5 Surefire Ways To Stop A Cold In Its Tracks!

November 2013


We've all felt it... a tickle in your throat, an achy body. Yep, you’re coming down with something. But you don’t have to surrender.

Here’s how to stop a cold before it takes hold — and feel better fast.

1. As soon as you feel symptoms…

• Start drinking water or juice. Staying hydrated cuts down on symptoms like a sore throat and stuffy nose.
• Gargle with salt water. To combat a scratchy throat, swish with half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. This clears away mucus and other irritants.
• Keep your nose clean. Using a saline nasal spray right after cold symptoms appear may reduce their impact, studies suggest.

2. Within the first two hours

• Head to the drugstore. Grab a pain reliever such as acetaminophen to fight off achiness. Over-the-counter allergy meds, like Benadryl and Zyrtec, help with a runny nose, watery eyes and similar symptoms. Zinc lozenges, if taken within 24 hours of the first sign of trouble, can shorten the length of a cold by a day. But no need for OTC cough medicine—good old-fashioned honey works just as well (and tastes better).

3. During the next six hours

• Skip work if you can. Your body can fight off the virus better if you’re rested.
• Don’t forget the fluids. Keep drinking plenty of water, juice or tea—and have chicken soup for lunch. Grandma’s cure-all really does ease cold symptoms, research suggests.
• Shake it off. If you’re up for a little activity, light exercise can actually boost the immune system. Just keep your heart rate under 100.

4. At the end of the day

• Last chance for germ-fighting. A healthy diet can help fuel the immune system, so choose a dinner that includes protein-packed foods like lean meat, fish or beans, with a whole-grain side like brown rice and plenty of antioxidant-rich vegetables. Take a hot shower before bed; the warm moisture will help clear your nasal passages. Then try to get a good night’s sleep.

5. The next morning

• Still ailing? If you feel significantly worse, or if you have a fever, start vomiting or develop an increasingly bad headache, call your doctor. These are signs you’ve got something other than the common cold (such as a flu or infection), which may mean you need antiviral medication, antibiotics or other treatment. Otherwise, keep up the whole routine for the next few days, just to be sure you kicked that cold for good.

Psst! Make sleep a priority. People who get less than seven hours of shut-eye per night are nearly three times more likely to catch a cold than those who clock eight or more hours, according to research from Carnegie Mellon University.


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