Ain’t it crazy that, with all of the science that’s floating around here, no one has been able to find a cure for the common cold (yet)? And since reportedly, a whopping one billion of us catch one every year and since they also have the potential to annoyingly run between 7-10 days, each and every time the virus happens to catch hold of one of us, and since most of us don’t have the luxury to just take off work whenever a cold comes our way, I thought it would be cool to do y’all a solid and share some tips that can help to cut, shoot, at least a couple of days off of the longevity of your cold, so that you can get to feeling like your old self again in no time.
1. Pour Some Peroxide into Your Ears
I’ll tell you what — while it’s annoying as all get out, on the rare occasions when I do feel a cold coming on, if I’m able to catch the first signature symptom quickly enough (for me, it’s a sore throat), I’m usually able to nip it in the bud by pouring half a cupful of hydrogen peroxide into each ear and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes (wait for the bubbling to stop). Apparently, what it does is kill bacteria and virus cell walls, so that they aren’t able to continue to grow. The key here is to go with a three percent grade. Again, I can’t think of too many things that are more irritating (sensation-wise) yet if you can bear it, it’s worth it. Oftentimes, I won’t even get a full-on cold when I do it. Real talk.
2. Suck on Some Zinc Lozenges
As far as the common cold goes, most of them are caused by a virus known as the rhinovirus. It makes you sick because, when it gets a hold of your upper respiratory system (throat and nasal passages), it tends to multiply and lead to cold symptoms. The reason why zinc can be beneficial in shortening the lifespan of a cold is there is data to support that it is beneficial when it comes to keeping the rhinovirus from thriving; it also can stop it from “putting roots down” into your nose and throat.
Since zinc is also beneficial when it comes to strengthening your immune system and reducing oxidative stress, it is an absolute must that you keep some zinc lozenges close by.
3. Up Your Vitamin C and D
Because Vitamin C is a top-tier antioxidant and antioxidants help to keep your immune system nice and strong, this is why it’s a “signature nutrient” for getting over a cold. However, it should go on record that there’s no point in “overdoing it” when it comes to Vitamin C because it only stores what it needs (the rest, you end up urinating out). However, you can never go wrong with having some citrus fruit, orange juice, or even some broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or potatoes when you’re sick. They all can help you to feel much better.
Speaking of vitamins, make sure to get some Vitamin D in there too. Again, while there is currently not a cure for the common cold, there are studies to support that upping your Vitamin D intake can reduce the longevity of the infection by 10-15 percent. Foods high in Vitamin D include salmon, tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified cereals (watch the milk, though; that can “trigger” mucus production. A milk alternative is so much better).
4. Take Some Elderberry Syrup
Elderberries are dope because they are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. They are especially high in Vitamin C which you already know can boost immunity and fiber which can help to detox your system. Elderberry also has a good reputation for helping your system to increase its white blood cell count. The reason why Black elderberry syrup makes the list of smart cold-fighting recommendations is that there are studies to support that it literally reduces the severity and length of the flu (some experts say that it can result in the flu lasting for no longer than four days). So, the next time you go to your local health store, make sure to cop some.
5. Cop a Saline Spray
Something that a lot of people don’t realize is, when they have a stuffy nose, the mucus isn’t the problem. Actually, mucus is a sign that your body is working overtime to keep viruses and bacteria from overtaking your body. The reason why mucus is such a pain when you’ve got a cold is that 1) your nasal passages are usually inflamed and 2) your mucus is oftentimes thicker due to the virus that has infected your system. A saline nasal spray can help with all of this because it works to wash out your nasal passages which can also shorten your cold’s “shelf life.” Saline sprays are easy to find at the local grocery or drug stores. It’s always a good idea to have one in your medicine cabinet. Just in case.
6. Apply Eucalyptus, Cedarwood and Basil Essential Oils
I’m a huge fan of essential oils and when I have a cold, I’m really all about them. Eucalyptus contains antiviral and antimicrobial properties that aggressively attack cold-related symptoms. Cedarwood works as an antifungal, antiseptic, and astringent that can thin out mucus and help you to feel calmer and more relaxed (so that you can sleep easier). Basil is cool because it helps to soothe your respiratory system.
