From Ginger Tea to Turmeric: Home Remedies To Cure a Summer Cold
While the mercury is going through the roof and the scorching heat is killing you, catching a cold might seem impossible. However catching a cold during summers is more common than you think.
Often just the extremes of temperature (be it winters or summers) leads to a vasomotor kind of response wherein the delicate lining of the nose the mucosa (which has a lot of glands) starts secreting profusely, leading to cold like symptoms. But sometimes a virus could be responsible for it too.
What is a Summer Cold?
Summer cold is actually very similar to its winter counterpart and fighting it involves similar tactics. The focus has to be on relieving the symptoms, and it’s duration usually depends upon your immune system.
Home Remedies To Cure a Summer Cold
- Take extra vitamin C at the onset of a summer cold and throughout the illness to boost the immune system (amla, citrus fruits, guava)
- Eat light meals (yes, don’t feed the cold) and skip heavy starchy foods; chicken soup is very nourishing and comforting and its steam can help clear your stuffy nose
- Doing salt and turmeric gargle will help in moisturising the lining of the throat. Turmeric is an excellent preventive agent, and also reduces inflammation and aids quick recovery from the illness
- Have ginger, it is a natural antiviral food. Ginger tea, drinking ginger infused warm water and adding ginger to your dishes while cooking will help clear sinuses and reduce inflammation in your nasal passages and lessen the excessive mucus that is being produced
- Combine milk with turmeric and ginger, it can help you get rid of the symptoms of cold like headache, runny nose, watery eyes, etc. The combination works as a decongestant that also possesses antimicrobial properties
- Catch some cinnamon. It also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that relieve cold and its symptoms
Spices For a Faster Recovery
This mix of spices has powerful antioxidant properties which help in faster recovery:
- Pound cumin seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and coriander seeds (equal quantities) into a fine mixture. Add this mixture to a cup of hot water and let it sit. Add a pinch of sea salt and mix well. Strain and drink while it is warm. Have this herbal tea twice a day.
- Take 2 garlic cloves with honey every morning. Garlic is antiviral. It’ll also helps boost your immune system and flush out toxins from your body. Plus it is a blood purifier.
- Also have this blend of garlic, lemon, chilli powder and honey - mince garlic, add a spot of lemon juice, mix in a pinch of chilli powder and honey. Chilli powder will have a thermogenic effect on the nasal passage, the vitamin C in lemon will boost immunity.
How to Prevent a Summer Cold?
- Wash your hands often and keep a sanitizer handy in your pocket or purse. Make sure to never share your towels.
- You are more likely to catch a cold indoors, particularly in an air conditioned environment which is tightly packed (airplanes, offices, cinema halls). Air conditioning dries out the thin layer of mucus in the nose and makes us more susceptible to infections. The cold air in the nose also enables the viruses and infections to thrive and reproduce.
- Eat a balanced diet, rich in antioxidants to build your immunity if you are prone to catching a cold around this time of the year. Approximately 70% of the immune system is dependent on the gut, which acts as our first line of defence against harmful viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.
- Ensuring probiotic intake is a great strategy to enable healthy digestion and immune function. Also incorporate fermented foods like yogurt, kanji, idli, appam, dhokla and miso in a daily basis to help avoid summer sniffles.
- Being tired or sleep deprived can also make you susceptible. Even stress, no matter its cause, tends to lower your resistance to infection by depressing your immune response making you more prone to summer cold.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Summer colds tend to come with symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, so it is easy to get a little dehydrated in the heat. So hydrate continuously and also avoid beverages that cause dehydration, like alcohol, coffee, and energy drinks.
(The author is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don't Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)