Nine simple tips that will help you survive the common cold
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Nine simple tips that will help you survive the common coldSneezing, a sore throat and a stuffy or runny nose ‐ everyone knows the miserable symptoms of a cold, the most common cause of illness in both adults and children.1 It can be difficult to avoid exposure to the common cold, especially through the winter season, however, there are ways to relieve the symptoms and help you feel better while it runs its course. Some tips include:
- Get plenty of rest – Allow your body to recover by getting plenty of sleep and rest. If you have a child with a cold, let them decide how much activity they wish to take part in as they may not necessarily need bed rest.1
- Drink adequate fluids – Water, diluted juices, clear broths or warm water with lemon and honey may help loosen congestion and keep you hydrated.2 Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated soft drinks, which may make dehydration worse.2
- Use a humidifier or vaporiser – Dry air dries the mucous membranes of the airways and can contribute to a stuffy nose and scratchy throat. Use a clean vaporiser, cool mist humidifier or breathe in steam from a bowl of hot water or a shower to help soothe a sore throat, ease a cough and relieve sinus pressure.3 Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and inhaling the vapour may also relieve congestion in some people.
- Eat chicken soup – The comforting and traditional remedy of chicken soup may help you to feel better because it helps to reduce inflammation and temporarily speeds up the movement of mucous. This may help to relieve congestion and limit the amount of time viruses are in contact with the nasal passages.2 Soups and broths are also ideal for those with a lack of appetite which is often a regular symptom of the common cold.
- Use saline nasal drops or spray – Saline nasal sprays or drops may help combat stuffiness and nasal congestion. Avoid decongestants, which may cause symptoms to become worse when the medicine is discontinued.2
- Use warm compresses – A warm compress placed over the nose and forehead may help relieve sinus pressure.3
- Gargle – Relieve a sore scratchy throat with a saltwater or specialised throat gargle. Sucking on lozenges or ice blocks may also help.
- Use pain medicines where appropriate – Over‐the‐counter pain medication can be given in appropriate doses if pain or fever is present.1,3
- Consider taking vitamin C on a regular basis – Various studies have shown that vitamin C can help reduce the duration of colds when taken regularly.4 In a 2004 review it was found that regular consumption of vitamin C at 200mg per day reduced cold duration by 8% in adults and 13.5% in children, which equates to approximately 24 hours.4 If you want to help reduce the chance of catching a cold, you may benefit from taking vitamin C regularly, rather than just at the time of the cold.