Can you cure the common cold? Not really. It’s a simple virus that usually goes away of its own accord, and there’s not really a cure. But you can find methods to help, and these don’t involve stocking up on all kinds of toxic medicines at the chemist, giving profits to big animal-testing multi-nationals. Note that colds are not always viral (sometimes people undergoing a ‘healing crisis’ to release emotional pain through meditation etc), can sometimes get the same symptoms, so conventional medicines won’t work. There is also not much evidence that taking heaps of vitamin C, zinc, garlic or echinacea (an immune-boosting supplement) helps.
Antibiotics do not help colds (a virus, not bacterial infection). Do not take cold/cough medicine with other medicines (like paracetamol or ibuprofen). Do not use salt water gargles for children, nor decongestants for children under 6 (and not for over 5 days for children age 6 to 12).
How to Treat a Common Cold (naturally)
Most people can treat a common cold at home, and it should resolve itself in a week or two. Symptoms include a runny or blocked nose and sore throat, with possible coughs, headaches, aching muscles, loss of taste and smell, and raised temperature. If you have severe exhaustion and symptoms affect more than your nose and throat, it’s likely flu.
Sometimes a common cold does require you see your GP. If your cold gets worse or does not go away (or you have chest pain or shortness of breath) get medical help. Also if you have any serious medical condition or a weakened immune system. And obviously if concerned about a child. But for anyone else:
- Get plenty of rest ( a short outside walk is enough)
- Go to bed early, and get to sleep!
- Drink plenty of fluid (water, diluted juice or hot tea)
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, which can clear congestion.
Recipes to Help Heal the Sniffles
There is no need really to spend money on expensive cold remedies, as it will just run its course. The best solutions are simply to rest, sleep and drink hot liquids like tea and soup. It won’t make you better quicker, but it will likely make you feel more comfortable, until you naturally get better.
Quercetin is an antioxidant that is good to help heal from the common cold, as it’s a natural anti-inflammatory with anti-viral properties. The good news is that it’s found abundantly in natural foods like broccoli (and kale if you like it), red onions and blueberries. It’s also found in green tea (PureChimp is a good brand, with 5% of profits helping apes rescued from zoos, circuses and vivisection labs). This simple Broccoli Soup (The Veg Space) is made with peas, lemon and basil.
If you prefer a cold ‘cold remedy’, forget buying expensive drinks at juice bars, and make your own. These immune-boosting wellness shots (Simple Vegan Blog) are a simple blend of apple, lemon, ginger and the Indian spice turmeric.
How to Avoid Spreading the Common Cold
If you have a cold, it’s important to avoid being around people until it’s gone, as you will be infectious until then. Cold viruses live on the hands and surfaces for 24 hours and are also spread by coughing and sneezing, so use a handkerchief and wipe down any surfaces used with hot water and biodegradable detergent (avoid essential oils near pregnant/nursing women, babies and pets).
If you use disposable tissues (more hygienic if around other people), Who Gives a Crap? sells paper tissues made from bamboo, sold in zero waste packaging. Or if it’s just you sneezing alone in bed, choose organic cotton reusable handkerchiefs.