A cold is a condition caused by a specific group of viruses that can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including sore throat, cough, headache, sneezing, and runny nose. Because the viruses that cause colds are so contagious, the average person will come down with two to three colds each year.
Cold viruses can be quite inconvenient, especially if you have obligations that you can’t ignore, such as a family or a job. To alleviate the symptoms of your cold and/or shorten its duration, follow the tips below.
1. Enjoy Grandma’s chicken soup.
For many years, chicken soup has been a popular at-home remedy for a variety of illnesses, including the common cold. However, you may be unaware that this remedy is actually backed by scientific research. According to the Mayo Clinic, chicken soup can relieve congestion and limit the lifespan of the virus by speeding up the movement of mucus. Chicken soup also limits the movement of certain immune system cells known as neutrophils that are key players in the development of inflammation.
2. Raise the humidity.
Cold viruses flourish in dry conditions. In fact, these viruses’ affinity for dry environments is the reason that they appear so much more frequently during the winter months. If you are suffering from a cold, use a whole-house or portable humidifier to raise the humidity level in your home and make it more difficult for these viruses to thrive. Higher humidity levels can also lessen some of the symptoms of your cold, such as a scratchy throat or stuffy nose.
However, although higher humidity can be beneficial, the Mayo Clinic warns that added moisture can also lead to the growth of mold, bacteria, and fungi. To prevent this problem, make sure that you change the water in your humidifier regularly and keep your unit clean at all times.
3. Drink plenty of fluids.
Colds can cause a great deal of congestion to form in your nasal passages and bronchial tubes. Taking in plenty of fluids will help loosen congestion and thin mucus, thus relieving some of your discomfort. When choosing fluids, stick to water and warm broth and avoid fluids that contain caffeine, which is a diuretic and worsens dehydration. It is also important to avoid alcoholic beverages for the same reason.
4. Get your forty winks.
Rest as much as possible when you are sick. WebMD reports that failing to get adequate sleep can deplete your immune system, making it more difficult for you to fight infections, including the common cold. In addition, staying home from work or school will prevent you from passing the virus on to others.
5. Take approved cold medications.
Sometimes you just need something to mask the unbearable symptoms of a cold so that you can reasonably function. When taking any over-the-counter cold medications, be sure to follow all instructions carefully. Many of these are inappropriate for young children, cause drowsiness, and are risky when taken with alcohol.
According to Fox News, some effective cold medications include:
- Antihistamines – can relieve some of the symptoms of your cold, including runny nose, watery eyes, and scratchy throat. However, keep in mind that these medications often cause drowsiness.
- Decongestants – work to relieve nasal congestion by decreasing inflammation in the blood vessels that clog your nasal passages. They are available in the form of nasal sprays, as well as oral medications.
- Expectorants – can effectively thin mucus and loosen congestion. However, Fox News also suggests that people suffering from colds can loosen mucus without the help of an expectorant by simply increasing their fluid intake.
- Pain Medications – may be helpful if you are suffering from a fever or a sore throat. Over-the-counter pain relievers can bring down inflammation, reduce your fever, and relieve the pain in your throat.
Catching a cold may be an inevitability, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Following these science-backed methods may alleviate your symptoms and shorten the length of your illness, getting you back on your feet and enjoying life in no time!
The articles on this website are not to be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.