Having a cold is no fun for anyone. We all know the feeling of waking up with a scratchy throat and spending the rest of the day sneezing and coughing. While there is still no cure for the common cold, there are several ways to relieve the cold symptoms and possibly shorten the duration of the cold.
- Get plenty of rest. Getting enough sleep and resting your body will allow your body to fight the illness more effectively. Getting enough rest can actually shorten the length of your cold, as well as make you feel better while it lasts.
- Eat well. Eating well will enable your body to heal more quickly from a cold. Try to avoid processed food, fatty foods, and refined sugar.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Warm liquids such as soups and herbal teas are soothing, but water and juice work also. When you have a cold, fluids are very important.
- Treat your runny or stuffy nose. You can use saline drops or nose spray, or spend time in a steamy room. Decongestants can also help, although children should never take decongestants.
- Treat your fever and aches. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be used to reduce fever or treat muscle aches.
- Treat your cough. Adults and children older than six can take cough drops or cough syrup. Drinking enough fluids can also reduce a cough.
- Treat your sore throat. Gargling with salt water can reduce the pain of a sore throat. In addition, adults and children older than six can use throat lozenges or throat spray.
- Stay home from work or school. If possible, don't go in to school or work when you have a cold, to avoid infecting others. If it's not possible, wash your hands frequently and sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue to avoid spreading germs.
- Be patient. It can take about ten days for a cold to run its course. Try to make yourself comfortable and take care of yourself to shorten the duration of the cold.
- Do not use antibiotics. Antibiotics do not work on colds or the flu, which are caused by viruses.
While science may some day find a cure for the common cold, for now there are many ways to reduce the symptoms. Get well soon!