health and wellbeing

When Cough and Cold Strike

When the weather outside is rainy, wet and cold, it’s good to know how a warming foot bath, a lemon throat compress or calf wraps can help keep us healthy.

Relief for the throat: How to make a soothing lemon compress

Place half a lemon cut-side down in a bowl. On top of this, pour 0.5 litres of hot water, approximately 75 degrees Celsius. Press out the lemon using the bottom of a tall cup, taking care not to scald your hand. This releases both the juice of the lemon as well as its essential oil. Fold a cotton cloth so that it is long and wide enough to cover the neck without touching the spine. Roll the cloth from both sides toward the middle. Place it in the bowl to absorb the lemon water. Using a fork, remove the cloth from the bowl to a dry towel and wring out thoroughly. Test the temperature on your wrist before applying. Unroll the cotton cloth onto the throat and secure by wrapping a wool scarf around the neck. Apply the compress for 30 minutes.

No more cold feet: How to prepare a warming foot bath

When the cold gets to your toes, try a progressively warm foot bath. Soak your feet in a basin of warm water. Add hot water to the bath in stages, so that the temperature increases bit by bit. Take care not to pour water directly on the feet. The temperature should be comfortable to the touch. Use a bath thermometer to ensure that the bath water temperature does not exceed 40 degrees Celsius. After 10 to 15 minutes, dry the feet with a towel, put on warm socks and rest. Be careful with the hot water! Children and people with foot problems can be particularly sensitive.

How to give yourself a massage with a hot towel roll

A massage with a hot towel roll helps to relieve muscle tension.  To make a towel roll, take a cotton cloth and roll tightly into a log. Wrap this in a terry towel to make a thicker roll. Place this vertically into a tall container and carefully pour hot water – about half a litre – into the inner cotton cloth. Use the hot towel roll to gently massage the neck, shoulder or back.

How to gently reduce fever with calf wraps

Calf wraps have proven to be an effective treatment for fever and are suitable for children over the age of one year. Only apply calf wraps if the patient’s feet are warm. First, place a thick bath towel (or similar) under the legs of the comfortably reclining patient. On top of this, spread out an intermediate cloth for each leg. Soak the two wrapping cloths in warm, body temperature water (no more than two degrees Celsius cooler than the patient’s own body temperature). After wringing out the cloths, wrap one around each calf. Secure the wraps with the intermediate cloths. Finally, wrap up both legs together in the bath towel, creating a kind of package. When the inner wraps become warm, remove them and replace with new, cool wraps. The layering allows the wraps to be replaced quickly without unnecessarily exposing the legs to drafts. Continue the application as long as needed to lower the fever. If the feet become cold, stop the wrap treatment immediately

What You’ll Need

  • 2 wrapping clothes made from untreated cotton, raw silk or linen, these will directly touch the skin.
  • 2 wider outer cloths to secure the wraps to the leg
  • An ordinary tea towel to wring out the wraps.  
  • A larger covering cloth or bath towel made from thick cotton, fleece or wool, if it is tolerated by the skin. This is important for comfort and prevents against cold drafts.

    Things to Consider

    A wrap takes time. Time to prepare, apply and have an effect. Patience is called for, especially when children are sick. Some children need time before they notice the benefits of the wrap. Parents who are unsure about the course of their child’s illness should consult a paediatrician.



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