Some Ways to Combat the Common Cold

When most of us come down with a cold, we head to the nearest pharmacy to pick up some decongestants and pain relievers. However, when it comes to children, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against this. Many of the over-the-counter medications used to treat colds are not safe for children under the age of 2 and may be harmful to children under the age of 6. The treatments found after the image below are safer and effective for both children and adults.

Diagram showing differences in symptoms between cold and flu


Get Plenty of Rest

It usually takes about 10 days to get rid of a cold. To hasten recovery, stay home and take it easy. Relaxation allows the body to conserve energy and fight the infection. Avoiding stress and anxiety is especially important, as the immune system is highly susceptible to stress. Getting enough sleep and not pushing yourself too hard in the early stages of a cold can help you get well faster. Resting at home also ensures you don’t spread cold germs to others.


Get Plenty of Moisture

Drinking lots of fluids is always a good idea when you’re sick, but did you know that ambient moisture is also healing? Humid air loosens mucus in the chest and nasal passages. Steaming up the bathroom with a warm bath or shower is a great way to accomplish this, but humidifiers are even better. These devices create steam from a water reservoir and are especially helpful during sleep. They are inexpensive and easily available at any pharmacy.


Eat Chicken Soup

Some doctors have said that chicken soup treats colds better than medications, and it’s not just the placebo effect that’s working! Chicken soup restricts the movement of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell responsible for protecting the body against infection. Slowing down neutrophil activity alleviates inflammation and mucus production. Drinking hot liquids also soothes sore throats, thins mucus, and helps clear the sinuses.


Gargle with Salt Water

Gargling salt water has been shown to alleviate both cold symptoms and sore throats, as it clears mucus buildup and kills bacteria. You can prepare a saltwater gargle by mixing approximately half a teaspoon of ordinary table salt into a glass of warm (not hot!) water. To mitigate the risk of swallowing, gargles should be used by only adults and children over the age of 4.

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