By Bunmi Sofola
There is no strong evidence that anything works to shorten a cold symptom, says Professor Barclay, but “treating symptoms with over-the-counter remedies like decongestants or pain-killers will make you feel better. Stop it in its track: An itchy nose and sore throat are the early signs that a cold is coming on—try Vicks First Defence. There is some science behind this product. It lowers the pH of the nose, making it more acidic, and viruses don’t like a low pH environment.
The herb pelargonium also helps when cold symptoms strike .”Trials indicate that it stops some types of cold and flu virus, replicating and improves the immune system’s response to the viruses,” she says. Another herb, black elderberry, has been shown to stop cold virus replication within the cell. It’s one of the remedies with more robust evidence around.
For a sore throat: Try some reputable Lozenges. Antiseptic throat sprays can ease sore throats, but they apply a mist to the back of the throat, whereas an anti-inflammatory Iozenges coats the throat, so relieving more pain. Hot water, lemon and honey can also be helpful. Non-medicated hot drinks are a hugely underrated soother. In a study it was discovered that people who drank Blackcurrant cordial made with hot water experienced a relief of cold symptoms (runny nose, sore throats and cough) within 15 minutes.
For a stuffed nose: Try Benadryl Plus—it combines a decongestant and an antihistamine, says the expert. Alternatively, squirting salty water through your nasal passages—can dislodge irritants and virus particles which may help.
Use paracetamol not Ibuprofen: Studies have shown that Paracetamol can work better on cold symptoms than Ibuprofen as people taking Ibuprofen are more likely to go back to their doctor with unresolved symptoms than those taking Paracetamol. This could be because Ibuprofen dampens the inflammatory reaction the body actually needs to fight the cold virus.
Don’t blow your nose too much: Infectious diseases specialists believe continually blowing your nose can push mucus back into sinuses and cause secondary infection. Either sniff (mucus goes to the back of the throat and ultimately to the stomach, not the lungs) or blow a nostril at a time to reduce pressure in the nasal cavity so you don’t push so much mucus back.