Diseases that once terrorized civilization, such as smallpox and polio, may have been cured in our lifetime. But, one thing that unites us with our ancestors is the incurable misery of the common cold.
In fact, it seems that things haven’t changed much since Hippocrates wrote about ‘acrid mucus’ running from the nose way back in the 5th century BC. His prophetic writings even referred to colds as an illness, “we have all experienced and shall continue to do so.”
In Victorian times, the perpetual annoyance of the common cold led many people to release various remedies, anticipating the range of cold medicines we have today. Thankfully we’ve moved on from bizarre Victorian cold ‘cures’, such as sugar with arsenic, or throat-clearing cigarettes.
But, what is the best way to get rid of a cold? Take a look at these useful life hacks that’ll send the common cold running.
Sleep it Off
One of the best life hacks to combat everyday illnesses is to get plenty of sleep. This is especially the case if you have a cold.
Not only does sleeping mean you can switch off from achy joints and a snotty nose for a while, it also provides you with the energy you need to fight off the cold.
In fact, the best course of action is to get a lot of sleep as soon as you start to feel that familiar scratch in your throat. This way, you have a good chance of defeating your cold before it has a chance to get started.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
When you’re sick with a cold, you lose a lot of fluids through blowing your nose, coughing, and sweating. If you don’t replace these fluids, you run the risk of getting dehydrated. This then invites the illness to stick around even longer.
So, make sure to drink at least two liters of liquid a day. Filtered water is always a good option for optimum hydration. But, you might find that you prefer it at room temperature while you’re sick.
Liquids from juice, tea, and soups also count towards your daily quota. As do fruits and vegetables with a high water content, such as zucchini, celery, cucumbers, grapefruit, and oranges.
Eat Spicy Food
A common cold can lead to further conditions, such as a sinus infection — read more to find out how to treat it. One way to stop your sinuses from getting blocked is to keep your nose clear.
So, how do you clear out a stuffy nose? One of the best life hacks for adults is to eat spicy food!
Think about it, spicy food makes your nose run whether you’re sick or not. This is because hot and spicy foods like chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound which acts as a decongestant for your blocked-up nose.
By encouraging nose flow, spicy foods like Thai soups or a chili with plenty of kick help your body expel the mucus build up that comes with a cold. This can help make breathing easier and will help to prevent sinus pain. Not to mention, a delicious warm meal will help give you the energy to fight off the cold.
Go for a Walk
While rest should be a priority when you’re sick with a cold, it’s best not to stay cooped up inside all day.
Getting some exercise is a good way to boost your happy hormones and energy levels. That said, gyms are often a breeding ground for bacteria. So, heading to your local fitness center for a workout isn’t the best idea if you’re suffering from a cold.
Instead, wrap up warm and go for a stroll. You’ll still get the energy boost and a hit of feel-good hormones, but going outdoors will help to clear your head and get some fresh air into your lungs. Because sometimes, the simplest life hacks are the best.
Gargle with Salt Water
We might know better than to clear a sore throat with medicated cigarettes. But, many store-bought medications and mouthwashes for sore throats aren’t as good as plain old salt water.
Salt water isn’t as harsh as those medications, and it’s easy to make since we all have the ingredients in our kitchens.
To reduce swelling and ease the pain of a sore throat, gargle every six to eight hours with a mix made up of 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and a cup of warm water. This will also flush out bacteria and other irritants.
Take a Minty Bath
Most people experience the chills and feel achy when they’re suffering from a cold. A warm bath before bed is perfect for soothing aching muscles, loosening mucus and warming up your core body temperature to help induce sleep.
For extra cold relief, add in a few drops of peppermint essential oil to the bath. Peppermint is known for its muscle-soothing properties, and the scent will help clear your sinuses too.
Add an Extra Pillow
A warm bath might make you sleepy, but it can be hard to get any sleep when you’re suffering from a cold, especially if you start coughing when you lie down.
To reduce sinus pressure and make it easier to breathe, sleep with an extra pillow or two propping up your head and shoulders. Being slightly more upright will loosen congestion and help to prevent coughing, meaning you can sleep for longer.
Drink Honey and Lemon Tea
Some people steer clear of dairy when they’re sick, while others swear that a warming mug of hot chocolate helps fight off a cold. The truth is, good life hacks for one person might not always work for another.
But, one thing that many people agree on is that hot water with honey and lemon is a soothing drink to sip on when you’re battling the common cold.
Honey and lemon both have antiseptic properties to help fight off infection, while the warm tea will soothe your throat and help to replace lost fluids.
Useful Life Hacks to Combat the Common Cold
Just as Hippocrates said all those years ago, everyone always has and always will suffer from the occasional cold. As such, useful life hacks to help combat this annoying part of life are always welcome.
And, for more great advice and tips, check out these healthy living hacks.