So you got cold? If you are a working professional, you may have a co-worker who is sneezing incessantly. Or at least 10 times a minute! If you take the bus to college or to school every day then there must be a co-passenger coughing into the open, without a handkerchief covering his/her mouth. Eventually, you all have a common enemy – the common cold!
Sadly, the first cold of the season has hit you and you are probably going to spend the next few days under its spell. But don’t give up as yet. Fight back! Consulting a General Physician may help give some relief, but you know the symptoms too well by now: Be it the sinus pressure, the unstoppable sneezing or the vehement tickle on the back of your throat. Here’s your battle plan!
The good old-fashioned advice – “drink lots and lots of fluids” is actually never out of fashion. You must have heard it since you had your first cold, and your General Physician would also advise you to do so. Drink at least a glass of water every two hours. Drinking water will not only thin congestion, it will also keep your throat moist which can prevent the cough. However, it is advisable to avoid colas, coffee and alcohol as they dehydrate. If you can’t give up on them completely, try to cut back on the intake.
Draw a hot, steamy shower:
A nice, long, hot shower does wonders to you on days you are having a cold. The steam from the hot shower can break the congestion and give instant relief to your runny nose. It helps in opening up your sinus passages and promotes drainage. You can also breathe in that hot, moist air by draping a towel over your head and steaming the hot water from a vessel. Taking steam is the first thing a General Physician would tell you to do.
Time for some extra pillows:
So, instead of lying awake in your bed because you can’t breathe, use some extra pillows to raise your head higher. Unless you do that, your body weight will gravitate to your sinuses and you won’t be able to sleep. “Sleeping with extra pillows will help your nasal passages stay more open,” suggests a well known General Physician.
Some medicines may not completely kill the virus at a go, but they will help nullify the symptoms. Antihistamines may help reduce excessive sneezing and watery-eyes. Various saline nasal solutions may help people with dry noses. But try avoiding antibiotics because common cold is caused by virus and antibiotics treat bacterial infection.
Sip on hot beverages:
Remember the itchy feeling on the back of your throat we talked about? Nothing eases this better than a piping hot drink. Sipping on a cup of hot tea, or enjoying a bowl of broth is not only a tasty way to hydrate oneself, but also brings some calming relief from the cold. Like water, these hot drinks will also thin the congestion.
Gargle salt water:
One advise that a General Physician would always love to give you. Not a very tasty way, but gargling helps in giving you the much needed relief during your cold. Add half a tablespoon of salt in one glass of warm water. It thins congestion and draws the extra fluid from the inflamed tissues while removing the allergens and fungi from your throat.
Get some rest:
Fatigue is a part and parcel of cold. If you have long been planning to go to bed early, now should be the time. When we are sick, our body needs to divert all resources towards the immune system for fighting the illness. So, staying home and keeping warm can make the body’s immune battle easier.
So, whatever your co-worker did to you by not covering his/her mouth while coughing, you must not do it to others. And also be careful about not picking up anybody’s flu virus on top of your cold. Wash your hands frequently, cover your coughs and sneezes, and sanitize your surroundings.
These tips are inexpensive and old school, but they always work. So, this season, wear your safety measures and fight the cold and flu!