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How to Get Rid of a Cold Before it Starts

Updated February 21, 2017

Whenever you feel your nose getting a little stuffy or start to get that slight tickle in the back of your throat, it's important to take steps to try to avoid a full-blown cold. While you may not be able to stop every cold in its tracks, there's a good chance that, if you take the proper steps, you'll be able to get rid of a cold before it starts or, at least, reduce its severity.

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  1. Take vitamin C to boost your immune system. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, which helps your body to fight off the cold. You can drink orange juice, take a special cold-fighting supplement that includes vitamin C, eat vitamin C hard candy or just purchase a large bottle of vitamin C in pill form.

  2. Flush your nose with a salt water mixture. If your nose is a bit stuffy, you can fix that with salt water. A neti pot allows you to clean the nasal passages. Fill the pot with warm salt water, tilt your head to the side and pour the water into the top nostril. The water should run out of the bottom nostril. If you don't have a neti pot, you can purchase an over-the-counter nasal saline solution at your pharmacy. Be sure that it is saline, not a nasal decongestant, which can dry your nasal passages.

  3. Gargle with warm salt water. To ward off a sore throat, mix up a glass of warm water with salt. Gargle with this solution five times every hour.

  4. Drink lots of fluids. Fluids will help your body stay hydrated and fight off cold germs. Water is always an excellent choice, but you may also want to try tea or juice. Avoid drinks that are dehydrating, like coffee and sodas.

  5. Use a humidifier. Dry air can make a cold worse. If you want to get rid of your cold, use a humidifier to make the air more humid. If you don't have a humidifier, you can create moist air by running a hot shower with the bathroom door closed. Sit in the bathroom and breathe in this air.

  6. Wash your hands often with antibacterial soap. This will keep your hands germfree, which is especially important if your body is already trying to fight off one cold. You don't want to catch a different strain.

  7. Tip

    Be sure to take vitamin C or another immune building supplement at all times to help reduce the number of colds that you catch. It's more difficult to try to stop a cold after it starts than it is to avoid getting one.

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Things You'll Need

  • Salt water
  • Vitamin C
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Neti pot (optional)


About the Author

Maggie McCormick

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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