Uncommon cures for the common cold

Courtney Dickson, Wellness Columnist Ω

Courtney Dickson, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

Courtney Dickson, Wellness Columnist

Because of allergies, there are a lot of over-the-counter cold medications I am unable to take, so I’ve had to find alternatives to the traditional bad-tasting cough medicine and throat-numbing sprays.

A simple remedy that many students have credited their well-being to is orange juice. However, it has been reported that orange juice can actually cause more phlegm build-up (sexy, right?) so if you’re going to consume liquids, they should be clear, such as water, tea or chicken broth.

What about chicken broth and chicken soup? According to the Globe and Mail’s Leslie Beck, a registered dietician in Toronto, researchers at the University of Nebraska have found evidence that chicken soup as a cold remedy is no old wives tale. Chicken soup was found to calm white blood cells that trigger inflammation-causing congestion.

I find added humidity is always a great help when trying to relieve cold symptoms. Living in an already dry climate, like the one in Kamloops, doesn’t help a dry cough or congested airway, so investing in a humidifier might be a smart idea.

Honey has been reported to cut the length of a cold. I personally think honey is disgusting, which you’re probably a little confused by, but I hate it. So I personally will never use this, but I think most mothers and grandmothers swear by it. The phenolic acid and flavonoids in honey are thought to be the secret behind honey’s healing powers.

Zinc lozenges not only numb your throat (and mouth) but the zinc itself can help shorten the length of the cold. According to a report from the journal Cell Reports, zinc prevents the immune system from getting out of control by binding to a protein in the inflammation pathway, which causes inflammation. So, like chicken soup, this can help calm congestion.

Every doctor will tell you rest is key when recovering from a virus. I realize it can be difficult to relax when you have four midterms, three papers and a group project scheduled for next week. I guess that’s where we have to learn to prioritize things, and perhaps swallow our pride and talk to professors and classmates and ask for assistance. I’ve found people are generally understanding when it comes to health.

Getting a cold isn’t the end of the world, but it is inconvenient. Traditional over-the-counter cold and flu medicines are chalk-full of chemicals that aren’t imperative to getting better, so some may want to keep a list of alternatives handy, especially those feeling too crappy to get out of bed and go to the drug store. It might be wise to have zinc lozenges, honey and chicken soup on-hand all the time.

If you’re sick, I think I speak for everyone when I say STAY HOME. Everyone is trying to stay healthy, and you bringing your germs to the classroom, a small space to begin with, is going to make staying well impossible.