You can either mix these up with a carrier oil like jojoba, grapeseed, sweet almond, avocado, or coconut and rub them on your chest or back, put them into a diffuser, or get a humidifier (which is also a huge win when it comes to fighting cold and the flu) that has a diffuser in it so that you can get the benefits of moisture and essential oils in the air as your work and/or rest. A list of some of the best humidifiers/diffusers is located here.
7. Digest Some Probiotics
Not too long ago, I wrote an article on here about the fact that 80 percent of our immune system is located in our gut (you can read more about it here). Since there are both good and bad bacteria in there, it’s important that the good bacteria far outweighs the bad. One way to make that happen is to eat foods that are high in probiotics (like fermented ones like pickled veggies) or to take a probiotic supplement.
As far as a cold goes, probiotics not only help to keep you from getting a cold to begin with, they also are great at reducing your cold-related symptoms and shortening how long your cold lasts. That’s why I enjoy drinking kefir (which basically like a 2.0 version of liquid yogurt). Whatever you decide to do, just make sure to keep some probiotics in your system on a regular basis. You’ll be really glad you did; especially during cold and flu season (which is now).
8. Eat Honey
I’m really starting to wonder if there’s anything honey can’t do. When it comes to healing a cold, it’s great at soothing a sore throat, suppressing a cough, and reducing symptoms that are directly related to an upper respiratory infection. Honey is also bomb because, if you’re struggling with catching some zzz’s while you’re sick, believe it or not, honey can provide more energy to your brain so that you can remain in a REM state of sleep for a longer period of time. Now, how cool is that?
9. Make Some Bone Broth
At the end of the day, bone broth is a broth that is made from animal bones and connective tissue. Since animal bones contain nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, that’s already a good reason to either purchase some or make a homemade batch from time to time.
When you have a cold, consuming bone broth is beneficial because the gelatin in it can make it easier for you to digest the foods that you are eating in order to get better. Plus, bone broth contains amino acids that fight inflammation (which is a part of the reason why you have a stuffy nose) and, since consuming lots of fluids is always a good idea when you’re sick, that’s another reason why it can be super helpful.
This brings me to my next point.
10. Drink Lots of Water
There are a few ways that drinking lots of water can make your cold shorter. It can help to thin out the mucus in your system. It can help to keep your mucous membranes well-lubricated. It can bring more oxygen to your blood. It can help to flush out the toxins that are bringing on your cold-related symptoms. If you’ve got a fever, it can help to lower it. And, because coughing can lead to dehydration, drinking water can prevent that from transpiring too. There’s no way around why you need to have some water on your nightstand. Make sure that you do.
12. Change Your Pillowcases Daily
I once read that when you sneeze, your germs can travel as much as 19-26 feet (what in the world?!). Now just imagine how much drama is happening with your bedding. Listen, it might be tedious to change your pillowcases on a daily basis while you’re sick yet the less that you’re rolling around in an abundance of germs, the greater your chances are of getting better quicker. So yeah, toss your pillowcases into your hamper every morning. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
Yeah. I won’t even get into the fact that a lot of people end up catching colds because they are so sleep deprived that their immune system was super weak, to begin with (check out “Ready To Try 10 Quick & Easy Immune-Boosting Hacks?”). What I will say is I make sure that I don’t get less than 6-8 hours (and oftentimes a nap too) a night. Then, I up it a couple of hours the week before my period and right when I feel a cold coming on. It’s one of the best ways to get my system ready for the “battle” that is about to transpire. You don’t have to take my word for it, though.
A lot of medical professionals recommend adding an hour of sleep to your sleep routine when you’re under the weather (assuming that you’re getting at least six hours in, to begin with). All of these tips won’t work, nearly as well, without applying this final one. If you really wanna get over your cold, rest is essential. Lots of it. OK, sis? Excellent.
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