Health & Fitness

How to treat a cold


Since there is no cure for the common cold, that is flue or cough treatment has two goals: to make you feel better and to help you fight off the virus.

Lots of rest is the key treating a cold.

You may find you need 12 hours of sleep each night, so don’t set that alarm. You’ll be most comfortable in a warm, humid environment. It’s also important to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. This makes mucus flow more freely and helps with congestion.

Gargle water.

If your throat is sore, gargle as often as you like with salt water (1/2 teaspoon salt in 1 cup water).

Think twice before using heavily advertised over-the-counter cold and flu medications, which likely contain drugs for symptoms you don’t have and therefore may result in needless over treatment. The FDA and manufacturers now say that over-the-counter cough and cold drugs should not be given to children under age 4.

Over-the-counter decongestants containing pseudo ephedrine can help dry and clear nasal passages, but only temporarily. Decongestant nasal sprays can help, too, but if they’re used for more than three to five days, they may cause a “rebound” effect. This means more mucus and worse congestion. Pseudo-ephedrine may increase blood pressure and heart rate. Do not take it without first checking with a doctor if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, prostate problems, diabetes, or thyroid problems.

Blow your nose often

It’s important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head. But when you blow hard, pressure can cause an earache. The best way to blow your nose: Press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other. Wash your hands after blowing your nose.

Drink hot liquids

Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion, help prevent dehydration, and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat.

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