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Warm beer, hot lemon, ginger: what helps with colds
When the days get colder and wetter in autumn, the number of people with colds also increases. Everywhere we meet people with runny nose and cough. But is it really the cold when you catch a cold and what can you do if you get caught? Experts have tips on what helps against colds.
Cold myths in the fact check
When a scratchy throat, dripping nose and body aches appear in the fall, many people quickly have advice on what best helps against a cold and its symptoms. Hot milk with honey as a home remedy for sore throats and coughs, sweating in the sauna to get rid of a disease quickly, or keeping an arm's length away so as not to become infected. There are really enough tips. But what's really right about that? In a message from the dpa news agency, experts explain what is involved in such cold myths.
Hot milk with honey
Many swear by hot milk with honey as a home remedy for cough and hoarseness. Nutritionist Anja Markant from the Department of Oecotrophology at Münster University of Applied Sciences told dpa: "While dry cough, warm milk with honey can have an anti-irritant effect, but less so with mucus-producing cough, since milk itself produces mucus." Also possible antibacterial and antiviral effects According to the expert, honey was not sufficiently documented. "With one or two teaspoons, you can not absorb much of the positive active ingredients." These would even be broken down if the beverage was heated to over 40 degrees. However, it is true that warm drinks can relieve the irritation of the throat.
Hot lemon and ginger
A popular home remedy in the cold period is hot lemon. "Vitamin C cannot protect most people from colds," explained Markant. "Of course we need vitamin C. But we actually get enough in our daily food." In addition, the acids in the lemon could irritate the pharynx. Another common belief is that the miracle bulb ginger is good for colds. And there is really something about it: "It contains essential oils and so-called spicy substances," explained the expert. The latter would have an analgesic effect, for example. In addition, ginger stimulates blood circulation and also ensures warm hands and feet.
Sleep is the best medicine
As a rule, experts do not recommend alcohol to combat a disease. Some people think that it really helps with colds because it disinfects, but too much alcohol weakens the immune system and removes water from the body. But there is one exception: "Warm beer in small quantities actually seems to help with colds," says Markant. "Beer contains hops, which are characterized by essential oils and bitter substances." These are said to have a sleep-promoting effect, the effect being further enhanced by slight warming. And sleep is known to be the best medicine.
"Then you actually have an increased need for sleep," explained Prof. Stefan Wilm, director of the Institute of General Medicine at the University Hospital Düsseldorf. "What the body demands cannot be wrong." However, there are no studies. However, there are scientific studies that show that those who sleep less often catch colds more often.
No general sports ban for a cold
Many sufferers believe that chicken soup and bed rest are the best home remedies. Indeed, the steam of the soup can wet the mucous membranes and the heat can kill viruses. However, according to Markant, there is no evidence that zinc in chicken meat strengthens the immune system - just as little as the effect of the amino acid contained therein, which supports the maturation of white blood cells and is said to strengthen the immune system. Couch potatoes like to rely on a cold to avoid doing sports. However, illness and physical exercise are not mutually exclusive. "Whether sport is possible or not depends on the severity of the cold," said sports scientist Ingo Froböse from the German Sport University in Cologne.
“If you sniff a little, it is not absolutely necessary to take a break from sports.” When in doubt, exercise in fresh air is better for the mucous membranes than dry heating air. In the case of exhaustion / fatigue, it is better to take a break. "The absolute ban on sports applies to increased body temperatures."
Does a cold come from cold?
The rule of thumb: “Three days will come, three days will remain, three days will go”, said Wilm, who is also a family doctor and a member of the executive committee of the German Society for General Medicine and Family Medicine. "But there are respiratory infections that you can get rid of after only five days." However, a persistent cough after viral infections could also last up to six weeks. Wilm also commented on the assumption that a cold comes from the cold. "You can show in experimental studies that people who have become cold become a little easier to get infected," says the expert. But overall, the influence of cold is small.
Experts are controversial as to whether it makes sense to go to the sauna during or during the onset of a cold. "Everyone has to know that for themselves," said Wilm. However, most experts believe that regular visits to the sauna could reduce the frequency of infections. Finally, the agency report confirms that there is actually a risk that nasal spray can become addictive. Wilm recommends using it only for a few days. Nothing can do against the duration of the runny nose. "But when your nose is clear at night, you sleep better." (Ad)