You know it’s coming. You have the typical cold symptoms. The sore throat. The runny nose. The general feeling that something is just … off. You’re coming down with a nasty case of the common cold, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Or is there? If you take action quickly enough, you might be able to help your body stave off common cold symptoms like a runny nose or sore throat. Here are some tips on how to keep cold symptoms at bay before they really get going:
1. Stay Hydrated
One of the best things you can do when dealing with a cold or flu is to make sure you keep plenty of liquids in your system. This can help keep you from becoming dehydrated. The fluids also help loosen congestion – a common symptom of colds and other respiratory ailments. To stay hydrated, drink plenty of water, and add clear broth, hot tea, hot water with lemon, and juices to your daily intake. Try to stay away from sodas, coffee, and alcohol. These types of fluids could increase your risk for suffering from dehydration.1
2. Get Plenty of Sleep
It’s always important to get enough sleep each night. But it’s even more critical when it comes to the common cold. One study even shows that sleep might help you avoid catching a cold in the first place. More than 150 people participated in this study and received nasal drops designed to induce a cold. They were then quarantined in a hotel for a week. The people who slept six hours or less during this time were four times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept 7 hours or more each night.2
How is this possible? One potential reason is that your immune system produces proteins known as cytokines during sleep. There are certain types of cytokines you’ll need more of when you’re dealing with an infection, like a cold. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body can’t produce the cytokines you need to fight the infection.3
3. Grab Some Honey
If your cold includes a sore, scratchy throat – and the odds are good that it will – try adding some honey to some warm water. This should not only help soothe your scratchy throat, it might even help your cough.
4. Calm the Stress
Whenever your body comes under attack by a virus, your immune system goes into overdrive to fight off the unwanted visitor.4 However, stress can rob your immune system of the power it needs to completely do its job.5
If you feel that you’re coming down with a cold, try to find ways to relax. Whether that means walking around the neighborhood or listening to soothing music, find the time to calm down. That could be one of the best possible ways to fight off a cold.
5. Reach for the Soup – It’s Not a Myth
More than likely, when you had a cold as a child, your mom gave you some chicken soup to help you feel better. You might have thought that was just an old wives’ tale, and that chicken soup is more a comfort food than anything. Turns out, it might actually provide significant health benefits after all. Research indicates that chicken soup could help fend off cold symptoms in the upper respiratory system.6
6. Embrace Probiotics
Probiotics are “good” bacteria that help balance out the harmful microbes in your body. They’ve long been known to help improve digestive health.7 But a recent study suggests they could also help keep common cold symptoms at bay. According to the study, college students with a cold who took probiotic supplements experienced symptoms 34 percent less severe than others who did not take supplements. In addition, the probiotic group had symptoms for only four days, while the others suffered symptoms for six days.8
The next time you start getting a sore throat or a runny nose, don’t immediately assume you’re going to be laid up for a week with a cold. Remember that there are several things you can do to help your body get back to feeling its best as quickly as possible.
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