It’s that time of year… Everyone around you is getting sick. If you are one of the unlucky ones, the following are some eco-friendly tips for dealing with a cold. Please note that some of these are not scientifically proven, but have helped alleviate the symptoms of a cold. It’s also important to get an annual flu shot, especially for those at increased risk of serious illness, their caregivers, or close contacts.
KEEPING THINGS CLEAN
The following are some natural, DIY recipes for making must-have cleaners to fight germs at home, school, or the office. Making your own natural cleaners is a great way to reduce your ecological footprint, as well as stay clear of harmful chemicals found in many cleaning products.
** Check out this blog post for Greener Cleaning Products! **
- ¾ cup (187.5 ml) water
- ¼ cup (62.5 ml) liquid castile soap (unscented or scented with essential oils of your choice)
- Add to a recycled soap dispenser
** Check out this blog post on how to make your own cold-process soap bar! **
- 25-30 drops of tea tree oil
- 9 drops of lavender oil
- 9 drops of clove oil
- 1 tablespoon of witch hazel (optional)
- 16 tablespoons (8 ounces) aloe vera gel
- Add to a squeeze bottle/ container (recycled is preferred!)
- Mix equal parts white vinegar and water
- Optional: add drops of an essential oil of your choice (we recommend peppermint, lemon, or thyme)
- Add to a spray bottle
- Wash hard surfaces with vinegar
- Transfer 3% hydrogen peroxide to dark, light-proof spray bottle and spray the same surfaces
- For best results, apply one immediately after the other and let the surface dry (don’t wipe the vinegar or the hydrogen peroxide away).
- Make your own hankie (from scrap fabric) for blowing your nose, as an alternative to facial tissues.
- Or, buy from a company like Hankettes, which uses organic cotton options made in Canada.
Other Cleaning Tips
- 11 ways to green your laundry
- 10 tips for making your dishwasher more efficient
- How to green your cleaning routine
NATURAL HOME REMEDIES
The following are some natural home remedies to combat cold and flu symptoms. Be sure to see your doctor if your cold or flu symptoms worsen, or last longer than a few days. Please note that these remedies should not be used as substitutions for prescriptions or advice from your doctor.
Saltwater: Gargling water with salt helps relieve soreness in the throat. Some believe that the use of salt reduces swelling of the throat and manages bacteria.
Echinacea: This herbal plant that has grown in popularity over recent years for its use as a remedy to fight or prevent the common cold. The herb is available in pill and liquid form, or can even be made into a tea.
Zinc: Zinc helps our bodies maintain a healthy immune system. Some people believe that taking zinc supplements shortens the duration of a cold.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is essential to healthy bones, teeth and gums, and can be found in many types of fruits and vegetables. Some studies have shown that Vitamin C can reduce the intensity and duration of the common cold.
Ginger: The health and curing benefits of ginger root have been around for centuries, and currently backed with scientific evidence. Putting raw ginger root in boiling water can help soothe a cough or a sore throat. Here is a recipe for ginger tea.
Honey: Honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Drinking honey in tea with lemon can help ease sore throat pain. Some research suggests that honey can be an effective cough suppressant as well.
Garlic: Garlic contains the compound allicin, which may be antimicrobial. Adding a garlic supplement to your diet might reduce the severity of cold symptoms or prevent it in the first place.
Spicy Foods: If you’re someone who can take the heat of hot peppers, munching on one is a temporary way to deal with congestion! The constituent in peppers that makes them spicy is called capsaicin, which can help loosen up mucous.
Shower Steamer: Steam can go a long way for moistening your sinuses and loosening mucus. Try sprinkling a few drops of eucalyptus or menthol in a warm shower.
DIY Chest Salve: Melt down ½ cup of coconut oil and pour it into a heat safe, airtight container. Add peppermint essential oil, stir, and seal off while it cools. Once it has completely cooled, simply rub a little on your chest. The menthol in the essential oil creates the cooling sensation and eases breathing. See the full recipe and set of instructions here.
Natural Remedies, Common Cold
Everyday Roots, Cold Remedies
Healthline, Home Remedies
David Suzuki Queen of Green Blog, DIY recipes to help combat colds and flu
Live Simply, DIY Cleaner
Everyday Roots, DIY Hand Sanitizer