Nothing is worse than getting a cold right before the holidays, a getaway weekend, or a week of important business meetings. If you’re noticing the first signs of a cold approaching, it’s time to fight it with full force. Here are some helpful tips:
- See a Doctor
In theory, you know that it’s a good idea to see a doctor when you’re feeling sick. But when you’ve got a stuffy nose, headache, and sore throat, it’s the last thing you want to do. You also know how much it costs, so you’d prefer to lay on the sofa and binge-watch your favorite show on Netflix.
But what if you could see the doctor from your sofa without having to fork over a steep insurance copayment? With on-demand video visits, you can. Providers like Rush University Medical Center offer video appointments for just $49. They can even send prescriptions directly to your pharmacy.
- Take Vitamin C and Zinc
While over-the-counter medications can make you feel better, they’re just masking symptoms. What you need are vitamins, nutrients, and supplements that actually attack the cold virus and help you heal.
“Taking a vitamin C supplement isn’t likely to prevent a cold. However, studies show that it may reduce the duration of colds,” Healthline explains. “A 2013 review of studies noted that regular supplementation (1 to 2 grams daily) reduced the duration of a cold in adults by 8 percent and in children by 14 percent. It also reduced the severity of colds overall.”
Zinc is another good supplement to reach for. Healthline points to a study that suggests zinc lozenges could possibly shorten cold duration by 33 percent.
- Try Black Elderberry Syrup
Have you ever tried black elderberry syrup? It’s not cheap, but people have sworn by it for decades. (Important note: Elderberry syrup and raw elderberries/seeds/bark aren’t the same thing. The latter can be toxic. The former is a cooked and concentrated liquid that’s safe for consumption.)
- Take an Epsom Salt Bath
A cold takes a toll on your body. A relaxing Epsom bath can help soothe the symptoms and actively reduce inflammation.
The beauty of Epsom salts is that they’re packed with magnesium. Combined with warm water, this puts muscles and joints at ease. You’ll feel immediate relief, and will also give your body a chance to jumpstart the recovery process.
- Get Some Exercise
Exercising is the last thing you want to do when you have a cold, but it may be the best option. Research shows that regular moderate-intensity exercise has the ability to boost your immune system and cut the risk of catch a cold in half. It may also help you get over a cold quicker. Try 30 minutes of walking, jogging, or yoga.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
If you’re going to exercise, you better get some sleep. In fact, rest is arguably the best thing you can do to overcome a cold.
Try getting a minimum of 10 hours of sleep when you have a cold. This should include at least one eight-hour stretch at night.
- Drink Lots of Fluids
“A fever draws moisture out of your body,” WebMD explains. “Plus, you lose fluid as your body makes mucus and it drains away. And that over-the-counter cold medicine you’re taking to dry up your head can dry the rest of you out, too.”
Intuitively, you know that it’s important to drink lots of fluids when you’re sick. Yet water is often the last thing you want (especially with a sore throat). It’s important that you fight through and drink as much water as you can. It’ll replenish your body and help it fight off the sickness.
Put Your Health First
It’s cold and flu season, which means we’re all susceptible to contracting the sniffles (or worse). However, there are things you can do to lower your risk of getting sick in the first place. By adopting a healthy lifestyle – and avoiding over-exposure to germs – you can make this year your healthiest year yet.
Don’t wait until you get sick to start thinking about your health. Now’s the time to proactively address these issues. Good luck!