As we near the end of summer this August, your risk of contracting a summer cold is also coming to an end. Continue to guard your health as we roll into fall and winter, which are prime cold and flu seasons, especially as the chill starts to hit the air here in Terre Haute.
This year, try some of these natural remedies to stave off colds and respond to minor illnesses. Remember, too, that we have on-site medical professionals here at Bethesda Gardens who can help you determine when its appropriate to self-treat and when its necessary to see a doctor. Be especially careful to seek out immediate medical care if you have underlying health conditions. In the meantime, put the kettle on and try some of these at-home remedies.
The Scientific Case for Chicken Soup
Chicken soup has long been the gold standard for treating colds year-round. From sipping chicken broth to soothe a sore throat to relying on the nutrition provided by noodles and chicken bites to help you through a nasty flu, you’ve likely used chicken soup much of your life.
There’s actually some scientific basis for why chicken soup is so effective when you get a cold. The veggies that fill it are full of vitamins and antioxidants to help strengthen your immune system, the broth keeps you hydrated when you’re losing liquids elsewhere and the chicken and noodles have some anti-inflammatory properties to battle the aches and pains of colds.
One note of caution: chicken soup can be loaded with sodium. Choose a heart-healthy canned version when you’re sick to lower your salt intake or sip the soups our nutritionists design and chefs prepare.
Incorporate Honey for Sore Throats and Coughs
Add honey to your tea or eat a spoonful at a time to help soothe throat soreness or act as an effective cough suppressant. Honey has a lot of unexpected health benefits. It’s sweet but healthier for diabetics than sugar, it can positively impact your cholesterol and it’s chock full of antioxidants. Add a jar to your pantry this winter and include it in your diet regularly to reap the benefits.
Add Zinc During Cold Season
After speaking with your health care professional to ensure you won’t cause any interference with your current medications and supplements, consider adding zinc to your daily routine. Some studies have shown that zinc can help your immune system fend off infections during cold and flu season. Other research estimates that zinc can reduce the length of your illness by at least a day if you begin taking it within 24 hours of becoming sick. You can take zinc as a pill or in lozenge form. Be sure your multivitamin doesn’t already contain zinc so you don’t ingest too high a dosage.
Find Elderberry Syrup to Reduce Length of Illness
Elderberry syrup is a natural remedy once lost to the ages that has regained popularity. Although extensive studies have not yet been possible, many health care practitioners tout its use for its anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, anecdotal evidence shows that using elderberry syrup may help you recover up to three days faster if you contract a strain of the flu, which is similar to how prescription flu antivirals shorten the disease length. Discuss whether this remedy is appropriate for you with one of our on-site health care professionals to prevent potential drug interactions and determine the best dosage for you.
When it comes to cold and flu season, it’s best to be proactive and begin addressing an illness as soon as you become symptomatic. Include discussions with our staff professionals and your doctor to ensure you remain as healthy as possible all fall and winter.
Posted on Fri, August 17, 2018
by Shawn Deane