Stay Healthy With These Essential Oils for Colds
We all get colds. In fact, they are undoubtedly the most common illnesses worldwide for people of all ages. An adult will get 2 to 4 colds each year with children getting as many as 5 to 10. The US population alone gets over 1 billion colds every year. Usually, the onset of a cold will be accompanied by a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and coughing among many other symptoms which are generally not life-threatening.
Despite that fact, colds can be really irritating. The lack of energy, nasal congestion, headaches and sleeplessness that are synonymous with colds can put you down for days, which explains why colds are the leading causes for adults missing work and children missing school. That goes to show just how important it is to pay attention to the slightest symptoms of colds. The good news is that preventing and treating them is pretty simple. You can do it very effectively with nothing more than essential oils. We will look at that in detail a bit later, but for now let’s look at the common causes.
Causes of Colds
If you want to treat or stay away from colds you first need to know how they are caused.
Colds are viral diseases. That means they are caused by viruses. There are over 200 viruses that are associated with colds but the most common one is known as the rhinovirus. Other than causing colds, it is also linked with several other illnesses like asthma, sinus and ear infections among others. That should give you even more reason to want to treat or prevent a cold because otherwise it can develop into a more serious illness.
These viruses are usually spread through air droplets and tiny particles when an infected individual blows their nose, sneezes or coughs. You can catch the cold when those air droplets and particles enter your system through the nose, mouth or eyes. The person doesn’t necessarily have to sneeze, cough or blow their nose around you.
You can still catch the cold if you touch a contaminated surface or item and then touch any of the mentioned parts of your body (mouth, eyes or ears). So it’s pretty easy to spread the virus because we can’t live without sharing things at work or home; be it utensils, pens, electronic gadgets or children’s toys. Even door knobs are very popular mediums for spreading the viruses.
An infected person will be most contagious within the first 3 days of contracting the cold. That likelihood reduces to almost zero after 7 days. That means after a week you can interact with an infected person in all manner of ways without catching the cold.
Contrary to popular belief, you can actually get a cold any time of the year. But you should also know that they are most common in the winter and spring.
How to Know If You Have a Cold
We’ve already mentioned a few symptoms of colds, like nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, sleeplessness, and fatigue. But there are several other illnesses that come with similar symptoms, most notably flu and allergic rhinitis. So how can you tell the difference?
For starters if you interacted with a person who is infected with a cold then chances are it is a cold. Typically it takes 1 to 3 days after infection for symptoms to appear. Also, if you haven’t exposed yourself to common triggers of allergies (like dust or pollen) then it is likely to be a cold.
Is it a Cold or Flu?
You can use the severity of the symptoms to differentiate a cold from flu. The symptoms of a flu are more severe compared to those of colds and may include diarrhea, muscle pain and extreme fatigue.
Additionally, colds come with low or no fever at all, particularly in adults. Young children may experience a fever of 100 to 1020F. Also, the symptoms of colds are largely limited to the mouth, nose and throat. The same cannot be said for flu which affects virtually the whole body.
Preventing and Treating Colds Using Essential Oils
There are several conventional ways of preventing yourself and those around you from catching a cold. You can:
- Stay away from the infected person(s)
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water.
- Avoid touching your mouth, ears and eyes with unwashed hands.
- Disinfect surfaces, just in case they are contaminated.
Colds do not have a vaccine or cure, so if you are already infected you can:
- Avoid close contact with those who are not infected.
- Opt to stay at home when you are sick.
- Practice safe coughing, sneezing and nose blowing. Also, wash your hands after doing any of those.
- Get lots of rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
Unless you have a weak immune system or suffer from asthma or any other respiratory illness, you should be able to recover fully within 7 to 10 days. But you can make the recovery faster and even more effective by using essential oils.
Essential Oils for Colds
Most essential oils have properties that are ideal for preventing colds or curing their symptoms. Other than generally boosting your immune system, these natural remedy also have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, astringent, pain-relieving, disinfectant, antimicrobial and warming properties among others. You need all those if you are to fight a cold effectively. They will help alleviate symptoms like headaches, stuffed nose, congested airways, fatigue and body aches.
So which particular oils are the best at the job? Here is a list of the best essential oils for colds. The next time you go shopping you may want to include them on your list for prevention or alleviation purposes (after catching a cold).
Apart from being antibacterial and antiseptic, eucalyptus essential oil also fights inflammation caused by coughs.
This antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent oil makes a great remedy for several cold-related symptoms like chest pains and coughs.
Colds are usually associated with respiratory infections like bronchitis. Luckily you can keep them away with this oil as it protects your lungs during periods of colds.
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Perfect for draining lymph nodes in your ears and throat (due to its anti-inflammatory properties). That alone will eliminate any swelling in those areas.
It also treats fatigue and offers antibacterial and antioxidant properties. You can also consider other citrus oils like lemongrass, bergamot, orange and lime essential oils.
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This powerful oil is both antimicrobial and antiviral and will reduce or completely eliminate any cold-related ailments from the upper respiratory part of your body. That includes sore throats and coughs.
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Peppermint essential oil
Use this oil to boost your spirits when you are down with a cold. It offers strength and boosts positive energy.
There’s a reason why clove oil is famous for treating toothaches – it has a powerful numbing effect on pain. If your cold comes with any sort of pain you may want to use this oil to get some ache and pains relief. A cinnamon clove mixture is one of our favorites.
If your budget allows room for more you can also include thyme, lavender, tee tree, cinnamon, grapefruit, basil, sandalwood, and ginger essential oils.
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Few things are worse than seeing your child uncomfortable or in pain and not being able to do anything. Stop their cough, fever, and sickness with the number one recommended, specifically designed for children, magic elixir of health blend by Nature Ultimate Kids.
Or choose a child friendly set of oils designed by Edens Gardens that will help with scraps and bruises, focus and concentration, sleep, and ward off colds.
Application and Uses
There are several ways of applying essential oil for colds.
If you are trying to prevent you and your loved ones from getting infected you can start by treating door knobs and surfaces with the oils that contain antibacterial and antiseptic properties.
In case one or a few people are already sick you may consider using the oils in bath blends, aromatherapy, massage blends, steam inhalation or diffusers for treatment purposes.
Pro tip: Please keep in mind that most of these oils are highly concentrated and may be harmful if not diluted. It is always wise to use them with a carrier oil when applying topically. That’s it, stay healthy all through the cold and flu season, sickness be gone!