I have a long and sorted past with coughing.
As I share in my book, “What’s Your Kryptonite?”, I had chronic bronchitis in my childhood. As a young adult, I was accustomed to a common cold escalating to bronchitis that was accompanied by a scary-sounding cough.
There wasn’t much I could do about it (so I thought), so it often went untreated for too long.
Actually, I was wrong. There were many things I could do that would improve the situation in the short-term … but even better … would strengthen my immune system long-term.
And, a stronger immune system has a long list of health benefits. So, let’s make sure you’re ready when the common cold makes a visit … with a cough, sore throat and flu-like symptoms.
Coughing affects everyone at some point in their lives, and it can be a symptom of many different illnesses. For one, coughing can be a symptom of COVID-19. But it can also be a symptom of the common cold, flu, allergies, or even asthma. Fortunately, home remedies for cough, sore throat, and flu are readily available. These can help alleviate your symptoms.
What causes a cough?
Coughing is caused when air passes through narrow passages in your lungs, such as those between your ribs. Coughing helps clear mucus out of your throat and lungs. It’s one way our bodies protect us against infection.
When coughing becomes persistent, however, it may be an indication of another problem. For example, a chronic cough might indicate asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, or other lung problems. A persistent cough could also signal a more serious condition like cancer or heart disease.
What causes a sore throat?
A sore throat is the feeling of irritation and discomfort within the throat due to various reasons from bacterial to viral infections or environmental allergies.
Sore throats are caused by pathogens that enter the body through tiny cuts in the mouth or nose. These viruses cause inflammation of the membranes lining the back of the throat (pharynx) and tonsils.
The most common virus causing a sore throat is called group A streptococcus. Other viruses include adenovirus, rhinovirus, parainfluenza virus, coronavirus, coxsackievirus, echovirus, influenza virus, human metapneumovirus, herpes simplex virus, and respiratory syncytial virus.
What causes flu?
Flu is an infectious disease that comes with symptoms including a high fever, body aches, headaches, and extreme exhaustion.
It is typically caused by a virus that spreads easily between people when they sneeze, cough, talk or even touch their mouth. It usually starts off as a cold but then develops into the flu with more severe symptoms.
The best way to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands often with soap and water (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing will reduce the spread of germs.
If you do become ill, remember to drink lots of fluids and rest. You can take ibuprofen to ease pain and fever if necessary.
Using Home Remedies
The best way to treat these three conditions together is to opt for home remedies rather than over-the-counter medications which can have negative side effects. For example, drinking warm water with honey and lemon gives a soothing sensation to the throat while boosting immunity to fight away any viral infections that could be causing the ailments.
Another home remedy that can help clear airways is steam. Using steam inhalation with fragrant herbs like eucalyptus and aromatic oils like menthol provides relief by thinning out the thick mucus allowing it to be expelled easily during coughing fits. Eating foods rich in Vitamin C helps keep the immune system healthy. And, drinking ginger tea serves as an anti-inflammatory agent reducing swelling and pain in the throat area that often accompanies these conditions.
Home Remedies for Cough
• Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids flush out mucus from the body and keep your immune system strong.
• Avoid caffeine. Coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate have diuretic effects, meaning they make you urinate more often. If you’re feeling dehydrated, drink water instead.
• Eat foods rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A helps strengthen the lining of the nose and sinuses. Try eating carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, cantaloupe, and mangoes.
• Massage therapy can ease muscle tension and relax sore muscles.
• Avoid allergens. Allergens trigger allergic reactions in the body, including sneezing, runny eyes, and stuffy noses.
Home Remedies for Sore Throat
• Gargle with warm salt water. Warm salt water can help thin mucus while also reducing swelling and pain in the throat.
• Drink herbal teas. Herbal teas like chamomile, ginger, and licorice root can help soothe a sore throat.
• Eat foods rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and fight off infections that cause sore throats. Try eating oranges, kiwis, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli.
• Use a humidifier. A humidifier can help keep the air moist and reduce throat irritation.
• Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smoking irritates the throat and can make it more difficult to heal a sore throat.
Home Remedies for Flu
• Get plenty of rest. Resting helps your body fight off infection and recover faster.
• Drink lots of fluids. Fluids help flush out toxins and keep your body hydrated.
Start Using Home Remedies for Your Cough, Sore Throat, and Flu!
While there may not be one perfect remedy that works for everyone, every situation and every time, trying out some of these home remedies can go a long way in helping you manage coughs, sore throats, and flu symptoms. And don’t forget to prioritize rest and hydration.
Natural ingredients … often found in your own kitchen … are much safer and can be equally effective when compared to pharmaceuticals. Before you buy over-the-counter medications, be sure to try some of these home remedies for yourself. Who knows – you might just save yourself some money while improving your long-term health!