You can get a cold or flu anytime, but winter is probably the virus’ most favourite season and when over 50 menopause can make things worse. Why? Because hormonal changes, typical of this age, may lead to poor sleep, stress and fatigue and that can affect immune function. However, even though under these particular circumstances every sniffle will carry an extra worry, the best thing midlifers can do is to keep taking care of themselves.
While paracetamol may be often the easiest over the counter option to make you feel better, natural remedies have been experiencing a resurgence these days as they have been found they can relieve some of the symptoms – such as a sore throat, a tickly cough or a blocked nose.
If you need a quick fix, why not give these a try? Here are the most common ways to keep a cold and flu at bay.
Make sleep a priority
It may sound obvious but the first thing to do in this case is to rest. Unfortunately, most of us keep pushing on between work and family chores, but it’s important to slow down and get more sleep when you catch a cold as sleeping can help boost your immune system. A little trick is to have a rest with an extra pillow under your head, this will help with the drainage of nasal passages.
Increase your fluid intake
Apart from drinking a lot of water, warm liquids may help relieve nasal congestion, help you stay hydrated, and soothe inflamed membranes in your nose and throat. You can make a flu-fighting herbal tea with star anise and other herbs like green or black tea, chamomile, turmeric, fresh or dried ginger and a spoon of honey – which soothes the airways and has both antiviral and antibacterial properties. Even a hot chicken soup would do the job. It isn’t just warm and comforting. A study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics found that a compound in chicken soup called carnosine can help the body’s immune system fight off the cold and flu in its early days.
Gargle with saltwater
This is an age-old therapy that effectively treats cough and cold. Many Opera singers would swear on this simple remedy as it may help reduce swelling in the throat and loosen mucus, which can remove irritants, such as bacteria and allergens, from the throat. Try a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water, four times daily.
Use essential oils
Cinnamon, peppermint, lemon, tea tree, eucalyptus and thyme oils are considered the best ones for cold. In practice, you have to add a few drops in a diffuser for relief. Use essential oils only as directed.
To moisturize your nasal passages and soothe your nose and throat, you can either breath in the steam from a warm pot of water, take long steamy showers, consider a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier. Over-the-counter saline nasal drops can help relieve stuffiness and congestion, too.
Eat Fruit and veg high in vitamin C
Vitamin C supports the immune system and can help your body to fend off a cold, although it probably won’t help you to recover more quickly. Stock up on blueberries, oranges and lemons and don’t skimp on the leafy greens either.
Get better with zinc