Home Remedies for the Sniffles

It never fails; you come down with a hideous cold, but your medicine cupboard is absolutely bare. No Lemsip, no Strepsils, nothing to get you through this nightmare. So what do you do? Get out of your pyjamas and into the shop, or make do with whatever you can find around the house?

That’s right. You MacGyver together a solution of some sort to keep you going until somebody else can nip to the shop for you – and then you milk your terrible illness for all it’s worth to get them to bring you everything you need.

A stuffed nose may sound like nothing much, but in fact you can find it makes a huge difference to your quality of life, and being bunged up with no way to change it can make your mood plummet in the blink of an eye. Make sure you’re always stocked-up on tissues, but in a pinch you can grab a roll of toilet paper and make do.

To help unclog your nose, some people find that a change in position does the trick; rolling onto the side away from your blocked nostril can help it to drain. Steam is also rumoured to help, and taking a hot bath or shower may help loosen things up. It can also help with chesty coughs and sore throats, and may help to soothe your nose when it gets chapped from frequent wiping.

Speaking of sore throats, if you have some lemons you could be in for a real treat. Squeeze the juice of four or five lemons and top it up with an equal amount of water before heating it (in a pan or in the microwave, both are fine but you’ll waste a lot of juice if you let it boil over; you may prefer to heat the lemon juice on its own and then top it off with boiling water from the kettle).

Sweeten the mixture, preferably with honey, and drink as hot as you can stand. It seems counter-intuitive to use such an acidic drink on a painful area, but you’ll find the soothing effect absolutely amazing, especially if you can drink it quite hot. Don’t forget to brush your teeth, though! The acid is quite bad for your tooth enamel. The boost of Vitamin C, however, will help you to recover a little faster.

Finally, keeping hydrated can make all the difference, especially if your sniffles have come with a headache to make it all worse – either because of the pressure in your sinus cavities or simply due to the random circumstances of whatever virus you’ve caught. But most headaches are in fact caused by dehydration, and even a sinus headache can be exacerbated by this common issue. So drink pint upon pint of water and make sure you keep yourself from drying out.

In an ideal situation, you’ll keep your medicine cabinet well stocked with Lockets, Beechams and Vicks. But if you’ve forgotten to, or if you need some extra oomph in your wellness regime, these tips can make the difference between feeling lousy and feeling almost human.

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