We all know the feeling: waking up in the middle of the night with our sinuses congested, head pounding, and throat throbbing. Coming down with a nasty cold is definitely not an enjoyable experience, but it is something that we routinely have to deal with. Thankfully there are a plethora of over-the-counter remedies, as well as home remedies, that can help us beat a cold fast while keeping our immune system healthy along the way.
- Hydrate or Die-drate
Besides rest, staying hydrated before and during a cold is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. A fever draws moisture from our bodies, plus the over the counter medicine we take to combat our symptoms can easily dry us out as well. Although the exact amount varies for everyone. the recommendation is to drink roughly eight 250mL cups of water per day. This will help ensure that your body is receiving the amount of water it needs. Other drinks such as decaffeinated tea or juice can help with draining the mucus from your sinuses as well.
- Rest Up
Often, the onset of a cold can be tied back to insufficient or improper sleep. Getting less than six hours of sleep on a nightly basis can have a severe impact on your immune system. Ignoring your body’s cries for sleep is something that we should avoid doing at all costs. That being said, “proper rest can boost your immune system to get you feeling better sooner. Sleep helps your body better fight infections that cause you to get sick, along with staying hydrated and taking medicine that helps with common cold symptoms.” Having a good sleep schedule gives your body more energy, control over your mood, and a profound boost to your productivity.
- Take your vitamins and minerals
Essential vitamins and minerals can have a profound effect on how your body combats being sick. Immuno-beneficial vitamins such as vitamin C and B12 can work with your immune system in expelling toxins from the body. These can be taken in either oral supplements or through IV treatment, which has quickly become a reliable method to help treat the symptoms of oncoming illness.
- Probiotic drinks
Though studies are limited, this method is thought to “modulate the immune system in healthy individuals and may help reduce symptoms related to respiratory infections.” The main ingredient in most probiotics —Lactobacillus—has been proven to lower the risk of developing cold symptoms by 12 percent and minimize sickness length from 8.6 to 6.2 days in adults. It is most beneficial for upper respiratory symptoms. You can find these drinks at any local grocery store, pharmacy, or superstore like Walmart or Target.
- Try over the counter cold and flu medicine
Over the counter (OTC) medicine can be a very beneficial way to fight off cold symptoms. But like any pharmaceutical, there are also various side effects such as drowsiness and nausea that can accompany it. It is best to stay hydrated while taking these medications as they tend to dry out your body, much like a fever would do. This could leave you feeling worse than before, but as long as you stay hydrated, this feeling shouldn’t occur. Notable cold and flu medicines include Mucinex, Tylenol, and the Nyquil/Dayquil combo.
Beating a cold can be a painstaking ordeal, but it doesn’t have to. Getting over a cold starts before you even start showing symptoms. Staying hydrated and well-rested are easy, cost-effective ways to strengthen your body and immune system. Additionally, daily vitamin supplements and probiotic drinks have been shown to strengthen your immune system and limit the severity of cold symptoms. If worse comes to worst, try over the counter (OTC) cold and flu medicine to give that cold the final blow.