The worst thing about catching the common cold — apart from the runny nose, congestion, sneezing, and coughing — is that there is no miracle cure. Sorry. Since colds are a virus, there’s really not too much you can do to get rid of the cause of your misery. However, there are things you can do to treat the symptoms of the cold, so you can at least feel better, sooner.
The world has too much to offer to spend your days hovering near a Kleenex box and drinking orange juice from the carton.
Use these tips so you can feel like yourself, no matter what the germs going around try to inflict on you.
Part of the reason cold season thrives in the winter, besides the increased time inside and spreading of germs, is the dry air. Dry air can dry your mucous membranes, leading to a scratchy throat and stuffy nose. Invest in a humidifier to add moisture to the air, but make sure to clean and change the water as directed.
Fluids, Fluids, Fluids
There’s a reason everyone says it: “Drink your fluids!” When you get sick, your body demands more water. To avoid dehydration – and general discomfort – make sure to drink juice, water, Gatorade, and lemon water with honey. You should also avoid alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated sodas — sorry.
Your Family’s Miracle Cure
Almost every mother has one: a miracle cure to make her kid feel better, even when she’s not at the top of their game. At my house, it was bubbly juice: a combination of orange-pineapple juice and 7 Up. It was a special treat my parents would give me when I was battling a cold or flu, and to this day, it makes me feel a little better. So whether your mom used to give you a grape popsicle or a grilled cheese sandwich, make it for yourself and feel better. If you don't have one — go ahead and try mine.
Unlike your mom’s other at-home-cure-alls, with benefits that are usually psychosomatic, chicken soup will actually alleviate some of your symptoms. Chicken soup can speed up the movement of mucus, helping relieve congestion. It can also act as an anti-inflammatory.
Blow Your Nose, the Right Way
Did you know there’s a right – and wrong – way to blow your nose? Apparently, this is a thing. If you’re reaching for the tissues often, don’t blow too hard: Pressure can carry phlegm into your ear passages, which can lead to earaches. It’s important to blow your nose often during a cold, but the best way to do it is to press a finger on one nostril while you gently clear the other. Also, wash your hands afterwards.
Hey, the stats don’t lie: You should be getting more sleep. Sheldon Cohen, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said, “People who slept less than seven hours were about three times more likely to get a cold than people who slept eight hours or more a night." So get some shut-eye!
Take a Steamy Shower
The steam can moisturize your nasal passages, offering much-needed relief. It can also be quite relaxing. (And when you’re sick, it’s nice to feel clean, even if you’re still feeling icky.) If you’re feeling lightheaded or dizzy, feel free to run a steam shower while you sit on a chair nearby.
Sore throat? Gargle something. Popular options include a teaspoon of salt dissolved in water, tea that contains tannin, or a honey and apple cider vinegar combination.
Reread Your Favorite Book
Or re-watch your favorite film. Sure, it’s not medically proven, but we’re pretty sure that even with a cold, you’ll feel much better when you’re rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from the comfort of your bed.