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Remedies for battling colds

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Cold Remedies
It is not fun to have a cold.  Colds are most common in the winter when the air is dry.  Most of the time, when you have a cold, you have to wait for the virus to pass.  There is no cure for the cold.  There are however, a few things that help your body handle the cold virus.
A typical cold lasts anywhere from one to two weeks.  During that time, a person should drink lots of fluids, mostly water.  Fruit juices can also be a good choice, as well as clear broth and lemon water.  A person should not drink alcoholic beverages or caffeine drinks such as sodas and coffee.   Alcohol, sodas and coffee can cause dehydration.
If you have a cold, you may want to consider buying some saline drops or spray.  This simple salt water solution can help fight the stuffiness and congestion that often occurs when a person has a cold.  Cold and cough medicines bought over-the-counter will not speed up the time it takes your body to get rid of the cold virus.  However, it may offer a little relief from the symptoms.  Be aware that many medicines have side effects.
Although it may take awhile to feel back to your normal self, the most important thing that you can do when you have a cold is take care of yourself.  Remem-ber to wash your hands frequently, especially after you have coughed or sneezed.  Make sure to get enough rest and plenty to drink.
Reference:  Mayo Clinic Staff. (2012). Cold remedies: What works, what doesn’t, what can’t hurt.  Accessed from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cold-remedies/ID00036/NSECTIONGROUP=2
Does honey help a sore throat?
There are many different products sold over-the-counter that help with the coughs that typically occur during this time of year.  New research is showing that the use of honey can be used as an alternative to regular cough medicine.
It is not uncommon to hear the suggestion of drinking warm tea or warm water with lemon and honey when a person has a sore throat.  A current study has found that the honey may act as cough relief as well.  For children in the study, 2 teaspoons of honey seemed to help reduce night coughing. The use of honey was compared to a common cough medicine ingredient.  Remember however, that honey should never be given to a child under the age of one.  Children at this age risk very serious food poisoning from honey.
Remember that coughing is sometimes good for you.  Your body may need to cough to move mucus that may be in the airway.  For most people, there is usually no need to be concerned with coughing.
The next time you have a cough and are considering what type of cough medicine to buy, perhaps you will consider trying a spoonful of honey.
Reference:  Stecklberg, James. (2012). Is it true that honey calms coughs better than cough medicine does? Mayo Clinic.  Accessed from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/honey/AN01799
Source:  Nicole Peritore, Extension Physical Activity Program Coordinator, University of Kentucky; College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.