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Top 3 Cold Remedies for Seniors

By Erik Gans, 9:00 am on

Colds are common, especially during the winter. Fortunately, nature has graciously given us healing agents that rapidly restore health. Here are proven natural remedies that quickly snuff out the sniffles, presented by Fairfield Home Care Assistance.

1. Chicken Soup

The Science – The compound carnosine in chicken soup strengthens immunity. A 2012 study in the American Journal of Therapeutics revealed that carnosine kills viral cells. In 2000, a Nebraska researcher studied the effect of chicken soup on cold symptoms. In addition to chicken, the tested soup contained onions, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery, parsley, and pepper. The scientist found that the soup inhibited the activity of mucus-producing cells. The heat and steam of chicken broth mobilize existing mucus, clearing airways. They also spur the movement of cilia, nasal hairs that prevent airborne germs from entering the body.

The Remedy – The drawback to commercially prepared chicken soups is the high concentration of salt they contain. Therefore, it’s healthier to make your own with low-sodium chicken broth and whatever veggies your loved one enjoys.

2. Elderberry

The Science – The University of Maryland Medical Center verifies the ability of this berry to relieve cold symptoms. Elderberry compounds bind to viruses before they can penetrate cell walls. Chemicals in the flower and berry reduce nasal congestion and sinus inflammation. Research demonstrates that elderberry lozenges can reduce discomfort when taken within 24 hours of the start of symptoms. One study showed that a standardized elderberry extract called Sambucol can shorten a cold’s duration by three days.

The Remedy – Elderberry is available as capsules, lozenges, liquid, syrup, tea, and tincture. Sambucol is sold by natural food stores and pharmacies.

Precautions – Seniors taking the following medications should avoid using elderberry:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • Diabetes medication
  • Diuretics
  • Medication for autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Theo-Dur for lung disease

3. Zinc Lozenges

The Science – The Mayo Clinic states that zinc lozenges can cut a cold’s duration if taken within 24 hours of feeling ill. In 2013, Cochrane Collaboration, a global team of researchers, evaluated the effect of zinc as a cold treatment. After analyzing 15 studies, Cochrane concluded that zinc lozenges can reduce symptom severity and the length of a cold by three to four days. Study subjects experienced faster relief of sore throat, coughing, and nasal congestion. Lab tests showed that zinc lozenges deactivate viruses, blocking them from adhering to nasal membranes and preventing them from replicating.

The Remedy – Begin taking zinc lozenges at the first sign of a cold. Follow the dosage guidelines on packaging. Either zinc acetate or gluconate lozenges will work. Seniors can consume the lozenges for five days. Beyond that, side effects are possible, including nausea, upset stomach, and lingering metallic taste.

Learn more about senior wellness from the dedicated staff at Home Care Assistance. We developed the Balanced Care Method to help seniors achieve and maintain a high quality of living through diet, exercise, social activity, and purpose. BCM is included in all of our care services, including hourly and live-in home care in Fairfield, at no additional cost to clients. Give us a call today at 203-955-1915 and request a complimentary in-home consultation today.