Feeling under the weather? A cold or cough can knock you down for days, but there are plenty of ways to fight back. Here are 13 tips from experts on how to get rid of your cold or cough quickly.
1. Drink lots of water
Staying hydrated is crucial when you’re fighting off a cold or cough. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your throat moist and your mucus thin. Thin mucus is much easier to expel than thick mucus, so it’s important to keep yourself well-hydrated.
2. Drink warm liquids
Warm liquids can help soothe a scratchy throat and loosen congestion. Try drinking hot tea with honey or chicken soup.
3. Chicken soup
Chicken soup is helpful in reducing symptoms of a cold or the flu. Studies show that chicken soup contains cysteine, which aids mucous congestion in the lungs. The hot liquid also helps soothe a scratchy throat.
4. Get enough sleep
When you’re sick, your body needs time to rest and recover. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep (aim for at least 7-8 hours per night), so your immune system can fight the common cold and cough.
5. Use a neti pot
A neti pot is a small teapot-like device that’s used for flushing out sinuses. Using a saline solution, you simply fill up the neti pot and pour it into one nostril, letting it drain through the other nostril and out your mouth. Neti pots can be found at most pharmacies or online retailers.
6. Take a spoonful of honey
Honey has been shown to be an effective cough suppressant, as well as an expectorant that can help loosen mucus and make it easier to expel. You can take honey straight or add it to warm tea or lemon water. Do not give honey to infants younger than 12 months old. There’s a risk they could develop botulism, a serious type of food poisoning.
7. Use saline drops
Saline drops work by thinning out mucus and breaking up congestion. They’re safe for adults and children. You can buy them over the counter at most pharmacies and grocery stores.
8. Gargle salt water
Gargling with salt water can help reduce swelling in the throat and provide temporary relief from pain. To make a saltwater solution, simply mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water. Then gargle the water for 30 seconds and spit it out.
9. Take pain relievers
Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help ease sore throat pain and cough.
10. Use a humidifier
A humidifier can add moisture to the air, which can help reduce congestion and coughing.
11. Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil has antispasmodic properties, which means it can help relieve coughing by relaxing the muscles in the respiratory tract.
12. Take vitamin C
Vitamin C is a nutrient that helps boost immunity. You can find it in citrus fruits, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, peas, and more. Eating foods rich in vitamin C may help shorten the duration of a cold. You can also take vitamin C supplements if you don’t feel like eating certain foods.
13. Use over-the-counter medicines
Some over-the-counter medicines, like decongestants and antihistamines, can provide relief from cold symptoms like congestion and runny nose. If you have any questions about which over-the-counter medicine is right for you, speak to a pharmacist or your healthcare provider.
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No one wants to be stuck feeling under the weather, but unfortunately, colds and coughs are just a part of life. The good news is that there are things you can do to help shorten the duration and alleviate symptoms. Be sure to follow the tips above. However, if your symptoms are worse and you get a fever, chills, or shortness of breath, it’s important to see a doctor right away.