You may not be able to cure your common cold, but you can make
yourself as comfortable as possible. These tips may help:
Drink lots of fluids. Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon
water are all good choices. They help replace fluids lost during
mucus production or fever. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which
can cause dehydration, and cigarette smoke, which can
aggravate your symptoms.
Try chicken soup. Generations of parents have spooned chicken
soup into their sick children's mouths. Now scientists have put
chicken soup to the test, discovering that it does seem to help
relieve cold and flu symptoms in two ways. First, it acts as an
anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the movement of neutrophils —
immune system cells that help the body's response to
inflammation. Second, it temporarily speeds up the movement of
mucus through the nose, helping relieve congestion and limiting
the time viruses are in contact with the nasal lining.
Get some rest. If possible, stay home from work or school if you
have a fever or a bad cough or are drowsy after taking
medications. This will give you a chance to rest as well as
reduce the chances that you'll infect others. Wear a mask when
you have a cold if you live or work with someone with a chronic
disease or compromised immune system.
Adjust your room's temperature and humidity. Keep your room
warm, but not overheated. If the air is dry, a cool-mist humidifier
or vaporizer can moisten the air and help ease congestion and
coughing. Be sure to keep the humidifier clean to prevent the
growth of bacteria and molds.
Soothe your throat. A saltwater gargle — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water — can
temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat.
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