The Best Ways to Feel Better With a Cold

The Best Ways to Feel Better With a Cold

A viral infection of your upper respiratory system, also known as a common cold or viral rhinitis, is usually harmless. More than one hundred different viruses can cause a cold, and therefore the symptoms differ. They can include sneezing, coughing, a sore throat, nasal congestion and a runny nose. There is no standard cure for a cold, but there are things you can do to help you feel your best while your symptoms wear off.

Decongestants, Antihistamines and Pain Medicine
Take medicine to ease cold symptoms. If you experience nasal congestion, an over-the-counter nasal decongestant opens your breathing passages and helps you breathe easier. Avoid using nasal decongestants longer than three days, because this can worsen your congestion. Use saline spray as an alternative. Nonprescription antihistamines can combat watery eyes and a runny nose. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease headaches and reduce fevers. Over-the-counter, multi-symptom medication is available for both daytime and nighttime use. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about the proper dosage and best medicine for your symptoms.

Cough and Sore Throat Medicine
Take an over-the counter cough medicine or cough syrup to reduce your cough, and loosen mucus so it is easier to cough up. Get a prescription-strength cough medicine from your doctor if commercial cough medicine is not effective. Suck on medicated throat lozenges to soothe the discomfort of a sore throat. Gargle with saltwater to ease your sore throat. Mix up to 1 tsp. of salt with 1 cup of warm water and gargle with the mixture.

Resting your body will help your recovery. Take time off from work, especially if you have a fever and experience heavy symptoms such as coughing and sneezing. Exposing others to your cold can result in contamination. When in public, cover up your mouth and nose with a mask, to keep spreading of the virus to a minimum. When sleeping, turn on a humidifier to moisten the air and soothe your breathing passages. Avoid overheating the room and aim for a comfortable warm temperature.

Drink Liquids
Dehydration makes your cold symptoms worse. Drink plenty of fluids while sick because mucus production uses up fluids. Consume juices, warm teas, water, broth and warm water with lemon juice. According to the Mayo Clinic, eating chicken soup during your cold inhibits your body's response to inflammation. It also promotes the mobility of mucus through your nasal passages, thereby relieving congestion.

Echinacea, Zinc, and Vitamin C
Take echinacea as soon as you feel a cold coming on, or experience cold symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, this herb supports the immune system, and helps prevent or shorten the duration of the cold. Vitamin C, taken in the early stages of a cold, has a similar effect. Take vitamin C in tablet or liquid form, or through consumption of foods such as oranges, green peppers, strawberries and grapefruit. Although not proven, zinc may be a good cold remedy. Because zinc has side effects, such as stomach upset, mouth irritations and a metallic taste in your mouth, avoid taking it longer than five days.