I’m feeling pretty miserable right now. I have a cold, which is never fun, but I’m also really tired because I probably only got a total of two hours of sleep last. Coughing and congestion make it hard to sleep. Once you’ve caught a cold there’s really not much you can do to make it go away faster, but you can help yourself feel a little better while it runs its course. Unfortunately, I know I’m in good company this time of year, so I’m sharing what I know to help when you have a cold.
- Rest: If you’re not feeling well, you’ll want to take it easy, and that actually helps your body focus its energy on fighting the cold virus. So don’t feel guilty about getting into bed with a book or a TV binge- you’re doing the right thing!
- Wash your hands: While you can’t make a cold go away, you can prevent catching one, or spreading yours around. The main way to do that is by washing your hands often. Wash every time you blow your nose or touch your face. Also, cough and sneeze into your elbow to avoid spraying germs.
- Drink hot liquids: Drinking in general is important when you have a cold because staying hydrated helps your body. Hot liquids are soothing, and they also help alleviate congestion.
- Hot or cold packs: Place heat or ice over your sinuses to help relieve pressure from inflammation.
- Elevate your head: Sleep with an extra pillow to help your nasal passages drain.
- Saline nasal spray: This breaks down mucus and cleans germs from your nose.
- Hot shower: It’s soothing and helps with congestion.
- Gargle: A cold often comes with a sore throat, too, and a salt water gargle will help that feel better.
- Honey: One or two teaspoons of honey can help ease a cough- some people say even better than over-the-counter cold syrups! Never give honey to babies under a year old.
The good news is that a typical cold usually only lasts for a week or so, and after the first two days you should start to feel better. If your cold lasts longer than that, check with your doctor, since you might have some other kind of infection that needs treatment. As for me, a hot shower, some hot soup, and my bed are sounding pretty good right about now! Try them yourself next time you get a cold.
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