Dr Hilary says we must 'build up immunity to colds'
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Cases of the “super cold” are continuing to spread throughout the UK, with millions of Britons experiencing classic symptoms of cold and flu despite winter coming to an end. The most common symptoms include congestion, headaches, coughing and a sore throat, most of which have no instant cure. But which so-called “tricks” will help you to overcome the illness more quickly? These are the most common cold and flu remedies fact-checked.
While COVID-19 cases are certainly on the rise, the “super cold” is the latest illness to hit households across the country.
The term is used to describe those with Covid-like symptoms who continue to test negative for the virus, despite experiencing exaggerated and prolonged signs of Covid, or the common cold and influenza virus.
With there’s no single cure for any of these illnesses, home remedies are the best bet for most people to ease persistent symptoms – but which so-called cures are actually worth trying?
Dr Rachel Ward, GP partner at Woodlands Medical Centre told Express.co.uk: “A cold is a viral infection that your body needs to fight.
“People may find soups, broths or honey and lemon soothing, but it is really personal preference as to what helps soothe your symptoms.
“There is no single home remedy known to be better than others.”
The physically warming feeling of broth and soup is enough to make anyone feel better, but it turns out that the nutritional benefits can also have a positive effect on your body.
Bone broth is packed full of nutrients – including gelatine, collagen and a host of vitamins and minerals – all of which are crucial to nourish the digestive system while fighting an infection.
According to BBC Good Food, cooking bones with joint tissue on them (like necks, knuckles, ribs or the leftover carcass from a roasted chicken) can help the body repair and rebuild connective tissues, while reducing inflammation.
The benefits come from the gelatine, glucosamine and chondroitin contained within the tissues which are released into the broth and absorbed by our bodies.
Consuming these nourishing nutrients is one of the most natural ways to help you to get back on your feet faster after a bout of illness.
There are many physical and mental benefits to fresh air, but it is often avoided while battling the common cold or flu, in fear of getting a chill in the colder months.
Fresh air is one of the easiest ways to reduce heavy congestion and clear your head, but there is another reason why you should try to step outside in order to reduce unpleasant symptoms.
Speaking to Hello!, nutritionist Sarah Flower said: “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.”
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Honey and lemon
Many cold and flu medicines are flavoured with honey and lemon, and there’s good reason for this too.
While a spoonful of honey and a drop of fresh lemon juice won’t rid your symptoms, they can offer some relief from a sore throat.
Honey can be mixed into hot water with the juice of a fresh lemon, or simply spooned into your mouth on its own.
One small teaspoon of honey has proven particularly effective in children, with one 2012 study concluding that it showed an improvement in their sleep and reduced nighttime coughing.
Adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to essential fluids such as water or herbal tea is another way to soothe a sore throat, though there is little evidence to prove its effectiveness as a cure for other symptoms.
Plenty of fluids
Hydration is essential to keep the body functioning at all times, but is especially important while you’re battling an illness.
The medically accredited website Healthline said: “Hot tea, water, chicken soup, and other liquids will keep you hydrated, especially if you have a fever.
“They can also loosen congestion in your chest and nasal passages so you can breathe.”
You should be careful to avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can leave you hydrated and interfere with your sleep, which is essential for a speedy recovery.
Dr Ward said: “By taking care of yourself, keeping well hydrated, taking paracetamol to keep your temperature down and resting, you will help yourself recover from a cold or illness.”
If you take vitamin C regularly, your cold symptoms may disappear earlier. But increasing your intake once you are sick is unlikely to have a significant effect.
A 2013 review of studies found that regular supplementation (one to two grams daily) reduced the duration of a cold in adults by eight percent, and in children by 14 percent.
Sustained daily intake of vitamin C has also been proven to reduce the severity of colds overall, though you should use this as a prevention tactic – not a cure.
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