Autumn leaves bring with them the promise of winter, and along with that the delightful promise of seasonal illnesses. It is coming up to the season of colds and with the average adult catching three per year, each lasting around nine days (three day for it to fully develop, three days of full on symptoms and three for it to leave) it all adds up to a significant amount of time feeling rotten.
Whilst it is true that you will simply have to grin and bear it until it goes away as there is no way to cure a cold, there are some things you can do to lessen the duration of your illness and ease your symptoms in the process. Here are some things you should be doing to get rid of a cold and feel fit as a fiddle as soon as possible.
Lots of rest
Unless it is absolutely unavoidable, it’s a good idea to take a day off work if you’re feeling truly terrible. Exhausting yourself with a stressful day of work will only make you feel worse and not getting enough rest may even lengthen the duration of your cold. It is also fairly anti-social to risk infecting your colleagues- you’re at your most contagious during the first few days.
Ensuring that you get plenty of sleep will give your body time to fight off the virus and recover. It can also provide a few hours of blessed relief from your symptoms.
Whilst some colds are little more than a mild sniffle and allow you to go about your business almost as usual, some strains of the virus can leave you feeling more like you have the flu. If yours is the latter case then a duvet day is not only justifiable but very much recommended.
Lots of fluids
When you have a cold you are losing fluids through sweating if you have a fever and through copious amounts of nose blowing and coughing. Your body is trying to expel the virus by bringing it out in mucus and it is important to replace lost fluids by drinking enough water. Staying well hydrated will also help you to feel less congested by loosening mucus.
Avoid too much caffeine which can be dehydrating and instead opt for herbal teas which have the added benefit of soothing sore throat pain. Try camomile tea mixed with a teaspoonful of manuka honey for a deliciously soothing cuppa.
Pain killers don’t help to actually fight the cold, but they do help the symptoms. Of course you should try to consider natural remedies first (such as Echinacea), but if you are really suffering, pain killers can bring down your temperature and ease aches and pains.
Be sure to double check whether any cold remedies you are taking contain the painkiller (many do) to ensure that you aren’t accidentally overdosing. Overdoing it can make you feel worse in the long run.
Strenuous exercise whilst you have a cold is a bad idea. It can make you feel much worse and putting strain on the body when it is already run down may even lengthen the duration of your illness. To ensure your cold goes as soon as possible, look after yourself by resting.
When the feel the first niggles of a cold coming on, take some vitamin C. When taken a few days before a cold fully develops, it can help to stave it off or shorten its duration by a day or so.
Vitamin C has been proven to improve immune function so if you’re hoping to be rid of your cold ASAP, take a supplement, either in tablet form, in a multivitamin or dissolved in water. In addition to supplements, eating some real fruit is also a good idea!
Of course, if you are not getting enough vitamin C then you are more likely to catch a cold in the first place, so if you are frequently feeling under the weather, consider looking at your diet! Prevention is better than a cure.
Taking 50mg of zinc per day within the first twenty-four hours of the appearance of cold symptoms can reduce the duration of your illness and help to alleviate symptoms.
The amount by which you can decrease the length of your cold is disputed. The consensus is that it’s one day on average but some studies have found it to be longer, notably one in 2008 which found that cold duration could be cut in half from eight days to four.
If you look after yourself, rest, stay well hydrated and get on that vit. C and zinc you’ll be back on your feet in no time.
A Word From Your Mother!
There is no cure for a cold other than time, but having a healthy immune system will do wonders for preventing future colds and improving recovery times. All of the above are mostly going to help you to recover faster or just treat the symptoms.
If you want to avoid the next cold all together, here are some parting tips:
· Eating a healthy diet with lots of fruit and veg
· Consider taking a vitamin supplement each day
· Start exercising regularly (once you have recovered)Author profile
Jesse Andrews: works for Sevenseas (visit the website to learn more) and hates being ill. What he likes to do best is spending time outdoors, walking and climbing and being healthy. He likes to write about living a healthy lifestyle and keeping his body at its best. Thanks for reading, and get well soon!