Colds are infections of the upper respiratory tract: your nose and throat. They are caused by viruses. The most common symptoms of a cold are congestion, watery eyes, sore throat, cough, headache, and sneezing. These symptoms can be rather bothersome, but there are treatments that can help your symptoms and recovery. Most people recover from a cold within a week or two, but if your symptoms are prolonged you should see a doctor.
Part 1 of 3: Staying Hydrated
- Staying hydrated will help to relieve congestion.
- You will need to keep up your fluid intake while you are sick. Your body loses fluids during mucus production and from fevers.
- Try to drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.
- Hot drinks like herbal teas can help relieve the symptoms of a sore throat. The steam can help to reduce congestion temporarily as well.
- Sports drinks help you replace lost sodium and electrolytes.
- Ginger ale can help settle an upset stomach if you are experiencing that type of symptoms.
- Avoid drinks with caffeine and alcohol. These will cause further dehydration.
- Chicken broth can help to temporarily speed up the movement of mucus through the nose, relieving congestion.
- Chicken broth can also act as an anti-inflammatory, reducing the inflammation in the nasal passages which leads to congestion.
- You might try adding some cayenne pepper to the chicken broth. Spicy foods can also help to loosen up nasal congestion.
Part 2 of 3: Treating Cold Symptoms
- Common pain relievers are acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Follow the dosing instructions carefully.
- Don’t exceed the maximum dose in a 24 hour period.
- Don’t give acetaminophen to children under the age of 3 months old.
- Avoid giving aspirin to kids recovering from flu-like symptoms. This causes a minimal risk for Reye’s syndrome, a rare but life threatening condition.
- Avoid over medicating. Taking too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage.
- Decongestants work to relieve swelling in the nasal passages to allow mucus to drain.
- Decongestants come in pill form or in nasal sprays.
- Adults shouldn’t use decongestant nasal sprays for more than a few days at a time. Prolonged use can damage mucus membranes.
- Children shouldn’t use nasal sprays.
- Antihistamines may relieve sneezing and runny noses from colds.
- Antihistamines may cause drowsiness. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery until you know how they will affect you.
- Mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt into an 8 ounce glass of water.
- Use warm water.
- Gargle the water in the back of your throat. Repeat as necessary.
- Zinc treatments are only shown to be effective if started within the first 24 hours of symptoms.
- Studies are conflicting as to the extent of the benefits of zinc for reducing or shortening cold symptoms.
- Zinc nasal sprays should be avoided. The FDA has linked at least 3 of these products to permanent or prolonged loss of smell.
- If started at the onset of a cold, vitamin C might help to shorten the duration of a cold.
- However, vitamin C won’t help most people recover from a cold if started later.
Part 3 of 3: Getting Enough Rest
- Try to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep.
- This is especially important during the first 72 hours of a cold.
- Sleeping can be challenging when you have cold symptoms due to congestion.
- Try running a humidifier in the room while you sleep. This can help keep your nasal passages moist and prevent further congestion.
- You can also try drinking chamomile tea to help you sleep.
- Over the counter sleep aids and antihistamines can also make you drowsy and help you sleep.
- Withhold exercise for at least 48-72 hours.
- When you start exercise again, avoid intense workouts. Your body is just getting over a virus and needs to recuperate.
- While you are sick, it can be helpful to get fresh air though. Try sitting outside if the weather is warm and you don’t have allergies.
- If you have a fever or a cough, it is best to avoid exposure to others.
- If you are drowsy from medications, you should also stay home.
- If you must go to school or work consider wearing a mask to prevent infecting others, especially if you work with or are near people who have chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems.
Sources and Citations : http://www.wikihow.com/Recover-from-a-Cold