Nothing can knock you down like the common cold. Though there is technically no cure for it, you can get over one quickly by addressing your worst symptoms.
Winter is here, and with it comes waves of coughing, sneezing, and all-around ickiness. The best way to combat a cold is to stay home and work on getting over it as soon as possible. Once you spot the warning signs -- a sore throat, a sporadic coughing fit, or sneezing -- call in sick and try some of these remedies.
Rest and Relaxation
Trust me, your co-workers will thank you for staying home. Telecommute if you must, but your body needs a chance to fight off what's going on when you get sick. Try your best to make a cozy nest where you can nap, relax, and nap again.
Banish that sore throat
Gargling with warm, salty water will help soothe a sore throat really quickly. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into a mug of warm water and gargle with it (in the back of your throat, not just in your mouth) every hour. Believe it or not, proper use of a neti pot will also help keep your sore throat at bay. By rinsing out your sinuses, you are avoiding post-nasal drip which can cause that annoying tickle in your throat and subsequent coughing fits. Tea with lemon and honey will also coat your throat for some relief -- just make sure it's herbal tea!
Take a deep breath
If you're congested and having a hard time breathing, use everything your mom would. Slather Vick's Vapor Rub on your chest, dab some Tiger Balm under your nose, and put a few drops of essential oil in a warmer near your bed. If all else fails, eat a bowl of really spicy ramen noodles to open up those nasal passages. A long, hot shower will also do wonders.
Chug, chug, chug!
Staying hydrated is not easy when all you want to do is sleep and be cranky. That said, it will make you feel much much better. Keep some popsicles on hand to do double duty against a sore throat. Drink plenty of warm water, non-caffeinated tea, and broth-based soups. Make big bowls of Jell-o and snack on water-rich fruits and veggies like watermelon, berries, and cucumber slices.
Try to have getting-over-a-cold supplies on hand: tissues with lotion in them, over-the-counter medications, Vick's Vapor Rub, Tiger Balm, a neti pot, cough drops, and a thermometer are the basics in our house. Keep a record of any fevers over 100 degrees or weird symptoms that come up.
If you have a raging cold for longer than three to six days, try going to a doctor or walk-in clinic just in case it's something more serious.
To read more about how to get over a cold, take a look at the Mayo Clinic web page devoted to this topic.
Do you have a no-fail home remedy for the common cold? Share it in the comments below!