Ways to Beat a Winter Cold Fast
No one ever really has time for a cold ever, but coming down with a bug during the holiday season can be particularly inconvenient. Preventing a cold is obviously the best way to handle one, but once they set in the key is to get rid of as many symptoms as possible and make sure that it doesn’t progress into anything further. Here are tips for feeling better right away and beating that cold into submission.
When you wake up with a cold it’s tempting to not move at all, but taking a warm shower will help loosen your muscles and any congestion you’re working with. You might have heard that steaming is good for the sinuses, and a shower is the easiest and most convenient way to do it.
Whether or not you have a normal appetite with a cold, eating nutritiously is important for a speedy recovery. This means keeping things unprocessed and as natural as possible, with protein and some antioxidants thrown in for good measure.
Think a breakfast of whole grain oats with blueberries, as opposed to a sugary cereal. Sugar causes inflammation and stress in the body and actually reduce your body’s ability to fight infection. Feed your body what it needs, fuel, not fire.
Spicy food can be a good choice for cold dining, because not only will you have a better chance of tasting your meal through your stuffed nose, but things like chili pepper, garlic, and ginger have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that actually kill germs.
Don’t through out the suggestion of eating chicken soup either, that exists for a reason. For one thing, any hot liquids are going to help soothe and expel mucous from the body. For another, protein from the chicken is key for keeping the immune system up during sickness. And lastly, some studies have shown that the mixture of what’s in chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties and causes less cells to congregate (and irritate) in the lung area. Just go with it, it’s delicious anyway.
Neti pots are strange, very old, and very effective contraptions for clearing out your sinuses. Basically the pot is filled with warm salt water and prepared for you to pour it through each nostril and out the other. In doing so, all kinds of freaky stuff will come out. So much sometimes, that you’ll be amazed that your face can hold so much gunk. The upsides to doing this are obviously to release the current state of your stuffy nose, but also to get oxygen into the air to clean things up and prevent a sinus infection from forming. Once you get to a sinus infection antibiotics are usually brought in, so keeping your sinuses clear can help prevent a trip to the doctor and more sick days.
A cold is the perfect excuse to lounge around and watch Breaking Bad reruns, but when you’re done with that get up and move your body. Exercise is fine with a cold as long as you don’t have a fever, a bad cough, or a racing heart rate. Sweating it out a bit can actually boost your immune system and lift your mood to help you feel better in the meantime. Just be sure and listen to your body to avoid overexertion, which can have the opposite effect on your healing process. A bit of exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block also might help you sleep better, which you should be doing plenty of when you’re feeling under the weather.
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About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.