The runny nose, the sniffling, the sneezing, the coughing — We call it the common cold, but its symptoms can vary.
No cold treatment is one-size-fits-all. Although any cold tends to make us miserable, one might leave you feeling congested while another brings on an incessant cough. Fortunately, focusing on your symptoms can provide relief.
Focus on Relief
There are easy ways to find relief by focusing on your individual symptoms. For instance, if you have a dry cough, a cough suppressant, cough drops or lozenges can block your cough reflex. (Naturally, you should consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication or herbal remedy to ensure your safety.) Here are some other tips:
- If you’re experiencing mucus or phlegm in your air passages, an expectorant will help get it out of your system quicker.
- Although annoying, a runny nose and sneezing both allow the cold virus to leave your body sooner. Blow your nose gently, and comfort yourself with aspirin or acetaminophen.
- If your nose is stuffy or blocked, a decongestant, nose drops or spray can help. If these options aren’t feasible, using a saline spray, saline drops, a humidifier or a vaporizer can improve breathing by moistening nasal passages.
- Gargling with a mixture of warm water and salt can soothe a sore throat.
On the Mend
Antibiotics are not effective for most colds, which are viral infections. Protect others in your household by washing your hands frequently, and keep common surfaces such as doorknobs clean by wiping them with soap and water or alcohol.
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated (try soups and fresh juices instead of sweet and caffeinated beverages). Hot liquids in particular relieve nasal congestion and soothe inflamed membranes.
- Avoid milk and dairy products, which trigger the body’s production of mucus.
- Research shows that taking vitamin C or zinc can speed up your recovery.
- Get adequate rest, and reduce your stress to allow your body to recuperate.
If your symptoms don’t improve, seek help. If you need to find a doctor or have a healthcare question, try our free Consult-a-Nurse® service 24 hours a day at (888) 741-5119.