One billion colds occur every year in the United States, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The common cold leads to more absences from work and school than any other illness. The common cold is caused by a number of different viruses that inflame the walls of the nose and throat. Cold prevention is paramount to maintain good health and productivity. Baking soda and salt are useful tools to prevent the spread of germs and to decrease the longevity of the common cold.
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Gargling with a baking soda and salt water solution a couple of times a day can help prevent or relieve a sore throat. Salt and baking soda help kill germs and halt the development of yeast and fungi in the throat. Additionally, salt helps loosen phlegm in the throat. According to Northwestern University, mixing 1/2 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of baking soda with a full cup of warm water and gargling multiple times throughout the day can help you avoid getting a cold or shorten the duration of your cold.
Colds usually occur during the winter months when the environment is cold and dry. Dry nasal passages can contribute to nasal congestion. Bacteria grow underneath nasal crusting caused by dry nasal passages. Keeping the membranes in the nose moist can help flush the mucus from the nose. Using a saline spray offers a solution to a dry and congested nose. Salt helps attract the mucus in the nose and decongest the nasal passages. According to the University of Michigan Health System, you can make a saline irrigation solution by mixing 1/4 tsp. of non-iodized salt, 1/4 tsp. of baking soda and 8 oz. of warm water. Use a bulb syringe with the saline mixture to flush your nasal passages twice a day.
Dehydration may occur when the body loses too many fluids from fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Fever, vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms more typically observed in the flu. However, severe colds can produce these same symptoms, especially among young children. When fluids are lost from the body, electrolytes in the body may become imbalanced. Electrolytes are salts and minerals that regulate the quantities of water in your body. According to the County of Los Angeles Public Health Department, you can make your own electrolyte mixture to restore fluids and moisture in your body. Mix 1qt. of water, 1/4 tsp. of baking soda, 1/4 tsp. of salt, 2 tbsp. of sugar and lemon or lime juice for taste. Drink the mixture as needed until your symptoms subside.
During a cold, the body’s immune system is taxed making it more susceptible to pick up germs and contract a bacterial infection. Baking soda is a natural antiseptic that helps kill germs growing on your hands and hygiene products. Use baking soda as a hand cleanser and cleanser for your oral products, such as retainers, dentures and toothbrushes. Mix 2 tsp. of baking soda with warm water and soak your toothbrush or other oral products.