Once you get a cold, you want to get rid of it fast. Especially with it being this close to Christmas.
Getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated are two of the best, proven ways to get back to feeling 100 per cent.
But, according to experts, there’s other, slightly more unusual ways to fight off that runny nose, sore throat and barking cough…
Most colds last for about a week and although there is no miracle cure, experts have revealed that drinking tea, having a hot shower and even eating a curry can help symptoms
Take a hot shower
A warm bath or shower can relieve aches and pains, one of the nasty side effects of bugs lurking silently this winter.
And staying warm can actually help reduce cold symptoms, according to Dr Simon Clarke, an infectious disease expert at the University of Reading.
He said: ‘If you are feeling cold and need to get your body temperature up a bath or a shower is one way of doing it.’
Not only does it warm you up, but the steam in a shower also clears your bunged up sinuses by making the mucus thinner. This allows it to drain easier.
Pharmacist Thorrun Govind suggests filling a bowl full of hot water and breathing in the steam to get the same benefits.
She said: ‘If you are breathing in deep from a bowl of water it can make the mucus thinner and help it drain a bit better.’
The hot water in a shower or bath also increases blood flow, which relaxes and soothes your muscles – relieving you of those tell-tale aches and pains.
Not only does it warm you up, but the steam in a shower also clears your bunged up sinuses by making the mucus thinner which makes it easier to blow your nose
Go for a brisk walk
If you are feeling run down, you’re probably reluctant to brave the cold outdoors.
But stumping up the courage to venture outside for a brisk walk really could help, experts say.
Dr Clarke adds that taking a walk and getting some fresh air is always good for your health. But wrap up warm at this time of year, he insists.
The Mayo Clinic, a US medical research centre, says that exercising may temporarily ease your bunged up nose by opening up your nasal passages.
However, not everyone agrees with the logic that going for a walk while ill will help.
Ms Govind said: ‘You just want to be resting and sleeping and staying warm.
‘You should be avoiding contact with other people until you feel better.’
Regular exercise does boost your immune system over time, too, which could help you in the long-run.
Stumping up the courage to venture outside for a brisk walk could help experts say. This is because exercising may temporarily ease your bunged up nose by opening up your nasal passages
Eat a curry
Going for a curry could be the answer to your woes.
Dr Clarke said: ‘Personally, I find this works.
‘I am unaware of any scientific basis for this, but eating spicy food just makes you feel a bit pepped up.’
He explained one reason for this could be because the spices irritate your airways, which opens them up.
It unblocks your nose and allows you to breathe with ease, but Dr Clarke admits experts themselves are not 100 per cent sure why it works.
Tests by leading cold researchers have also found eating a Madras can help.
The Common Cold Centre at the University of Cardiff found that the spicy dish helps you salivate, reducing your coughing and sore throat symptoms.
Curries are packed full of virus-busting vitamins.
Ingredients such as garlic and ginger, added to give dishes an extra kick, are abundant in zinc, which may help fight off the rhinovirus that causes many colds. Experts don’t think they will kick in immediately but could potentially help.
Experts say a curry can help ease congestion. They also contain foods which are full of vitamins that can help your immune system
A nice hot cup of tea, or any hot drink for that matter, can help you feel better. It will keep you hydrated and unblock your airways according to experts
Put the kettle on
A cuppa really can make you feel better.
Professor Ron Eccles and his team, from Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre, once studied the effects of consuming a comforting hot drink on a stuffy nose.
The 2008 study, in the journal Rhinology, found a hot drink provides immediate relief from a runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness and tiredness.
But a drink at room temperature only relieved symptoms of a runny nose, cough and sneezing.
Professor Eccles said: ‘Any hot tasty drink will relieve most of the symptoms of a common cold, particularly sore throat and cough.’
He ran a clinical trial that tested the theory on hot blackcurrant cordial, which did help sooth a sore throat.
But it doesn’t need to be hot blackcurrant, he said: ‘Any hot tasty liquid will promote salivation and mucus secretion and soothes the inflamed throat.’
Just how a hot shower and moisture in the air can help, the theory is steam in the hot drink can soften and break down mucus, allowing you to breathe easier.
Ms Govind said: ‘You need to be drinking plenty of fluids because it will keep your mucus membranes lubricated.
‘We encourage people to drink warm liquid because it can make you feel a bit more comfortable.’
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