Published on: 18 November 2022, 14:00 pm IST
People fall prey to common cough and cold almost during every season change. Especially when the weather goes from muggy monsoon to wondrous winter, it is common to face runny or stuffy nose, congestion, sniffles, sneezing, sore throat and more. While sneezing and coughing can be physically draining, it may even lead to heaviness in the head and drowsiness.
This experience is always stressful as it can disrupt smooth functioning, declining productivity at work or even at home. In fact, the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention states that common colds are the main reasons why children miss school and adults skip work!
Winter is also a fairly tougher season for those with chronic respiratory diseases as their susceptibility to cough, cold and other related conditions tends to increase.
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Why does cough and cold increase in winter?
Common cough and cold is a year-round phenomenon, but one tends to feel the cases go up as winter sets in. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, while we may assume that it is winter that causes the illness, it is actually just the increased likelihood of exposure to viruses.
Some of the reasons cited for why cough and cold are common in winter are:
During winter, people want to protect themselves from the chill as much as possible. So, they tend to stay indoors as much as possible. Breathing re-circulated air can ease the spread of viruses.
Another reason for the spread of cough and cold virus can be lower humidity in centrally-heated buildings. Such viruses are likely to have longer survival in drier conditions.
Since areas such as offices and schools are all about people being in closer contact, it opens up the opportunity for the virus to spread.
The onset of winter is, therefore, a perfect time to focus on ways to increase immunity which can shield us from likely infections and viruses that can cause the stress of cough and cold.
While you must take preventive steps to avoid catching a cold, the first signs of cough should be an indication to avoid it from getting worse. Usually, people recover within about 7 to 10 days. However, those with weakened immune systems, or suffering from respiratory conditions, may end up getting seriously ill. The air pollution also plays its bit in aggravating the condition.
The only solution lies in strengthening your immunity to fight cough and cold.
Tips to increase immunity against cough and cold?
Food and drinks
What you eat and drink has a significant impact on your state of health. During a season change, be mindful about consuming cold items, caffeinated beverages, alcohol, hard-to-digest foods, inflammation-causing sweets and candies, mucus-creating foods such as dairy items. Go for foods such as ginger, garlic, honey, turmeric, hot tea or soups to soothe your sore throat and reduce cough.
At least 30 minutes of daily exercise is always recommended by experts. This not just increases immunity against cough and cold, but several other health conditions, including mental health. Engaging in some form of exercise or another – be it running, strength training, breathing exercises, yoga or any dance form – can keep your lungs and airways clear overtime. Certain simple breathing exercises can improve lung capacity, making them stronger to fight the stress induced by cough and cold.
Doing a saltwater gargle, having a spoon of honey, warm ginger tea and steam are some of the good old ways that our elders at home are quick to suggest on the first signs of cough and cold. Our ancient medicine systems also have a treasure trove of herbs which act as soothing agents for this health condition. While not all herbs are easily available, Hamdard Joshina packs in the wonders of 12 essential herbs to keep cough and cold remedy. This Unani formulation has natural ingredients such as tulsi, mulethi, amaltas, Unnab, Saplstan as ingredients, which can treat cough in its initial stage.
Tulsi: Revered as the ‘queen of herbs’, tulsi has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Among its many health benefits, tulsi can help to prevent the onset of cold. A lot of people even consume tulsi tea to boost immunity and keep allergies away.
Mulethi: Also known as licorice, mulethi is an elixir to soothe throat irritation. It also has the ability to treat dry cough. Many people consume mulethi by using its sticks to make a decoction or kadha.
Unnab: According to the Journal of Drug Delivery and Therapeutics, the syrup of Unnab – also known as ber or jujube -helps in treating bronchitis. It eases the respiratory tract.
Amaltas: The National Health Portal by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare highlights that amaltas is used widely in the Unani system of medicine for various ailments. It has anti-phlegmatic and decongestant properties which help to relieve cough and chest congestion.
These magical herbs in the syrup formula Hamdard Joshina empower it to be an effective preventive medication for treating cough and cold. Recognize the early signs of cold and treat it the right way because prevention is always better than cure. To find out more about Hamdard Joshina, click here!
Don’t undermine the importance of rest if you want to recover fast from cough and cold. The more you exert yourself, the more likely it is for your condition to get worse. The first signs of cough may be your body’s way to tell you to rest. Listen to your body!
Cough may lead you to feel throat dryness. Keep sipping on lukewarm water or herb-induced teas to soothe your irritated throat.
(Disclaimer: This feature is sponsored by Hamdard Joshina)