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5 ways to fight a fall cold, allergies at home

Fall is the transitional season when leaves change, the weather grows cool and allergies and colds run rampant. The bothersome symptoms that come with colds and seasonal allergies are persistent but don't need to be long-lasting. 

Outside of medicinal remedies, there are also "at-home" remedies that can be done to fight fall allergies and colds, so toss out the mountain of used tissues and try out one of our six ways to fight seasonal allergies and colds from home:

Tea 

Tea is a calming remedy that can soothe a cold, and it contains herbs that may aid in fighting inflammation to boost one's immune system. Ginger tea is beneficial for nausea relief, and lemon tea is perfect for getting a dose of soluble fiber and plant-rich nutrients. Lemon peel tea is made just how it sounds: by grating a fresh lemon rind into a mug with boiling water and steeping it for five minutes. 

Lemon is also a fantastic source of vitamin C. Peppermint tea will not only freshen your breath but also cool a sore throat. Turn to chamomile tea, particularly before bed, because it soothes the body and mind. Hibiscus tea is an excellent source of antioxidants. Adding lemon or lime and honey or agave nectar to just about any tea is an extra boost to not only provide a touch more relief but a tasty addition as well.

Saltwater flush

Salt is helpful when it comes to relieving cold and allergy symptoms. To soothe a sore throat, gargle 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces of warm water. WebMD recommends doing it four times daily to relieve sore, scratchy throats temporarily. 

Warm salt water can break up nasal congestion and remove virus particles and bacteria from the nose. To make the rinse, mix 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 of a teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water. Then, use a bulb syringe to squirt the water into the nose. 

Apply light pressure with a finger to hold one nostril closed, and spray the salt water into the other nostril. Once it drains, repeat two to three times, then repeat with the other nostril.  

Essential oils 

Essential oils have a variety of benefits, particularly when it comes to illnesses. Add essential oils to a diffuser, a steaming bowl of hot water or a hot or cold compress. 

If topically applying essential oils, pair them with something called a carrier oil. A carrier oil dilutes the essential oil, so it is safer on the skin. Use an ounce of coconut oil for every couple of drops of essential oils. 

Combine essential oils and a carrier oil and add to a bath or massage your head or neck. For reference, lavender is known to relieve headaches; eucalyptus reduces fevers and helps fight viruses; peppermint minimizes throat infections, sinus symptoms and coughs; thyme helps fight respiratory infections; and lemon clears nasal passages allowing for proper breathing. 

Sleep

Sleep is essential every day but is especially crucial when sick because resting allows your body to focus more energy on fighting illness and quicker recovery. 

When sleeping, add an extra pillow to elevate your head. Elevating the head assists in relieving congested nasal passages. Falling asleep when sick can sometimes be a challenge. 

Take a hot shower or bath before bed to help the body relax and break up mucus to allow easier breathing. Running a humidifier in the bedroom can help prevent stuffy and congested airways. The ideal bedroom for quality sleeping is cool, dark and quiet. 

Food fighters 

Food is what fuels our bodies. So, fuel it with the right kind of nutrients that keep you from getting sick in the first place. Eating healthier and avoiding sugary and processed foods will put your body back on track to feeling better. 

Certain foods help relieve specific symptoms. If fighting an upset stomach, turn to foods that will settle it, like bananas or rice. Both are soft and bland in taste yet provide carbohydrates for the body. 

Spicy foods such as hot sauce and chili peppers are known for opening up clogged sinuses because the heat makes one's nose run. Soup, especially chicken soup, is a sickness staple and for a good reason. Fluids and electrolytes are rich in soup, which comes in handy if you are dehydrated from symptoms like vomiting and fever. 

Coconut water is also a great source of electrolytes to sip on and has little natural sugar. Vitamin C will not cure a cold, but it will help protect your immune system, which can lessen the chances of being sick in the future. 

Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruit like oranges or orange juice (be sure to choose one with little sugar!), bell peppers, kiwi, cantaloupe and broccoli.

@colant_juliana 

jc079419@ohio.edu  

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