When it comes to remedies for curing the common cold, we're all too familiar with the usual tactics — lots of fluids, tons of rest, and maybe a few over-the-counter cough syrups. We’ve also heard of the classic chicken soup for the common cold (and no, that’s not a new self-help book.) These remedies are all well and good, but sometimes, when you find yourself still sick a week later, desperation sets in and you start to wonder if there really is a cure for the common cold.
This truly is a question for the ages, and if you ask science, the answer is no. Since the common cold is a virus, there's no way to treat it with medicine the way you would a bacterial infection. And then there are the nitty gritty reasons for why researchers have yet to find a cure. The first is that there are more pressing things to cure before we get around to focusing on the mild discomfort caused by a cold. Secondly, the common cold actually consists of multiple viruses, so curing it would mean checking off a list of quite a few different bugs that like to lurk in the respiratory system.
For now, since there really is nothing you can do but wait it out, it’s no wonder people have come up with some pretty bizarre ways to make themselves feel better. Here are some odd, but possibly helpful, suggestions to try the next time you find yourself holed up in bed.
1. Slip Into Some Cozy Wet Socks
It's hard to imagine anything less appealing than wearing wet socks, especially when you’re sick. And yet many people claim it does the trick. All you have to do is soak your feet in hot water for three minutes, then wet a pair of cotton anklet socks with cold water, put them on, cover with thick wool socks, and go to bed, according to MindBodyGreen.com.
While you sleep, the blood vessels in your cold feet will constrict, pushing good nutrients up to your organs to help fight infection. Then, as your feet start to adjust and warm up, your blood vessels will dilate and help send all the "junk" from your organs into your bloodstream, allowing your body to remove what ails you. Hm, it might just be crazy enough to work.
2. Get Yourself Over To Chipotle
Chilis, my friends, are where it's at when you are sick. I personally have tried this one, and although it sounds strange and painful, popping a few chilis truly does the trick. That's because chilis contain a compound called capsaicin, according to ABCNews.com, which is an irritant and also the thing that makes them spicy. If you are all stuffed up, it makes perfect sense to eat something that has a tendency to make your nose run and your eyes water. A spicy chili (or some chili powder in your tea or hot chocolate!) is nature's remedy for congestion.
3. Turn On Some Jazz Music
In the 1990s, there was an idea floating around that playing Mozart for you children may make them smarter (it was deemed the Mozart effect). Now it seems people are hoping for even more musical benefits. Jazz music in particular, or really any music that sends shivers down your spine, may have the ability to reduce stress and boost the immune system, according to scientists at McGill University in Canada. But, regardless of it's effectiveness, it's the perfect excuse to pop in some headphone and tune everything out.
4. Don’t Blow Your Nose
Blowing your nose is probably the hallmark of any cold, but it may be doing more harm than good. Researchers at The University of Virginia took CT scans of people as they coughed and sneezed and blew their noses. While coughing and sneezing seemed to be a-OK, nose blowing caused an enormous amount of pressure in the head, shooting mucus back into the sinuses. This is gross, and may cause further infection. So instead of turning your head into a ball of disease by blowing your nose as hard as you can, learn to relieve your sniffles the proper way. Blow gently, one nostril at a time, and make sure to take some decongestant medicine.
5. Stay Positive To Will Away Colds
It may be possible to cure a cold using sheer will, or at least help prevent one from ever starting. All you have to do is remain positive. According to a study of 300 people, published in Psychosomatic Journal, those who reported having a positive attitude were less likely to experience cold symptoms throughout the year. This may be because positive people are more likely to take better care of themselves, which makes sense. If you are miserable and curled up in a pile of tissues you're less likely to get up for that bowl of hot soup, or pair of wet socks. But if you have a positive attitude, you may have the willpower to go bounding out the door in search of chilis.
If you are sick enough, I'm sure all of these suggestions will sound perfectly plausible. Heck, maybe you'll try all five and see how that works! But remember, if all else fails, you can always return to good old-fashioned chicken noodle soup.
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