9 DIY Cold and Flu Fighters

Late winter is tough on people. Our vitamin D supplies are all but depleted, making us grumpy and tired. Folks on a tight budget are fed up with being cooped up, and shovelling snow is getting really old.

Jeffery Koterba
Jeffery Koterba

To top it all off, cold and flu season has us fighting clogged sinuses, runny noses, aches and pains, and other nasty symptoms. What are frugal folks to do? Well, try these inexpensive and easy home remedies to take the edge off those irritating illnesses and save you both money and a trip to the pharmacy.

Homemade Nasal Rinse:
Stop germs before they take hold or at least reduce the sentence. Keeping your nose, sinuses, and throat clean is an easy, effective way to deal with viruses and thin out troublesome mucous.

Homemade Cold and Flu Stopper:
It tastes…well…awful, but it’s extremely effective if taken as soon as you feel that tickle in the back of your throat. I know several people who swear by it, including myself.

Honey:
Soothe sore throats and coughing but avoid giving it to babies under one year old.

Elevation:
Sleep with a few extra pillows. For kids, stuff some pillows under the top of their mattress or raise the headboard off the floor a few inches. This lets sinuses drain better, letting you sleep better.

Water, water, water:
Plain water is best, but herbal tea, watered down pure juices, broth, juicy fruits and veggies…whatever you can get (and keep) down (avoid pop or juices with added sugar). Water flushes the system, making sure you get those germs out faster.

Garlic:
Your new favourite Auntie, garlic is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and loaded with antioxidants. Eating raw garlic is great, or make garlic tea, a garlic poultice, or garlic soup. Again, any way you can get garlic into you, do it to fight off an oncoming illness or help kick one out. Be careful if you’re taking blood thinners, including aspirin, and some other drugs.

Salt Water Gargle:
What could be easier that adding salt to warm water, stirring, and gargling? Gargle for 30 seconds if you can, but 15 seconds will do. Do it at least twice a day and essentially sterilize the back of your throat, killing any germs that are trying to take up residence.

Tepid Baths or Sponge Baths:
Fever can be your friend. It’s job is to fight off germs, and so long as it doesn’t get too high, it’s best to let it run it’s course. One way to help control a fever without eliminating it is to bathe in tepid (NOT cold) water because it helps your body release the heat. Cold or ice water can cause the body to go into shock or other problems.

Rest, rest, rest:
realistically, rest is not an option for everyone. Jobs, kids, and other commitments can keep us from getting the extra down time we need when we’re sick, but any rest is useful. If you can call in a favour and get the kids babysat, or switch a shift with a colleague, do it. You will be sicker for a shorter period of time and less likely to make other people sick if you can stay in bed. If not, wash your hands, keep your distance, cover your mouth, and try the tips above and you will get through this. Then you can help others get through it too 😉

Anytime, anywhere
Anytime, anywhere

Note: This article is meant to help you save money and stay healthy, but is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice.

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