Top 20 remedies Brits turn to when ill

The nation’s favourite remedies for easing the symptoms of a cold include steamy baths, gargling salt water and exercising vigorously.

A study of 2,000 adults found 48 per cent believe taking extra vitamins such as drinking a glass of orange juice was one of the best ways to ward off feeling under the weather.

Just under a third (31 per cent) also still believe in ‘feeding a cold and starving a fever’.

While 29 per cent think going outside without a coat on will mean you catch a cold and 28 per cent believe the same of going to bed with wet hair.

Seven in 10 Brits agreed that trying to proactively prevent an illness is better than curing the symptoms.

And popular measures to stay healthy include trying to sleep seven to eight hours a night (50 per cent) and taking vitamin D (33 per cent).

However, only 16 per cent practised good nasal hygiene – one of the simplest and most effective ways to support their immunity against cold and flu, according to experts.

Seven in 10 said they did not know ‘good nasal hygiene’ would help.

Yet 64 per cent confessed they take their clear and breezy airways for granted – until they are blocked up with a cold.


Fighting the flu

Dr Zoe Williams, who has partnered with Stérimar, said: “Prevention is better than cure, so people should be looking to support good functioning of their immune system and be reminded of other measures, such as hand hygiene to avoid getting poorly.

“Some well-known ways to help maintain a healthy immune system include getting enough sleep, being physically active, staying hydrated, and having a healthy diet, which should include vitamin D.”

It also emerged some try various home remedies when they are ill with 11 per cent turning to cups of soup to ‘sweat out’ their illness, 22 per cent have steamy baths, 19 per cent have a ‘hot toddy’ and 18 per cent choose to sleep sitting up.

Other unconventional and bizarre home remedies people turn to include eating raw onions (seven per cent), rubbing goose grease on their chests (five per cent), wearing cold and wet socks to bed (six per cent), and consuming oysters (five per cent).

Just under half (48 per cent) of those opting for home remedies use those passed down from their parents or grandparents. Whilst nearly a third (31 per cent) received wisdom from a friend or relative.

Dr Zoe Williams added: “Brits also swear by their favoured home remedies when struck down with a cold or flu, especially those that have been passed down through the generations or recommended by friends.

“However, most don’t have any scientific backing – and what works for one person may not work for someone else.”

Top remedies Brits turn to when ill

  1. Apply vapour rub
  2. Drinking honey and lemon
  3. Taking vitamins
  4. Drinking hot water and lemon
  5. Wearing multiple layers of clothing
  6. Use medicated nasal spray
  7. Putting your face over a bowl of hot water with menthol crystals
  8. Having a steamy bath
  9. Eating chicken soup
  10. Gargling salt water
  11. “Hot Toddy” / hot alcoholic drink
  12. Sleeping sat up
  13. Drinking hot blackcurrant squash
  14. Use natural, non-medicated nasal spray
  15. Exercising vigorously
  16. Sitting in the bathroom with the shower on
  17. Smelling ginger
  18. Lying flat on your back to stop a runny nose
  19. Eating raw onions
  20. Wearing cold, wet socks to bed
Chris Price