Having the sniffles? Feeling sneezy, sore and starting to ache all over? It’s most likely the common cold passed on by your friendly, neighbourhood flu carrier. Influenza or flu for short, is the most common infection plaguing humans the world over. The common cold has no cure, as yet.

There are only remedies to alleviate the symptoms and allow the body to recover over time. The best news is once you’ve recovered from that strain of flu, it’s likely you won’t get it again the next time. And if you do, the symptoms will not affect you that badly.

What are the best ways to cure the common cold? It all depends on you and your lifestyle. If you’re set to attend a major meeting at work, or involved in Junior’s upcoming football match, then, a quick trip to the Doctor’s at the first sign of the cold is recommended. Treating the cold symptoms early will ensure a quicker recovery. Most cold sufferers receive a prescription of antihistamines to stop the leaky nose and itchy throat.

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Also, mild antibiotics may be prescribed to help you recover from any viral infections. Plus, fever medicines aid in reducing temperatures quickly, as well as relieving you of body aches and pains. Getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet and drinking lots of fluids will help you to recover from the cold too.

Influenza A Or B?

What is it? Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that causes seasonal epidemic infections each year. Influenza A is a multi-species cold virus that can be found in birds, swine and humans. Clearly the more dangerous cold virus due to its diversity, they can cause pandemics the world over.

Incidentally, the common Influenza A virus strains include H1N1 avian flu and H3N2 virus. Normally, Influenza A patients have to undergo a period of incubation of 4 to 7 days to prevent the spread of virus to others. The most prevalent flu is Influenza A, which accounts for more than half of the cold infections annually.

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Influenza B is typically only found in humans, and causes less severe reactions when compared to Influenza A. Thankfully, Influenza B does not cause pandemics and incubation periods for patients are not necessary. However, this common cold can still be harmful if symptoms are not treated and the virus continues to weaken your immune system.

Both Influenza A and B are quite contagious. The cold virus is easily spread by coughing or sneezing from a carrier up to 6 feet away. It is also passed by touching common surfaces which are infected with the virus, such as furniture, light switches or washroom sinks and faucets. That’s why flu sufferers are advised to wear a mask in public and regularly wash their hands or use antibacterial hand wipes, to prevent a further spread of the virus.

Treatment for both types of influenza is the same. Up until now, there is no cure-all that kills the cold virus. The best treatment is relieving the symptoms to help the human body clear the virus naturally. To aid treatment, common antiviral medications work by reducing the ability of the virus to replicate. And these work effectively when administered within the first 48 hours of getting the flu. The key is not too wait for too long before seeing your doctor for flu medication.

Holistic Remedies For The Common Cold

For those who prefer more all-natural flu remedies, this handy guide to organic cures may do the trick. Many believe that getting a cold is just the body’s way of saying ” slow down and rest”. Others believe that the cold is just an allergic reaction to an allergen. And nothing more than removing the allergen, drinking lots of water and resting in bed, is necessary to cure this malady.

Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy

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Chicken soup is a favourite dish to slurp on when you have the flu. Hearty soups, porridge and easy-to-digest healthy meals help the body recover faster from a cold. After all, less energy is used to digest heavy food, and more is focused on the immune system. So, eat healthy with fresh vegetables, fruits, juices, warm beverages and steamed, rather than deep-fried dishes. As far as possible, reduce intake on dairy, sugar and gluten food, until you’ve fully recovered.

Sleep Well, Stay Well

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Shut-eye for up to 8 hours for adults and up to 10 hours for kids is vital for staying healthy. If you’re down with a cold, rest a whole lot more to allow your body more energy and time to fight off germs. It’s time to snuggle up with your fave book and blankie, then play some light music and have a warm drink before heading off to sleep.

Honey To Soothe The Throat

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This age-old remedy is great for the common cold. Moreover, raw honey has plenty of antioxidants, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Mix honey into your tea or just a cup of warm water, add a lemon slice for Vitamin C and drink. It helps to soothe sore throats, coughs and boosts the immune system. If you’re heading out with a sore throat, add honey to your water tumbler and chug on it the whole day. It works better than a cough drop.

Eucalyptus Oil To Clear Sinuses

The famed Vicks VapoRub has been around since time immemorial. It contains Eucalyptus oil, which when applied can help clear blocked noses and nasal congestion. Ardent fans of Vicks usually apply on the chest, neck, upper back and behind the ears to effectively alleviate symptoms of the cold. Better yet, Vicks when applied on back and leg muscles also helps reduce body aches and pains.

Nasal Sprays To Clear Congestion

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Saline nasal sprays provide fast relief from stuffy noses caused by allergies. This non-prescription nasal decongestant, when properly used, helps clear up nasal passages for easier breathing. The saline solution restores moisture and curbs inflammation of mucous membranes to prevent colds from getting worse. Better yet, the sprays can remove pollen from sensitive nasal linings. Best of all, one spray is enough to remove any thick mucus or debris affecting your nose.

Vitamin C & D Intake

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Boost your immunity with increased Vit. C and D to fight off colds. Should you prefer a pop-in-the-mouth vitamin supplement, there’s plenty to choose from at your local pharmacy. However, increasing your intake of fruits such as oranges, guavas, grapes, strawberries and kiwis will help you reach your daily requirements of Vit. C too.

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Further, vegetables high in Vit. C are dark leafy, greens, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Where to find Vit. D? Eat plenty of fish and get plenty of sunlight, your natural source of Vit. D.

Ginger To Boost Immunity

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Make your own fresh ginger tea with freshly grated ginger slices placed in hot tea. Let it steep and sip throughout the day. Why ginger? It helps to clear nasal congestion, reduce throat inflammation and boost the immune system too. Ginger is among the cheapest ways to treat a mild cold.

Apple Cider Vinegar Gargles

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Throat gargles can be expensive. Home-made ones will give you similar results. The revered salt gargle made with a pinch of salt in water and used as throat gargles, several times a day can help reduce sore throats. Alternatively, 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed in water, with a lemon slice or honey, will do the same or better, as a throat gargle.

Flu Vaccination: To Jab Or Not To Jab

That is the question for flu sufferers every year. Essentially, the vaccination works by helping the body develop antibodies to the flu viruses in the vaccine. It takes about 2 weeks after the flu jab to be effective. For frequent flu sufferers and frequent travellers, most doctors would recommend getting an annual flu shot. It does not provide total protection, but it’s worth the hassle of treating a flu during your travels. The vaccination does at least provide protection from common flu viruses.

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When you’ve tried just about every cough and cold medicine and it still does not work, then, a flu shot may help. Be warned that there may be side-effects such as fever, chills, nausea and muscle aches. However, the benefits far outweigh the discomfort.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

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Feeling unwell and coming down with a cold? Find a doctor right away with GetDoc, a doctor on demand platform in Malaysia with a database of clinic information and healthcare knowledge. Health care and medical advice is only a few clicks away. Should you need further health screening, save on costs with GetDoc vouchers that offer discounts worth checking out.

Preventing the common cold is an everyday task. With the help of natural health products, vitamins and supplements, this task is much easier. Get the top picks on vitamins and supplements from iHerb, the popular online store for natural health products. Keep a lookout for iHerb vouchers for greater savings when you shop online.

Share with us your effective remedies for the common cold. We’d love to hear yours.