Off-Topic: Cold and Cough Home Remedy

Better than chicken soup* – Our family’s best home remedy for heading off colds, sore throats, and cough from post-nasal drip

 

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is what we do during cold and flu season — it really seems preventive and to head off sore throats, colds and coughs. I couldn’t say if it beats my Grandma’s onion poultices because — sorry Grandma! — making onion poultices is not my idea of a soothing solution when I am sick! These steps seem to work fast — without onions — and help head off the congestion that tickles the back of the throat and becomes a cough, especially at night.

As you might expect if you follow SolveEczema.org, I developed this because of research I read over the years, and copious experimentation and observation. Since following these steps, I’ve never had a sore throat turn into anything, and the few times I’ve had problems that seemed to bypass the sore throat stage, it was still helpful at heading off the coughing and letting me sleep at night — without a lot of medication.

Image courtesy of m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

DISCLAIMER: As always, I feel like I need to make a disclaimer, because even if this is effective for you — especially if it is effective for you — DO NOT do this instead of consulting your doctor. Only do with your doctor’s blessing, and after making sure nothing more serious needs to be addressed! That H1N1 flu, for example, moves FAST into the lungs and gets scary serious even faster — this is NOT a substitute for getting urgent care for something like that, and is NOT a home remedy once something has moved into the lungs, among other problems. See your doctor immediately if there is any question of there being pneumonia or infection in the lungs. (My readers know how cautious I am about medical treatment — even I recommend everyone getting flu shots, especially the young and old — and if you are not inclined to get them, get THIS YEAR’S FLU SHOT at least!)

So, with that in mind ….

Not all of these steps are always necessary — the essential ones are starred *** — but the order of all the steps is important, regardless.  With very young children, check with doctor before doing any of these steps:

Whenever a sore throat, congestion, or cough starts (a cough that isn’t yet in the lungs but comes from higher up):

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1.  Brush teeth — use a new brush or disinfect toothbrush first with peroxide if possible, use toothpaste from a new tube, don’t contact the bristles to the tube.

Brushing can be skipped in a pinch, but it’s a good idea to start by brushing.  The microorganisms don’t just inhabit the back of the throat, and brushing reduces the bacterial soup swimming around the mouth.

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

2.  Drink a large glass of warm water — it’s so important for the immune system and also because you don’t want to drink right after the next steps.  Many people come from cultural traditions that view warm water (room temperature or slightly warmer rather than cold water) as important for health — there is research support for this notion now, and from my own empirical observation, I am in agreement with this view.

 

 

Simply Saline Allergy and Sinus
Simply Saline Allergy and Sinus ****

***3.  Rinse sinuses with Simply Saline sterile nasal spray from each side per instructions (regular or Allergy and Sinus formula, they are both non-detergent and JUST saline) and blow nose.

Simply Saline is my favorite product for this purpose, it works well and the mist delivers the product into the sinuses in a very gentle way, especially for children, though you may still have to talk them through it.  You can also use other products, or a Neti Pot but not if you are EVER tempted to use it without sterile water!!!  (I can’t stress that enough, never put unsterilized tap water in your sinuses!!!!!)

Step #3 is important EVEN IF YOU ONLY HAVE A SORE THROAT AND DON’T YET HAVE CONGESTION.

For very bad congestion, after Simply Saline, use Nutribiotic Nasal Spray, per instructions, probably one or two sprays per nostril.  (In my experience, this stuff really works.  I am concerned about how well the valve works so I always spray it into a clean tissue once or twice after every use, keep the nozzle wiped clean, and throw it away when I no longer need it for that illness.)

***4.  Gargle several times with a glass of warm salt water (just use ordinary table salt).  Swish some of the salt water around in your mouth, between the teeth, and spit out.  (If you have high blood pressure and need to watch salt intake, discuss with doctor beforehand.)

Step #4 is important EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE A SORE THROAT BUT ONLY HAVE CONGESTION AND/OR COUGHING FROM POST-NASAL DRIP.

