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And if you get sick?


How to treat a cold

Getting a cold is horrible at the best of times but when the weather is bleak and the days are short it can be even more depressing.

The most important thing to do is get plenty of rest and fluids.

The NHS says there's no official guide to how long someone should stay off work with a cold but don't be a rush to get back to the grind. You'll only help to spread the virus if you're sneezing and spluttering still.

Remedies to try:

>Cold & Flu remedies
There's plenty of cold and flu remedies on the market, go for a hot drink version to help you maximize your fluid intake.

However, the NHS website claims that over-the-counter medications for colds are largely ineffective and that "Painkillers such as ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin are the only type of medication known to be effective in treating colds."

They also warn sufferers from using decongestants for any longer than 5-days as this can make symptoms worse!

> Honey & lemon
Good old honey and lemon can help you feel and get better.  Add two slices of lemon to boiled water and stir in some honey to taste.

"Lemons are an excellent natural source of vitamin C." Says Kate Butler, "Try drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice in water or tea, and add it to salad dressings as an alternative to vinegar."

Some swear by ginger as well. Fresh root ginger, boiled with water for 10-minutes and served with lemon and honey is said to help alleviate the symptoms of a cold.

>Herbal remedies
Cough and cold remedies also exist in herbal form. You could try Potter’s Herbals to treat coughs and cattarh - our testers found them useful just before bed.
  • Potter’s Chest Mixture: £6.53/150ml
  • Potter’s Cough Remover: £4.59/150ml
  • Potter’s Catarrh Mixture: £7.65/150ml
Products available from Boots, Tesco, Holland & Barrett, independent health food stores, pharmacies and at

>Steam inhalation
Boil water and put in a large bowl. Put a towel over your head and over the bowl and breathe deeply to clear your nasal passages.

Add a few drops of essential oil or Olbas oil too the water to help get through but make sure you keep your eyes closed to protect them from the steam and vapors.

>Vapor rubs
Suitable for children but not pregnant women, vapor rubs should be used on chests and backs just before bed to help breathing. Do not put on the face or hands as it can cause irritation.

>Zinc supplements

According to a 2011 Cochrane review, taking zinc syrup, tablets or lozenges may be an effective treatment for the common cold if taken within a day of symptoms starting.

According to the reveiw zinc supplements will speed up recovery and lessen the severity of symptoms but it must be used in moderation as long-term use can have nasty side effects such as as vomiting and diarrhea.


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