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Fight Off Colds with These Natural Remedies & Preventative Strategies

If you don’t have a cold yet, you probably will by the new year. It’s certainly hard to avoid the dreaded sniffles, sneezes, congestion and headaches that come along with the common cold during the holiday season when you’re constantly in contact with other people, in indoor areas with poor air circulation. But, never fear: if you feel even the slightest indication that you’re headed for a week or more of misery, use these natural remedies and get a head start on feeling like your fabulous self again.

Drink lots of honeysuckle and dandelion tea. Hot fluids help relieve nasal congestion, prevent dehydration and soothe those sore membranes in your nose and throat. When steeped in hot water, honeysuckle flowers produce a liquid that’s antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-infective. Dandelion – yes, the weed that grows in your yard – is a great immune system builder that increases the production of interferon, a protein that inhibits viral multiplication and activates T-cells. You can get both in the bulk section of your local health store, or just pick up a pack of ‘Detox’ by Yogi Tea, which contains both and is made with organic ingredients.

Take hot, steamy showers. You may not give yourself the luxury of a long hot shower very often since it uses so much energy and water, but treat yourself when you feel like you’re getting sick. The steam will moisturize your irritated nasal passages and help you relax. You could also take a soothing herbal bath and throw in some chamomile, rosemary, lavender or peppermint.

Speaking of relaxation – rest, rest, rest.  Now isn’t the time to push yourself at the gym, work overtime or take on a really stressful task. Your body is working hard to fight off infection, and it needs all the energy it can get. Take a day to get cozy under the covers and read, write letters or watch television. Lay back on a stack of pillows situated to create a gradual slope, which will help with drainage of the nasal passages.

Gargle and use a Neti Pot. A Neti Pot, if you’ve never used one, is used to irrigate the nasal passages, soothing them and rinsing away irritants. You fill the Neti Pot with warm saline solution, insert the spout into one nostril, tilt your head and let the solution flow up your nose and out the other nostril.  It’s a little strange getting used to, but it really works. To calm a sore throat, gargle with salt water or honey dissolved in some warm water with lemon.

Stephanie Rogers is a fashion- and beauty-obsessed freelance writer with an abiding love for kale and organic wine, living in Asheville, North Carolina.