Treatments for a cold and when to see a professional

Treatments for a cold and when to see a professional


The cold season is here with us again. You probably are already sneezing, having teary eyes, and blowing your nose every second. You are wondering how to make the fatigue and stuffiness go away. Should you see a doctor? Should you treat yourself? Today we look at simple remedies for your homa and help you identify when you should visit a health professional.

Treatments for Cold

Hot water, lemon, and honey (dawa)

This is a cheap remedy that will make you feel better in no time. Get a lemon from the kiosk for just 10 bob. Wash it well, cut it up and squeeze the juice in pre-boiled warm water and drink. This concoction will replenish all the water you have lost from blowing your nose. It will also relieve the headache that you are having as a result of dehydration. The lemon will also soothe your throat. Throw in a piece of tangawizi to increase the soothing effect. Add a little honey if you find it too sour. Skip the lemon and tangawizi and have plain water if you suffer from ulcers or hyperacidity as they may make these conditions worse.

Nasal decongestants

There's a variety of nasal decongestants.  They come in form of sprays, drops, essentials oils that you can inhale and ointments like Vicks Kingo. Decongestants work by decreasing the swelling of blood vessels in your nose and by increasing draining away of mucus. Some also loosen the mucus making it easy to blow your nose. There are also oral agents that contain decongestants, the most common ones being Flu-gone and cold-cap. Take extra care if you have high blood pressure because some decongestants may alter your blood pressure.  Please ask our providers if you have any questions about interactions between these medications and your health condition.

Lots of rest

All the nose-blowing is going to get you dehydrated and fatigued. Your immune system is also working hard to fight off the flu virus. For this reason, you need to maintain all your energy reserves. This is why a lot of rest is important during this period. 


In addition, movement warms your body up creating a favorable environment for the multiplication of the flu virus. This slows down the healing process. Also, all the fumes from matatus on the road plus the swirling dust is likely to make your symptoms worse. Therefore, try as much as possible to stay indoors and limit movement. 

Cover up!

The cold weather is likely to make your symptoms worse. Now is not the time to ‘freeze and shine.’ Keep yourself warm by wearing sweaters and jackets and sipping on hot tea.

When to see a health professional

When you experience chest pain

Chest pain that presents with a running nose often indicates a lower respiratory tract infection. Such an infection will not resolve on its own without the right medication. The pain may either be persistent or sharp on one side of the chest. It may also present when you cough. Seek help, the moment you feel the chest pain.

When you have trouble breathing

If you develop shortness of breath, wheezing or sounds coming out when you breath, seek further attention. These often indicate an underlying problem.

If the cold doesn’t resolve in two weeks

Generally, a cold will resolve within 7 days. If your symptoms persist for more than 14 days, you will need to see a professional.

Pain in the ears

Pain in the ears often indicates an infection. This problem will not resolve unless you take the right kind of medication. This will be determined by your healthcare provider. Look out for this symptom in children under the age of 5.

Fever and sore throat

A combination of fever and sore throat may be due to streptococcus infection. It will need to be ascertained by a professional. Visit a hospital for expert attention.

When you have recurring cold sores

Sometimes you will get blisters around your mouth a few days before you get the cold. These are known as cold sores. They are painful and may be a great inconvenience. They tend to resolve on their own within 7 days. A cold sore that doesn’t heal or keeps recurring may indicate infection by the herpes virus. Consult a doctor if your cold sore keeps recurring.              

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