the steam from the broth can help to loosen any nasal congestion you might have.
Both garlic and ginger are potent relievers of colds and flu.
Ginger contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, meaning it can help to relieve your cold and flu symptoms.
Garlic contains compounds called allicin and alliin, which have antibacterial and antiviral properties that may help to reduce the severity and duration of your cold and flu.
The best way to take these natural supplements is by adding both to your soup, or you can make yourself a hot drink with ginger, lemon and honey, which will also help to soothe your sore and dry throat!
Important note: While raw garlic can be a great way to ward off common colds and flu, if you’re taking blood thinners, garlic can increase your risk of bleeding. Be sure to notify your doctor if you’re considering a garlic supplement to help get you over this flu season.
This one has become a ‘go-to’ remedy the minute we feel a tickle coming on in our throats and there’s a good reason.
When you’re feeling a bit out of sorts with a cold or the flu, drinking plenty of fluids helps to flush out the virus and prevent dehydration.
Perhaps it’s the warmth of the liquid, but a hot lemon drink with a dash of honey often brings instant feelings of comfort.
Being a citrus fruit, (with a dash of lemon in a cup of hot water) adds a little vitamin C, while honey is rich in antioxidants and can help soothe a sore throat.
Honey also works as a cough suppressant, so pop a teaspoon of the stuff in your mouth and allow it to make its way down the back of your throat if you need a bit of instant relief.
It might be difficult to get decent rest, especially if you have a blocked nose and sore throat, but lots of rest is what your body needs when it’s fighting a cold or flu.
The rest allows your body to focus all of its attention on fighting the infection. If you are having trouble falling asleep, try raising your back with extra pillows so that you’re not lying flat, this might help with draining any congestion in your nose.
Remember, while these remedies may provide relief, they should never replace medical treatment if your symptoms are severe or if you have a high fever.
Always consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or if your symptoms persist.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.