***5.  Dissolve a dose of probiotic in a small amount of warm water, like only just a teaspoon or two of water, then swallow so it coats the back of the throat and tongue.

My favorite probiotics for this (including for myself) are Jarrow’s Baby’s Jarro-dophilus. It comes in powder form and can be measured out by the teaspoon or fractions of.  It tends to clump, so make sure it is well dissolved.  Primadophilus Intensive is also good.  It comes in a powder, in separate packets.

I find in a pinch, just taking the concentrated probiotic can help combat a sore throat.  LINK

If you don’t have those brands, you can use what you have, split open a capsule and dissolve it in the glass.  Be sure it’s a refrigerated acidophilus with live bacteria.  Dead shelf-stable ones are better than nothing, but you may not get the same results.  Use a probiotic with as many strains as possible.  If you only have one, that’s better than nothing, but 6-12 is best in my experience.  (There is at least evidence that 2 strains is better than one when it comes to cold and flue prevention.)

You may have to try more than one probiotic product to hit the right one to beat back whatever is causing the problem sometimes — it’s always more effective to do this at the very start of the sore throat than after it gets entrenched.  How do you know if it’s a good probiotic?  It should begin working right away.  If it makes no discernible difference, you need a different probiotic.  The difference is usually pretty obvious.

Repeat whenever the pain returns.  But try to do after eating rather than before.

This seems to work really well to ward off sore throats when they happen and keep them from turning into something else, and also, it has been very useful to stop the coughing at night when lying down, whether there is a sore throat or not.  Even if you don’t seem to be congested, the stuff that comes down postnasal can be very irritating and be the reason for the cough.  This really seems effective at getting all that stuff out of the way, if you do it right before going to bed, so you can sleep and the immune system can do its job better.

If you want to be really hard core — it does seem to help — eat healthy and don’t eat sugary and starchy foods while sick, the bad microbes seem to love those foods as much as we do.  If taking an antibiotic, take probiotics during treatment (not just after) per medical advice — take oral enteric coated probiotics in addition to the dissolved per #5 above.

Lastly, if you spend time at school or the doctor’s office during cold and flu season, when you get home, wash hands (of course) and change into clean clothes (bag the dirty ones and put them by the laundry, don’t leave them in your room even in the hamper).  I don’t know if the question of how much doctors’ coats and ties are spreading disease has been settled LINK , but taking this step has definitely worked for me from personal experience.

So the steps are again:

1. Brush teeth with a clean brush and paste.
2. Drink a large glass of warm water.
3. Rinse sinuses with sterile saline nasal rinse, immediately followed by:
4. Gargle with warm salt water (whether you have a sore throat or not).
5. Dissolve a dose of probiotic in a small amount of water, just a teaspoon or two, and drink.

Be Well in the New Year!  I hope this helps!

AJ

 

*My opinion!  Believe it or not, I think chicken soup can actually claim published support for its healing properties!

**As everyone who reads my site knows, I am a mom, not a doctor.  I have given this advice to my own doctor!

****I have mostly suspended affiliate marketing, because it’s a lot of work, and people get the wrong impression.  I earn a very small percentage if people buy using the links, but with personal care products, it earns very little, yet people usually imagine it’s a lot which could lead them not to try the site when it would help.  However, in the case of Drugstore.com, I may go back to referring them — I refer them all the time anyway, use their site heavily to look up product ingredients, and find it an easy site to order personal care products from.  It was the easiest place I could find the above photo of Simply Saline Allergy, so that link goes to Drugstore.com, as does the one below.

drugstore.com - Free Shipping on orders over $35

Otherwise, you can use the Amazon astore I set up to find most of the products mentioned here.  Like I said, the site earns a small percentage, every little bit helps and it does not increase the cost to the purchaser, but for example in January, it added up to less than $15 ad fees. It does not impact my choices nor my recommendations (nor does it make enough to support the site), it’s a convenience that users have asked for over the years.

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