Although colds aren’t actually caused by cold temperatures, they are more common in winter. Whenever a cold strikes, it can sap your strength, cloud your mind, and leave you feeling miserable.
Sneezing, coughing, congestion, sinus pressure, sore throat… There’s still no cure for the common cold, but you can treat the symptoms and feel better faster.
Get Plenty of Rest
With our busy lives, it’s sometimes hard to slow down. But you need more rest when you have a cold so your body has the energy to heal.
Drink Lots of Fluids
Water, herbal teas, and fruit juices will keep you hydrated while helping to loosen congestion. Add a little honey to soothe your throat and possibly ease coughing. (Note that honey is not safe for children under one year old.)
Keep the Air Moist
If the air in your home is dry, use a cold-mist humidifier to add moisture to the air. It may help soothe irritated sinuses and help prevent reinfection.
Gargle with Warm Saltwater
If your cold symptoms include a sore throat, gargling a few times a day with warm saltwater may ease inflammation and help you feel better.
Use Saline Nasal Drops or Saline Irrigation
Saline nasal drops or irrigation may help ease decongestion and reduce sinus inflammation, making it easier to breathe through your nose.
Over-the-Counter Cold Medicines
Over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicines can help ease cough and cold symptoms. Children under the age of 4 years old should not take OTC cold medicines, unless directed by your doctor. For children 4 years and older, discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor.
Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Pain relievers can help ease the aches and soreness of a cold. Many OTC cold medicines include some form of pain reliever, so be careful not to double-up by taking pain relievers in combination with cold medicines that contain them. Children under 6 months old should only take children’s dose acetaminophen. Children 6 months and up can take appropriately dosed acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Only adults should take aspirin, which can increase the risk of Reye’s Syndrome in children.
Give It Some Time
The only real cure for a cold is time. Colds are caused by what’s called a “self-limiting” viral infection: it will usually run its course and go away on its own. However, the CDC advises that you contact your doctor right away if your cold lasts more than 10 days, if you have a high fever (or a low-grade fever that lasts more than 4 days), if you have trouble breathing, or if your symptoms return and get worse. Also contact your doctor if you have any other symptoms that concern you, or if you’re just not sure what to do. When in doubt, call and put your mind at ease.
Don’t Suffer in Silence
If you’re suffering from a cold and want some advice, call your United Physician Group doctor for help.