It’s that time of year when we all seem to be more susceptible to colds and sniffles. Of course, there are obvious things we should do to avoid catching other people’s colds, like washing our hands, keeping surfaces clean (especially if you have kids who seem bring everything back from school (remember those door handles!) and avoiding touching our faces. If the worst comes to the worst, though, and you find yourself battling the common cold, what should you do? Here are my top tips, shared in partnership with family favourite decongestant oil brand, Olbas:
Research has shown that being stressed can actually increase your risk of catching the common cold. Of course, we all know that we catch the cold virus from someone else that has already has it, but if you’re feeling tired, run down or have been experiencing a period of high stress, it does seem that you’re more susceptible to catching a cold than normal. It’s easy to get stressed, and much less easy to do something about it, but it seems that looking after yourself could potentially reduce your risk of catching that pesky cold in the first place. For me, it’s being organised that helps me. I swear by my to do list; writing stuff down helps stop that feeling that a gazillion things are rushing around in my head. Also, I can get really stressed when my surroundings are in a mess, so I try and have a clean up every Friday, and then avoid opening my laptop if at all possible, both of which help me to enjoy a stress-free weekend.
If you are battling the common cold, leading GP and Olbas expert Dr Roger Henderson recommends inhaling from a bowl of steamy water as a way of introducing warm, moist air into the nose and lungs to help loosen any mucus. Add a few drops of an inhalant decongestant such as Olbas Oil* and breathe in the vapors to relieve blocked noses. Olbas offers effective natural remedies for relief of cold and flu symptoms. I do this myself when I have a cold –sit with a towel over my head, breathing in the delicious scent (I love eucalyptus).
When you have a cold you can quickly become dehydrated, so it’s important to drink lots of water (Dr Henderson recommends at least 1.2 litres per day). Sipping a warm drink can be really soothing: try ginger tea with a slice of orange (I find lemon too acidic), or even light soups or broths, which are great if you don’t have much of an appetite.
Dr Henderson says: ‘Exercise, especially in the fresh air, helps increase immune functions. White blood cells that kill and fight bacteria and germs need enough oxygen to work and function properly. Fresh air helps the airways of your lungs to dilate more fully and improves the lungs’ cleansing action.’
Equally as important as exercise, though, is plenty of rest. You need to give your body a chance to recharge. If you’re suffering with a cold, a blocked nose can really stop you getting a good night’s sleep, so try popping a couple of drops of Olbas oil onto a tissue and placing it near you when you sleep to help you breathe easier.
For the little ones
Finally, if it’s your little ones rather than you that are battling the common cold, there’s an Olbas Oil especially for them. Olbas For Children is a gentle decongestant especially for children from three months to 2 years. It’s a gentle mixture of pure plant oils which gives off natural vapours to help clear nasal congestion and relieve painful sinuses. Dr Henderson recommends adding four drops of Olbas For Children onto a tissue and placing it just out of the child’s reach.
Many thanks to Olbas for sponsoring this feature. For more information visit: www.olbas.co.uk
*Always read the label. Keep out of sight and reach of children.