Every year is the same: when the cold weather hits, tissue boxes come out of the cupboard, finding their way into every room for those sneezes that catch you by surprise, and throat lozenges move from the back shelf of the bathroom cabinet to pride of place in your handbag.  The chemist becomes your new best buddy, as you constantly visit to stock up on whatever elixir will hopefully get you through. None of us escape, with Australians getting anywhere from 2-4 colds every year. Achoo!

And yet there’s still no sign of a cure. So when those sneaky symptoms start it’s time to take care of your body.  Rest is the best therapy for your ills but that may not be as easy as it sounds. So we asked a variety of health professionals for their advice to help you through the 1-2 weeks you can expect your cold to last.

Spicy hot tea

Try a warm cup of tea with spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, which can help with  congestion. Aa hot drink with fresh lemon and honey will help ease a sore throat. Keeping up fluids is very important to avoid dehydration –  that’s plenty of water, not alcohol.

Throat lozenges with zinc

A new study published in the medical journal JSRM Open shows that zinc shortens the length of the common cold. On average, taking zinc lozenges cut the life span of a cold by 33 per cent. Harri Hemilä, the study author and a researcher at the University of Helsinki in Finland, says the optimal dose to treat a cold is 80-100mg a day. Various brands of zinc lozenges contain different amounts of the mineral, so read the label to determine how much to take.

Yoga stretches

Yoga helps strengthen and lengthen stiff muscles, boosts the immune system, and assists in moving and cleansing the lymphatic system, which is responsible for circulating infection-fighting white blood cells.


Open a bottle of horseradish, position your nose about 5cm from the opening, then take a sniff. Horseradish contains ingredients that help thin mucus, unclog a stuffy nose, and open nasal passages for easier breathing.

Essential oils and a nose massage

A nasal massage can stimulate sinus drainage and white blood cell production, which helps fight infection. Apply gentle pressure to both sides of nose, right above the midpoint; hold for 5 to 10 seconds, then rub in light circles. A blend of essential oils may also aid decongestion and healing. Dilute eucalyptus, lavender and rosemary in body lotion or in a carrier oil like almond or olive. Apply it to the sinus area, base of the neck and chest.

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© Prevention Australia