Respiratory tract infection is defined as an infection in the respiratory tract. These infections can be caused by bacteria, virus or fungi. The body's respiratory tract comprises of the nose, sinuses, mouth, throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx), trachea, and lungs. The upper respiratory tract infection affects certain parts including the nose, sinuses, trachea, larynx, and pharynx. Such infections can spread easily from an infected person to others. They may include symptoms like wheezing, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, cough, scratchy and sore throat, headache, breathlessness, and others. Lower respiratory infections affect the airway and lungs. Many respiratory infections pass within 1 to 2 weeks if proper care is provided. People can treat respiratory infections at home by making use of home remedies.
Certain home remedies are a natural ways of dealing with such infections and can be performed without any hassle. Enlisted below are some most effective home remedies for respiratory tract infections.
1. Inhaling steam: Steam inhalation is definitely one of the best home remedies for respiratory tract infections. In boiled water, add a piece of camphor to it. People can inhale this steam for 10 to 15 minutes. Steam helps in clearing blocked respiratory tracts by dissolving mucus membranes. Steam inhalation is a natural treatment for nasal congestion which relieves and lubricates the respiratory tract.
2. Saltwater gargle: Gargling with warm water in the morning with salt can be advantageous for the respiratory tract. It is an effective remedy against an irritated nose and throat. It helps in thinning of the mucus, thereby making it easier to remove it. Take a glass of lukewarm water and add one teaspoon of salt to it. Let the salt dissolve in the water and gargle with it every morning until needed.
3. Ginger: Ginger is a solution for hundreds of ailments. For respiratory illnesses, it is one of the most effective home remedies. Possessing properties such as antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory, ginger effectively fights the root cause of the respiratory tract infection. People with infection can chew a few slices of ginger every day with some salt or add it to their diet.
4. Honey: Honey is a powerful remedy to fight respiratory infections, especially in kids. Generally, steam therapy is not recommended for kids, but honey's anti-bacterial properties can kill infection-causing bacteria. There are various ways in which kids can consume honey to get relief from infections. For example, adding lemon juice to a glass of warm water with some honey and giving this drink twice or thrice a day. People can also add honey in a glass of milk for the same effect.
5. Sit in the sun for a while: Taking some early morning sunlight for relief is not a bad option. Sometimes, a deficiency of vitamin D could be the reason for such infections. Sit in the sunlight for a few minutes to get enough vitamin D. Just make sure to sit in the early morning sunlight. This is because early morning sunlight is not as strong and harsh as the rest of the day.
6. Eucalyptus: Consuming eucalyptus could also help in providing relief from respiratory tract infections. Just boil a few eucalyptus leaves in some water and inhale its steam. People can also try sniffing some eucalyptus oil for clearing nasal congestion.
7. Garlic: Garlic can be used to lessens the severity of a bacterial chest infection as it possesses anti-bacterial properties. There are various ways to consume garlic. Some people use it in food preparations while some people may eat raw garlic. Garlic contains a compound "allicin" which kills the bacteria causing lung infections.
8. Warm milk: Warm milk has a soothing effect on sore throat, cold, and cough. Adding turmeric and black pepper to milk works better on chest and cold infections. Turmeric is a good anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent that help in killing bacteria. Similarly, black pepper aids digestion and relieves cough and cold.
9. Peppermint: Peppermint is well known for its ability to freshen breath. Diluted peppermint oil spray is beneficial in getting rid of sore throats. Peppermint contains menthol, which helps thin mucus and soothes sore throats and cough. Peppermint also has some anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antiviral properties, which may encourage healing.
10. Give rest to the body: Sometimes, busy schedules do not let the body get the sufficient rest it requires, which causes the immune system to break down. With little immunity, our bodies may find it difficult to fight sickness and become more vulnerable to diseases. It is recommended to give your body the rest it needs to strengthen the immunity and fight illnesses.