Nearly everyone has experienced a severe cold. The symptoms of heavy congestion, coughing, fever, and sneezing are not dangerous in themselves, but they can lead to worsening problems such as bronchitis and sinus infections. It is wise to care for yourself as well as possible to relieve the symptoms and help your body recover faster.
Proper hydration is always important for good health, but when you have a cold, it’s even more so. A general rule is to drink eight 8-oz glasses of water each day, though some people may need more or less. Drinking plenty of fluids helps your body thin the mucus associated with a cold and reduce congestion. Your body will recover more quickly if you make sure to stay hydrated. Some cough and cold medicines such as expectorants work better when the body is fully hydrated. Liquid is great when you are sick, so make sure to drink plenty of it. Make sure to drink plenty of water and other hydrating liquids, but watch your alcohol and caffeine consumption as these substances can be dehydrating.
Use Supplements and Herbs
Taking extra vitamin C and zinc is definitely advisable when dealing with a severe cold or flu. Taking an extra multivitamin can also help give your system a boost when you are feeling down in the dumps. Other additional things, like echinacea and goldenseal can both boost the immune system and help the body get over colds faster than it can by itself. These can also be used as preventatives, as they boost the immune system whether an illness is present or not. Basically, they increase your cell’s lifespan so that your body does not have to make so many repairs to itself. When your cell life is increased, the body is able to get over illnesses much easier and more rapidly.
Drink Warm Liquids
Sipping warm drinks throughout the day is comforting to sore throats and can help with coughs as well. Drink herbal tea or warm soup. Some other drinks that can benefit someone suffering from a cold include juices, smoothies, and herbal preparations. A simple home remedy can be made from hot water, honey, lemon juice, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or ginger. This reduces coughing and soothes a sore throat. Again, limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption while you are suffering from a cold. You can also find many different kinds of herbal teas that are medicinal and are infused with soothing and repairing herbs that assist the body when experiencing sickness.
Control Temperature and Humidity
Dry air in the home can exacerbate cold symptoms by drying out the nasal passages and the throat. If your home humidity is low, try using a humidifier. There are many types of humidifier on the market, including steam vaporizers, impeller humidifiers, and ultrasonic humidifiers. The ideal humidity in the home is between 30 and 50 percent. It is also important to control the temperature in your home. Temperatures at either extreme can be detrimental to recovery. Make sure that you perform regular furnace maintenance and other needed HVAC upkeep. If the environment is too cold, patients may experience more discomfort from chills. If the home is too warm, the feverish patient may feel worse and lengthen recovery time.
Lastly, if the above comfort measures aren’t enough, treat your cold with over-the-counter remedies. Decongestants, cough suppressants, and expectorants can all be helpful, as well as pain and fever-reducing medications. Taking antibiotics for a cold will not help and can cause harm by promoting antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Make sure you get enough rest to fully recover. Take care of yourself the same way you would take care of a loved one who is suffering from a cold.
Take it Easy
Remember, when you are sick, you are not able to do the same things you normally can, so be sure to give yourself extra time to rest and relax. This is why most people park themselves on the couch or in bed when they are not feeling well. You must give your body time to repair itself when you are ill, otherwise it will take much longer for you to fully recover. Having a cold is no walk in the park, so when you know how to take care of yourself, it can make all the difference in the world. Ask friends or neighbors for help when you are sick, if you need it. Simple tasks, like shopping, running errands, and going to church can become much more burdensome when dealing with an illness.
Taking the time to recover may stave off secondary infections or bronchitis. If you are not feeling better within a week, or have any concerning symptoms such as wheezing or shortness of breath, call your doctor.