So far this winter I’ve been struck down by not one, but two colds. As I’m lucky enough to mostly work from home, I’ve been able to follow the gold standard of cold care: plenty of bed-rest and lots of fluids. And thankfully I’m now almost finished with the never-ending stream of tissues and coughing and general miserableness. Now it’s my husband’s turn. Poor guy. Poor me.

Here are my favourite cold home remedies:

  1. Honey – Tea with honey is basically all I drink when I have a cold, as it is so soothing and comforting. I have a bush-doctor’s idea that the hot water helps kill germs (which it probably doesn’t) but I do know that the fluid intake is good for you. However, lately doctors are starting to think that simple, supermarket honey might have some properties that help with night-time coughing (see this article from the Mayo Clinic). We have definitely tried a teaspoon of honey at night and found it helpful.
  2. Chicken Soup – Again, it’s probably just the fact that plenty of fluids are good for you and when you’re sick your appetite decreases so that soup seems like a good option. But, for what it’s worth, here’s my favourite chicken soup recipe. (Note I use about half the stock recommended – they make it too salty for my taste). It always makes me feel better.
  3. Salt water gargle – My mum still tells me to do this, and there is a lot of evidence that it works. A quarter- to a half-teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, rinsed and gargled around the mouth can ease the pain of a sore throat and wash away bacteria.
  4. Vapour/Eucalyptus/Smelly ointments – We buy a tub of Euky Bearub or Vicks Vaporub and keep it in the medicine box. When the kids have a cold I usually put some on a tissue and stuff it in their pillowcase, which helps them breathe a little easier at night. No reason it won’t work for you, too.
  5. Soap – To try to limit the cold season in your house, keep some hand sanitizer handy and encourage everyone to wash their hands often, especially after blowing their nose. Sneeze or cough into a tissue that goes straight into the bin or into the crook of your arm. This will minimise the risk of your cold morphing into the dreaded “Man-flu” when caught by other, less resilient members of the family.