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Many of us have experienced that dreaded feeling of a cold coming on. Maybe it starts with a sore throat, or you feel a tickle in your nose. Whatever the symptoms may be, it’s important to act fast to stop the cold in its tracks.
There are plenty of remedies and tips out there for preventing colds or getting over them quickly, but what about when you feel one coming on? Here are some tried-and-true methods for stopping a cold in its early stages.
From natural remedies to over-the-counter medications, there are many ways to boost your immune system and keep the cold virus at bay. This article will explore some of the most effective ways to halt a cold in its tracks and get back to feeling your best.
Recognize the Symptoms
Fatigue and Headaches
When you feel a cold coming on, you may start to feel tired and sluggish. This is because your body is using energy to fight off the virus. You may also experience headaches, which can be a result of inflammation in your sinuses or throat.
Sore Throat and Runny Nose
A sore throat is a common symptom of a cold, and it can be caused by the inflammation of your throat tissues. You may also have a runny or stuffy nose, which is a result of your body’s attempt to flush out the virus.
Cough and Sneezing
As your body fights off the virus, you may experience a cough or sneezing. This is your body’s way of getting rid of any remaining virus in your system. The cough can be dry or productive, meaning it produces mucus. The sneezing can be frequent or sporadic.
Knowing the symptoms of a cold can help you take action to prevent it from getting worse. By recognizing the signs early, you can give your body the best chance of fighting off the virus.
The body needs rest to fight off infections, so it’s important to get plenty of rest when you feel a cold coming on. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night and try to take it easy during the day.
If you’re feeling tired, take a nap during the day, or even just lie down and rest for a few minutes. Avoid overexerting yourself and try to reduce stress as much as possible. Stress can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off colds and other infections.
When you’re feeling run down, it’s important to listen to your body and take the time you need to rest and recover. This will help you feel better faster and reduce the severity of your cold symptoms.
- Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night
- Take a nap or rest during the day
- Avoid overexerting yourself
- Reduce stress levels
Overall, getting enough rest is an important part of staying healthy and fighting off colds and other illnesses. Make sure to prioritize rest when you feel a cold coming on, and try to maintain good sleep habits even when you’re feeling well.
Increase Fluid Intake
One of the most effective ways to stop a cold from taking over your body is by increasing your fluid intake. By consuming more fluids, you can help to thin out the mucus in your nose and throat, making it easier to expel and decreasing the severity of your symptoms.
Water is always a great choice, but you can also try herbal tea, warm broth, or hot lemon water for added benefits. Avoid sugary or caffeinated beverages as these can dehydrate you and worsen your symptoms.
- Drink at least 8-10 glasses of fluid a day.
- Sip fluids throughout the day instead of guzzling them down all at once.
- If you’re finding it difficult to swallow, try sucking on ice chips or frozen fruit popsicles.
Increasing your fluid intake is a simple yet effective way to help your body fight off a cold and reduce the severity of your symptoms. Stay hydrated and give your body the support it needs to get back on track!
Gargle with Salt Water
One of the oldest and most effective remedies for a sore throat or a cold is gargling with warm salt water. Salt water has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that can help reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process.
To prepare the solution, add half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and stir well to dissolve. You can use regular table salt or sea salt.
Take a sip of the solution and tilt your head back so that the solution reaches the back of your throat. Gargle for about 30 seconds before spitting out the water. Repeat several times a day to ease symptoms and prevent the cold from spreading.
Note that gargling with salt water is generally safe, but you should always consult with your doctor if you have any medical conditions or if you are unsure about using this remedy.
Use Nasal Saline Rinse
If you feel a cold coming on, using a nasal saline rinse can help to relieve symptoms and prevent the cold from worsening. This is a simple and natural way to flush out your sinuses and relieve congestion.
How To Do A Nasal Saline Rinse
To do a nasal saline rinse, you will need a saline solution and a neti pot, squeeze bottle, or spray bottle. Here are the steps:
- Fill your neti pot, squeeze bottle, or spray bottle with the saline solution.
