Cold is a frequently occurring discomfort among both adults and children. Clinical studies estimate that – on an average – an adult catches cold at least thrice each year. One of the home remedies to cure cold is to wear wet socks. It might sound counterintuitive but some people believe this works well to cure cold.
A widely followed home remedy to treat a bout of cold is to sleep in wet socks. The underlying logic is cool feet may help your vessels to contract. This action is believed to add essential minerals to the body. These minerals – mostly nutrients – help in healing your body from cold attack. As soon as your body warms up, toxins get dispatched out of your tissues. Once such toxic substances are sent off, it can catalyse your recovery from common cold.
Exposing your body – through the feet – to cold and heat has proven to have some benefits. Foremost, your lymphatic system gets excited and works overtime for a relief. Secondly, your immunity levels may turn strengthened to fight external attacks. The combined effect is nasal congestion, and cold exits from the body overnight.
This method involves usage of 2 pairs of socks. One of these pairs is woollen and the other is made of cotton. The steps involved are (a) put your feet in mildly hot water (ensure that it is not so very hot to scald); but make sure the water is warm enough to make your feet turn pink which may need about 10 minutes, (b) Put your cotton socks in cold water, (c) As your feet turn pink, dry it completely; wring out the water from cotton socks and wear them (do not wait and once you have wrung the socks well, they are ready to be worn); at this stage, your feet are not cold – thanks to the dip in hot water, (d) Now, wear the woollen socks on top of the wrung cotton socks (choose heavy socks as they can offer better level of insulation). A few more instructions related to this method are- sleep wearing the two pairs of socks, wait till the socks get fully dry and only then remove them. You are advised to drink lot of fluids, especially water. Also, you are advised not to take sugars, sweeteners, milk or other dairy related products such as cheese, butter, etc.
Post step (a), ensure to dry your feet soon after taking them off the hot water bath. Use a towel which is dry to wipe your feet. For step (c) above, ensure the socks are completely free of water i.e., make sure socks are not dripping with drops of water.
These methods are widely thought to increase the circulation of blood. It is also believed to work like a sedative and can make people with cold to sleep with ease. People attribute the decongestion of the upper respiratory airways in your lungs, nose and head as key benefits of this method. Some also extend this method for relief from pain; which commonly occurs during inflammation, attacks of infections or common colds.
There is however no clinical evidence associated with this technique. But it is widely trusted as a remedy to treat common cold, only evidenced by anecdotes and folklores. People attribute the remedy this therapy to placebo effect. This effect is explained as remedies obtained through a treatment method or medication that can never be scientifically proven or validated. A placebo works more with the patient’s belief that he / she is getting well due the drug or treatment offered. Popular items which have been found to create a placebo effect include sugar pill, saline water, sterile solution, etc.
It is suggested that this treatment is done for two nights to see better results. At times, it is also used to treat inflammation or swelling. The other medical conditions for which this technique may be used include- sinus infections, migraines, non-stop coughing spell, soreness of throat, nasal infections or inflammation in your nose or throat, bronchitis, wheezing, sneezing, runny nose, allergic rhinitis, etc.
Similar to the wet socks, folk remedies for common cold include intake of beer, garlic, onions, oysters (which is a great source of zinc; believed to fight the infections causing cold), chicken soup (is it the steam coming off the soup or the ingredients of the soup is a debatable question though), etc.
These remedies aside, your physician may advise you to (1) take good rest, (2) rinse your throat with salt water (preferably warm water) and (3) consume a lot of liquids. Standard treatment for common cold also includes intake of over-the-counter drugs as well as use of cough syrups or nasal decongestion sprays.
You can also fight common cold with foods. The popular foods that have powers to fight cold include bell peppers, bananas, carrots, mustard and berries – especially blueberries. Other equally effective foods include lemonade with a few drops of honey, etc. Your dietician may advise you to avoid foods such as sweeteners, soda, grains and dairy products such as milk.
As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure. So, take needful measures to avoid catching a cold. These include keeping your hands away from your face, staying away from people who already are suffering from a runny nose and using soap to wash your hands frequently.