How to Stop a Cold in its Tracks (from

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February is the worst for cold and flu season.  I’m not sure why that is, exactly, but I’ve always thought it had something to do with the fact that your body has been trying to keep warm for months and months on end at this point, and it’s tired.  So germs find a home, and a person’s immunity is down.  But, luckily, the people behind have some excellent advice for how to speed up the process of getting better.  This is going to be the first part of a two-part series about staying healthy as winter starts to drag on.

How to Stop a Cold in its Tracks:

  1. Prop yourself up with pillows.  This is the first thing my parents told me to do when I was little and would get sick – don’t lay flat, because you’ll be up all night, unable to breathe normally.  I spent many a winter night sleeping in the recliner in the living room for this reason.[i]  Propping yourself up keeps your nasal passages open, which is very helpful when trying to speed up the recovery process.
  2. Take a hot shower.  According to an article in Women’s Health magazine, high humidity is toxic to viruses.  And how hard is this to follow, since hot showers feel the best when you’re cold and feeling crappy?  In my experience, the dry winter air only makes your throat feel scratchier, so a nice steamy shower (or a good humidifier) can only help.
  3. Drink up.  Despite the title of this one, I am in no way advocating that you drink away your sickness with alcoholic beverages.[ii]  No, I am trying to tell you to stay hydrated (with, like, water)!  Drinking more than your normal amount of water and drinks containing electrolytes will keep your throat from feeling so dry, and will help thin out the congestion.  You’ll feel better.
  4. Get a good night’s sleep.  Your body uses the time that you spend sleeping to fight off viruses and infections, so the worst thing you can skip on this list is this one!  If you normally get six hours of sleep at night, try to sleep for seven or eight hours while you’re fighting something.  Your cold won’t last as long, and you’ll have a better chance of getting through the day with the ability to function normally.[iii]
  5. Take a “mega dose” of Vitamin C.  A “mega dose” is about 8 grams of Vitamin C, and studies have shown that, if you take that much Vitamin C on the first day of your cold, it will shorten the duration of your symptoms.  With so many Vitamin C supplements on the market, this is something easy that you can invest in to make you feel better faster.
  6. Gargle with salt water.  My mother will be happy that this is on the list, because she always made me do this when I had a sore throat, and I hated it.  A lot.  But the salt helps ease the discomfort of a sore throat naturally, decreases inflammation, and helps rinse out bacteria and viruses, leaving your mouth a much cleaner place.  I always like to do it before I brush my teeth, because then you can not only get rid of the taste of salt, but you can kill the rest of the bacteria that may be residing in your mouth.  Gross, right?  But it will help – just don’t think about it too much.
  7. Eat immunity boosting foods.  Part two of this “stay healthy” series is going to go into detail about foods that boost your immunity.  So stay tuned Thursday (February 20)!  If you eat those foods regularly, you might be able to prevent colds and other viruses.  Worth the wait to find out what they are, right?

Everyone gets sick, but I’m hoping that this list will help make people feel better faster.  Colds and other viruses can linger for a very long time if you don’t take proper care of yourself.  So remember these tips, and you’ll be beating that cold in no time!

Stay healthy!


[i] Although I was a fairly healthy child, I got colds all the time.  In hindsight, it may have had something to do with the fact that a) I went to a public elementary school and b) I insisted on eating icicles with my friends during recess.

[ii] In college, people would try to convince me that alcohol kills everything that is causing you to feel terrible, so you might as well stay drunk.  Yeah… no.  That logic is inherently flawed.

[iii] When I have a cold, it always feels like my brain is foggy.  Sleeping extra definitely helps clear it, so I can actually make sense while I’m at work.


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