5 At-Home Remedies For Winter Diseases

Winter disease

Winter is a season of snow, chilly winds, cozy blankets, and, unfortunately, pesky illnesses. The cold weather tends to bring along a host of diseases, ranging from the common cold to the flu, that certainly make everyone under the weather.

The good thing is that several at-home remedies can help alleviate the symptoms of these winter diseases. They can’t only provide relief but also boost your immune system. 

Are Home Remedies Safe?

Home remedies, particularly natural ones, have been part of various cultural and traditional healing practices for centuries. Their historical use suggests that they have been considered safe and effective by diverse communities over time.

Still, it’s important to approach them with caution and awareness. They’re not sufficient or appropriate for conditions that require prompt diagnosis and treatment. If you misdiagnose your condition and solely rely on them, you won’t only delay seeking professional medical attention and complicate your condition. You also increase the likelihood of paying higher medical costs in the future. 

Moreover, even if your conditions are minor, seeing a doctor and following prescribed medicines are still recommended since healthcare and medicine costs shouldn’t be an issue nowadays. Many government initiatives offer low to no medical services nowadays. Private companies also offer promotions like discount rx coupons. You only need to do your due diligence and take advantage of them. 

Remember, home remedies are safe but only when used appropriately. They should only be a “temporary relief” for “minor” ailments and discomforts. More importantly, note that they’re not a substitute for professional medical advice and care.

Here are some of the time-tested and science-backed home remedies you can safely try for “temporary relief” to your “minor” winter maladies: 

1. Warm Saltwater Gargle

A warm saltwater gargle is one of the oldest and most reliable remedies for a sore throat. This simple solution can help soothe the irritation in your throat, reduce inflammation, and even fend off infections. 

Saltwater is considered hypertonic, which means that the salt concentration in the solution is higher than that inside the cells of your throat tissues. This hypertonic nature of the saltwater draws water out of the swollen tissues in the throat. This helps reduce the swelling and inflammation, providing relief from pain and discomfort.

Mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water to make salt water. Gargle with it for 30 seconds. Make sure it reaches the back of your throat. Repeat this process many times a day, especially when you feel the first signs of a scratchy throat.

2. Steam Inhalation

Steam inhalation is commonly used to alleviate common cold and flu symptoms, such as stuffy nose. Inhaling steam helps open up nasal passages, reducing congestion and making breathing easier.

Like saltwater, it’s easy to do. Simply boil a pot of water. Then, inhale the steam by hovering your face over the pot. Ensure that you maintain a safe distance to avoid burns. Ideally, your face should be just 30-45 cm above the bowl. Cover your head with a towel to trap the steam for better steaming. 

Additional ingredients like eucalyptus oil, menthol, or herbs may be added to the boiling water to enhance the therapeutic effects. These additives can contribute to the soothing and decongestant properties of the steam.

3. Honey and Lemon Tea

A warm cup of honey and lemon tea has been a long-standing potent remedy for cough and sore throat. Honey has natural antibacterial properties, while lemon is rich in vitamin C, which has immune-boosting properties. 

To make this remedy, mix a tablespoon of honey (preferably raw) and the juice of half a lemon in a cup of hot water. Make sure to stir well until the honey is dissolved. Then, sip the tea while it’s still warm.

4. Ginger and Turmeric Infusion

Ginger and turmeric are two powerful spices used for centuries for their potential health benefits. Both of these ingredients contain bioactive compounds with various therapeutic properties. 

On top of all, they’re known for their anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties that may help support the body’s defenses against viruses that cause colds and flu. Specifically, ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects can help soothe sore throats, while turmeric’s curcumin may reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms.

To make this soothing concoction, grate a small piece of fresh ginger and add it to a pot of water. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain the mixture and add a touch of honey for sweetness if desired.

Alternatively, you can use ginger and turmeric in your cooking, such as stir-fries, curries, and other winter dishes. These will still prove the same benefits. Other options are golden milk (aka turmeric milk) and ginger or turmeric tea with honey). 

5. Adequate Rest and Hydration

Sometimes, the best remedy is giving your body the time and resources to heal itself. Ensure you get plenty of rest to allow your immune system to work efficiently. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, children should at least have 8-9 hours of sleep, while at least 7-8 hours of sleep for adults. 

Adequate hydration is equally crucial. It helps flush out toxins from your body and keeps your respiratory system in good condition. Drink plenty of water, herbal teas, and clear broths to stay hydrated and support your body’s natural healing processes.

Final Thoughts

Home remedies are safe for winter illnesses as long as the symptoms are minor. Note that while minor illnesses are considered not urgent or life-threatening, they still require medical attention. In particular, seek immediate medical care if your symptoms persist and worsen. 

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