- Tilt your head to the side and pour the solution into the upper nostril.
- Allow the solution to flow out of the lower nostril or spit it out of your mouth.
- Repeat on the other side.
It’s important to use clean equipment and sterile saline solution to avoid introducing bacteria or viruses into your sinuses. You can buy pre-made saline solutions at drugstores or make your own at home with salt and distilled water.
Benefits of Nasal Saline Rinse
Nasal saline rinses are safe and effective for relieving nasal symptoms such as congestion, post-nasal drip, and sinus pressure. The saline solution helps to flush out mucus, allergens, and irritants from the nasal passages, allowing for easier breathing and a quicker recovery from cold symptoms.
Saline rinses can also help to prevent the recurrence of upper respiratory infections by keeping the nasal passages clean and moist.
Take Over-The-Counter Medications
One of the most common symptoms of a cold is congestion. Decongestants are medications that work by narrowing blood vessels in the nasal passages, reducing swelling and congestion. There are different types of decongestants available over-the-counter, such as pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. Be sure to read the label and follow the recommended dosage.
Cold symptoms can also include headaches, body aches and fever. Pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin can help relieve these symptoms. Be sure to read the label and follow the recommended dosage. Do not take aspirin if you are under 18 years of age, as it can cause a rare but serious condition called Reye’s syndrome.
Cough Suppressants and Expectorants
Coughing can be a bothersome symptom of a cold. Cough suppressants like dextromethorphan can help calm coughing. On the other hand, if you have a lot of mucus in your chest, expectorants like guaifenesin can help thin it out, making it easier to cough up. Be sure to read the label and follow the recommended dosage.
- Decongestants can help relieve congestion
- Pain relievers can alleviate headaches, body aches and fever
- Cough suppressants and expectorants can relieve coughing
Remember, always read the label and follow the recommended dosage. If you have any questions or concerns about over-the-counter medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Use Essential Oils
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are natural oils extracted from plants, flowers, and herbs. They are highly concentrated and have many therapeutic properties that can help prevent and manage cold symptoms.
Which essential oils are best for colds?
Some of the best essential oils for colds include:
- Eucalyptus oil: helps to clear nasal congestion and soothe coughs
- Peppermint oil: has a cooling effect that can relieve headaches and sinus pressure
- Tea tree oil: has antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help fight off infections
- Lavender oil: has calming properties that can help reduce stress and promote relaxation
- Thyme oil: has antiseptic properties that can help boost the immune system
How to use essential oils for colds?
There are several ways to use essential oils for colds:
- Add a few drops to a diffuser to create a healing and aromatic ambiance in your room
- Add a few drops to a hot bath to help soothe sore muscles and promote relaxation
- Add a few drops to a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) and massage onto the chest, back, and feet to help ease congestion and coughing
- Add a few drops to a bowl of boiling water, drape a towel over your head, and inhale deeply for a few minutes to help open up the sinuses and reduce congestion
Remember to always follow the instructions on the label and dilute essential oils properly before using them topically. Also, if you are pregnant, nursing, or have any medical conditions, consult your healthcare provider before using essential oils.
Avoid Exposure to Irritants
When it comes to avoiding a cold, one of the most important things to do is to stay away from irritants that can weaken your immune system and make you more likely to catch a cold.
If you’re a smoker, it’s time to quit or at least reduce your smoking habits. Smoking cigarettes weakens your immune system and makes you more prone to catching a cold. Secondhand smoke can also be an irritant that can make you more susceptible to getting sick.
Avoid Alcohol and Other Toxins
Exposure to alcohol and other toxins can also make you more susceptible to getting a cold. Avoid over-consumption of alcohol and exposure to other toxins like pollution and chemicals.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
Frequent hand washing is essential for keeping illness at bay by decreasing the amount of germs on your hands. Make sure to wash your hands before preparing or eating food, after using the bathroom, or after being in public areas.
Use a mask
If you’re in an environment with lots of irritants, such as a construction site or in a city with bad pollution, consider wearing a mask to protect your respiratory system.
