Employee Benefits

How to Beat a Cold

Mom with sick child

Watery eyes, sore throat, runny nose, achiness all over – looks like you may soon be dealing with a cold. Should you just give up and plan for days of blowing your nose, sneezing and coughing, or is it possible to fight back? Doctors at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, report that it is possible to beat a cold by engaging in symptom management, and they’ve provided 13 ideas on how to do it:

  1. Drink fluids – Drink at least one glass of water every hour as well as broths and hot tea; reduce consumption of beverages with caffeine or alcohol as these tend to dehydrate your body
  2. Relax in a hot shower – To open up the sinuses, take a hot, steamy shower and blow gently through each nostril; another option is to run hot water in a sink, drape a towel over your head, get close to the steam and breathe deeply
  3. Use an extra pillow – Often with a cold, it’s difficult to rest because you’re stuffed up and can’t breathe effectively; use an extra pillow to elevate your head and help your sinuses drain
  4. Take cold and sinus medications – Although over-the-counter medications won’t stop a cold, they will help relieve the symptoms, so it’s easier for your body to rest and recover
  5. Enjoy hot tea – Drinking hot tea is therapeutic; it makes your throat feel better and helps soothe your spirits
  6. Gargle with salt water – Salt helps kill germs, so mix some in a glass of warm water and gargle several times daily
  7. Dine on chicken soup – This long-standing home remedy is delicious and soothing to a body weary from battling a cold
  8. Care for your tender nose – A runny nose quickly becomes sore and dry after continuous use of even the softest tissues; use a little petroleum jelly to lubricate the skin
  9. Rest and relax – Indulge yourself with frequent naps and early bedtimes to give your body extra rest while it fights a cold
  10. Exercise gently – While your body is healing, skip intense workouts and opt for less strenuous activities; use lighter weights, run shorter distances or take a low-impact class; if exercising at a local fitness facility, remember to sanitize the equipment you use to avoid spreading germs
  11. Wash hands – Since your body’s natural germ-fighting resistance is compromised, avoiding picking up other germs, such as a flu virus, by regularly your washing hands or using hand sanitizer products; also wash your hands after covering a cough or blowing your nose
  12. Avoid antibiotics – Since a cold is a virus, avoid taking antibiotics, which are designed for bacterial infections
  13. Don’t purchase trendy cold products – There are many over-the-counter medications that promise quick relief from colds with extra doses of zinc or vitamin C; doctors at Johns Hopkins are not convinced these products are effective in shortening the longevity of your cold and recommend investing in those that deal with cold symptoms