Outsmarting Cold and Flu Symptoms

coldYour doctor can’t do much for a cold that you can’t do for yourself. Most colds are caused by viruses classified as rhinovirus, and there are no prescription drugs that work against them. You can take steps, however, to reduce your symptoms.

Runny nose

  • Hold a hot, damp washcloth to your face for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, pat your face with a dry towel. This will help ease the pressure in your sinuses.
  • Nasal decongestant sprays can help. Don’t use them for more than three days in a row, however. If you do, you can get more swelling, bleeding, or a raw nose or throat.
  • Don’t take antihistamines. They dry up mucus and make it harder to get rid of mucus.

Stuffy nose

  • Consuming clear soups, such as chicken soup, and other liquids can help break up stuffiness. Many people prefer warm liquids.
  • Breathe in steam. Humidifiers are good, but steam is better. Take a hot shower or lean over a steaming pan of water with a towel over your head and shoulders.
  • Try a salt water (saline) nasal spray or a gentle sinus rinse with a salt-water solution.

Sore throat

  • Gargle with warm salt water.
  • Suck on hard candy (but only for as long as you need it to help with your throat. Hard candy can negatively affect the health of your teeth).

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