Keep Your Hands Clean
One of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of germs and viruses is to keep your hands clean. This is especially important when you feel a cold coming on, as the virus is highly contagious at this stage.
Make sure to wash your hands frequently throughout the day, especially after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Use soap and warm water, and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Look for a product that contains at least 60% alcohol. Apply enough to coat your hands, and rub them together until the sanitizer is dry.
Be mindful of the things you touch throughout the day, and try to avoid touching your face as much as possible. Viruses can enter your body through your eyes, nose, and mouth, so it’s important to keep your hands away from these areas.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available
- Avoid touching your face
Why it’s important
When you feel a cold coming on, it’s important to keep your body warm. Cold temperatures can weaken your immune system and make it more difficult for your body to fight off the virus.
Keeping warm can also help alleviate some of the symptoms of a cold, such as congestion and headaches.
How to stay warm
- Dress warmly: Wear layers of clothing and make sure to bundle up when you go outside
- Stay indoors: Try to limit your exposure to cold temperatures by staying inside as much as possible
- Drink warm liquids: Sipping on warm tea or soup can help keep you warm from the inside out
- Use a heating pad: If you’re feeling particularly chilly, use a heating pad or hot water bottle to warm up
While it’s important to stay warm, be careful not to overdo it. Overheating can cause sweating, which can lead to dehydration and actually weaken your immune system even further.
Make sure to take breaks from any heating sources and remove layers of clothing if you start to feel too warm.
Eat Nutritious Foods
One of the most effective ways to prevent a cold is to maintain a healthy diet. Eating nutritious foods will give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to fight off illnesses. Foods that are high in Vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, and broccoli, can help boost your immune system.
Garlic is another food that has been linked to fighting colds. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties can help protect you from getting sick. Yogurt is also a great food to incorporate into your diet as it contains probiotics, which can improve your gut health and boost your immune system.
When you feel a cold coming on, it’s important to continue eating a nutritious diet. Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal tea, and warm soup, will also help flush out any toxins in your body and keep you hydrated. Avoid sugary and processed foods as they can weaken your immune system and make it harder for your body to fight off a cold.
- Focus on eating fruits and vegetables that are high in Vitamin C
- Incorporate garlic and yogurt into your diet
- Avoid sugary and processed foods
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
Consult a Doctor
When should you consult a doctor?
If your symptoms are severe, persistent or worsening, it may be time to consult a doctor. Symptoms such as high fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain or cough that produces thick and discolored mucus may indicate a more serious infection or complication.
Also, if you have a weakened immune system, such as those with HIV, cancer or undergoing chemotherapy, it is important to consult a doctor at the first sign of a cold.
What can a doctor do?
A doctor can provide a proper diagnosis and prescribe medication if necessary. They may also recommend over-the-counter medications or natural remedies to help alleviate symptoms.
If you have a more serious condition, a doctor can monitor your symptoms and provide appropriate treatment to prevent complications from arising.
Tips for visiting a doctor during cold and flu season
- Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading the infection to others.
- Wear a mask to protect others if you do have to go out.
- Don’t touch your face or mouth while in the waiting room.
- Practice good hand hygiene and use hand sanitizer frequently.
- Inform the doctor of any recent travel history or contact with someone who has been sick.
- Follow the doctor’s instructions for treatment and prevention to help avoid getting sick again.
Questions and Answers:
What is a good natural remedy for a cold?
One good natural remedy for a cold is drinking plenty of fluids, especially warm ones like tea with honey and lemon. Other remedies include using a salt water gargle, taking vitamin C, and getting plenty of rest.
Can exercise help prevent or cure a cold?
Moderate exercise can actually help boost your immune system and prevent a cold. However, if you already have a cold, it’s best to rest rather than exercise, as exercising can actually make your symptoms worse.
What foods should I avoid when I have a cold?
When you have a cold, it’s best to avoid foods that can increase inflammation in the body, such as processed foods, sugar, and alcohol. It’s also a good idea to avoid dairy products, as they can increase mucus production.