Chicken Soup – Does It Do More Than Soothe the Soul?

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As the weather gets colder, families and especially children are likely to come down with colds, sore throats, and runny noses.

The full range of cold symptoms are the result of acute respiratory tract infections (ARTI), any short-term infectious illness involving the respiratory system.

And under the ARTI umbrella, there are a variety of conditions – coughs and colds, laryngitis, pharyngitis/tonsillitis, acute rhinitis, acute rhinosinusitis, acute otitis media, pneumonia, bronchitis, and bronchiolitis – all of them unpleasant and disruptive.

UniSA researcher, Sandra Lucas, says there are real costs to the common cold.

“Time off school, time off work to care for sick children, visits to the GP and sometimes the emergency department – all add up to an economic cost as well as a personal one,” Lucas says.

Lucas says there has been some historical research suggesting that soups, especially traditional chicken and vegetable soups, may be helpful in the treatment of some symptoms of ARTI.

“The evidence says we should limit the use of antibiotics for children with ARTI – so parents usually have to manage the symptoms of the cold over what is typically a 7-14 day duration,” Lucas says.

“Our research is looking at how they do this – and specifically, what alternative and traditional treatments they may use and how effective they are.”

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