5 Tips to Calm the Common Cold

Oh, the common cold–such misery we learn to live through! Wouldn’t it be great to never catch a cold?! While getting chilled or wet doesn’t cause colds, there are factors that make you more susceptible to catching a cold virus. For instance, you are more likely to get a cold if you are over-fatigued, stressed out, or have allergies with nose and throat symptoms.

I remember as a kid a cold wouldn’t even slow me down. Now, a cold inspires the deep desire to disappear in bed for several days. The truth is that although it takes a week for most people to feel better from a cold, cold symptoms can fade in as little as two days. By following these five tips, you can often decrease the longevity of your symptoms.

1. Know Your Cold
One reason your cold may be overstaying its welcome is that it may not be a cold! Many people believe that they’ve been suffering with a cold for a few weeks, and don’t realize that they aren’t getting better because they’ve been treating the wrong illness.

Sinus infection, which often develops after a cold, can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in the early stages of infection. With a sinus infection, you’re more likely to experience facial pain, a headache, fever, and green or yellow nasal discharge as opposed to clear.

Allergies are also commonly confused with a cold–but there are a few ways to tell the difference between the two. Cold symptoms typically work from the neck up, and they usually peak after a few days. While allergies can manifest as a low-grade, persistent set of symptoms. Both allergies and colds can cause a cough, runny nose and sneezing, but they split paths at muscle aches, fatigue, and decreased appetite–which are all more typical of a cold than allergies.

2. Sleep Tight
Our immune systems need sleep. A study published earlier this year in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that people who got less than seven hours of sleep per night were nearly three times more likely to catch a cold than were people who slept for eight hours or more! Once the cold virus has made itself at home inside your body, it will take longer for it to clear up if you don’t get enough rest.

3. Drink Up
Fluids play an integral part in your healing process as well. If your cold won’t go away, drink more water–by drinking extra water when you’re sick, you help to flush congestion out of your system. Not enough fluids can cause discomfort and dehydration, particularly because your hydration requirement increase when you’re sick because of drainage. In some circumstances, a lack of fluids in your system might contribute to prolonging your symptoms.

4. Resist Excess Drying Medicine
Decongestants and other drying medications may make work and sleeping easier, but too much removes the moisture from your system, which then makes it more difficult for the body to drain what it needs to drain. Also, using a decongestant nasal spray for more than three or four days can cause a medication tolerance to build up. And…taking too many oral decongestants can cause jitters, tremors, elevated blood pressure, and constipation–the last things you need on top of a cold.

5. Take it Easy with Exercise
I’m victim of wanting to stick with my running routine when I’m sick–I always think it will help me–but the truth is that exercising at a high level may interfere with immunity. Experts suggest exercising at a low level, but not to over exert yourself; take a walk, but save the five-mile run for when you’ve recuperated.

I know people who swear by echinacea, zinc, vitamin C, you name it. What are your tried and true methods for hastening the end of a cold?


DJ M3 years ago

thanks for the tips

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe6 years ago

We started taking Echinacea and Vitimin C about 4 years ago at a recommendation of my niece. I have had 2 colds in that time. I used to get about 4 bad ones a year.

Rob M.
Rob Marchant7 years ago

To hell with the common cold! http://www.liquidfoxdesigns.com

pat B.
pat B7 years ago

Thanks ! I am still trying to decide if I have a cold or allergy/ sinus attack .

Eva Orta
Eva O8 years ago

Thank you, both for writing this article and thank you, all the people who took the time to write all this insightful comments! Very informational!

Karina P.
Karina P8 years ago

Thank you!

Allies R.
Allies R.9 years ago

The herb adrographis has been defined by clinical studies as being the most effective natural therapy for reducing severity and length of viral illnesses. Therapy can be optimized even further with the addition of the herb astragalus, which offers slightly different protection. The body requires higher levels of vitamin C and Zinc during illness and adequate supplmementation is essential. Individual supplements of each of these ingredients is recommended over combined supplements to achieve adequate therapeutic levels. Best wishes, Bill Rawls, M.D. Founder, First Do No Harm Health Systems.

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caroline g.
Caroline g9 years ago

Vit C, sleep, soup and more sleep and rest.

Katrina T.
.9 years ago

thanks for posting!

Jennifer Hargreave
Jennifer H9 years ago

Vitamin C (we take Emergen-C) is great and the recommended daily allowance is really not enough! That is the MINIMAL amount that a HEALTHY person needs! I take 1000 mg a day every day, and up it to 2000-3000 during cold and flu season, and then at any other time that people are ill around me, or as soon as I start feeling sick. It's best to take a powder form- non acidic and buffered. Your body absorbs it better. Echinacea is great, but only at the onset of symptoms or when others around you are sick and then only for 2 weeks. Otherwise it become ineffective and you will also get a metallic taste in your mouth every time you eat. Zinc is always good, too! And don't forget your pro-biotics! Taking a good probiotic DAILY is one of the best means of staving off illness! Avoid processed foods, especially excess sugar, corn syrup, etc. WATER! Drink LOTS! There, that's my remedy for staying well. It works- my family and I can attest to that!!! :)