Tips for Treating the Common Cold

With Covid-19 and its various variants taking the spotlight this winter, it’s easy to forget the many other viruses in circulation. One such ailment is the common cold.

Cold symptoms include a sore throat, a blocked or runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and a general feeling of being unwell. While colds are very common at this time of year, it is up to everyone to behave responsibly and if they notice symptoms which might indicate coronavirus they should isolate and book a PCR test as soon as possible.  

Germs can spread more easily in the colder months. If you catch a cold this winter, follow these helpful tips to aid your recovery:

  • Rest up. Getting plenty of rest will allow your body to devote its resources to fighting the virus. And while you sleep, your body works to bolster your immune system.
  • Stay warm. Being cold can affect your body’s ability to fight off germs, so wear layers of thin clothing to keep your body temperature regulated.
  • Drink plenty. To avoid dehydration, increase your fluid intake while decreasing your intake of caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and cola. Warm liquids might be soothing, so consider beverages such as chicken soup or warm apple juice.
  • Relieve pain. If you’re experiencing headaches or muscle aches, taking paracetamol or ibuprofen could help. Be aware that many over the counter cold and flu remedies already contain pain-relieving medicine, so make sure you don’t take more than the recommended dose.
  • Soothe your throat. Gargling salt water—a quarter to a half teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water—may provide temporary relief from your sore or scratchy throat. Additionally, adding honey to hot drinks may also be soothing.
  • Combat congestion. Over-the-counter saline nasal drops and sprays can help relieve stuffiness. A cool-mist vaporiser or humidifier will add moisture to your home, which may help loosen congestion.

A common cold usually lasts seven to 10 days. If your symptoms persist for more than three weeks, or suddenly get worse, contact your GP for advice. It should also be noted that if you have any new persistent cough, sore throat or a loss of smell or taste you should book a PCR test (not a lateral flow) and isolate until you receive your result. 

When it comes to the common cold, your immune system is always your best defence, and it will help you ward off germs. To boost your immune function, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains; exercise regularly; and avoid smoking.

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