A cold, otherwise known as viral rhinitis, is a viral infection that hits the upper respiratory tract. This type of infection attacks both children and adults and can be passed from one person to another through a close contact with an infected individual (such as a handshake). Although the common cold is easily treated, manifestations of its early symptoms can really be discomforting--a clogged nose with constant sneezing,an itchy throat with dry or productive cough, headache, fever and a general feeling of being ill. Colds usually last for about 3 to 5 days but you can make yourself feel better with in a day by simply attending to your symptoms right away.
Treat your symptoms immediately. When symptoms of cold sets in, it is actually your body's way of taking the virus off your system, such as coughing to expectorate mucus, or fever to fight the existing cold virus. However, if you really need to feel well for the sake of your work or school, then treat your symptoms immediately. For nasal congestion you can treat it by either taking an oral decongestants or nasal spray. You can take cough suppressants if you have dry cough or cough expectorants if you have a productive cough (cough with phlegm). If you have fever associated with body aches, taking acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) will help ease your discomfort. Take lozenges to ease your throat (those that contain zinc are highly recommended).
Keep yourself warm and be properly rested. Bed rest under a warm blanket is the best way to assist your body while it's battling against the cold viruses in your system. It is normal for you to feel weak and drowsy when you're ill, so just stay relax and allow your body to recover. The more you rest, the faster you heal. Take it easy if you want to get well sooner.
Drink lots of fluid. Flush those cold viruses away by constantly drinking plenty of water. You can also go for flavoured liquids such as warm lemon juice with honey, orange juice and other fruit juices. Chicken broth is very effective in reducing the activity of white blood cells (neutrophils) that can induce an increase in mucus production.
Clear off that runny mucus. Blowing your nose more often is advisable than sniffing it back to your nose. The more you blow it out, the more you take a part of the virus out of your system, but this has to be done in a correct way. Blow one side of your nose at a time. Press one nostril and gradually blow on the other side and then vice versa. Do not blow both your nostrils at once, for it may only create pressure that can lead to ear ache.
Unclog that stuffy nose. You can do this by simply rubbing Vicks VapoRub on your back, chest, above your nose, and the space between your nostrils and upper lip. You can also massage the bridge of your nose with an up and down stroke using your index finger and thumb. The vapour of the menthol rub and the nose bridge massage, will loosen up your obstructed nose and will help you breathe more easily.
Eradicate that cold virus with steam inhalation. Boil 3 cups of water in a kettle. Prepare a bath towel, a medium-sized basin, and Vicks VapoRub. Position the basin into a chair and table where you can easily sit and do the steam inhalation process. Pour the boiled water into the basin, add a teaspoon of Vicks on it and mix. Then sit down and position your head above the basin, and cloak or surround the basin with your towel, allowing no steam to escape. Breathe in on the steam to relieve your stuffy nose and also to eliminate the existing cold virus (these type of viruses do not have the ability to survive at elevated temperatures).
Soothe that scratchy throat. Mix a teaspoon full of salt in a mug of warm water and gargle. This will help ease your irritated throat. Do this gargling procedure 4 times a day. You can also relieve your cold-infected throat by sipping hot liquid. This is quite a challenging method because here, you are to sip the hottest water temperature you can handle. You can either use plain water or tea mixed with lemon. After sipping one mug of hot liquid, drink a small glass of pure water at room temperature. This hot water method will not only help ease your irritated throat but will also help in eliminating your cold virus quickly.
Don't force yourself to eat solid foods if you don't feel like it. You can go for a very simple diet such as soups, raw fruits, and steamed vegetables, or you can just eat when you feel hungry, but make sure to drink lots of liquid to assist for your faster healing process.
Antibiotics do not work when it comes to treating colds. These type of medications are only effective in fighting infections caused by bacteria. So taking antibiotics for your cold is no help at all.