An achy body. A tickle in your throat. A sniffle that won’t go away. Yep, you probably have a cold. According to the CDC, the average adult gets three colds per year, each lasting an average of nine days. But there are measures you can take to get over a cold faster. I asked our nutritionists to share their tips to help you get back in tip-top condition.
Theresa- Even though the science isn’t conclusive, I supplement with vitamin C and zinc when I feel a cold coming on and while I’m sick. I also drink lots of fluids, especially hot beverages. The steam sometimes helps open my sinuses, and the liquid helps wash the phlegm down. (You’re welcome for that visual.) Plus, I have to sit up to drink, which, if I’m congested, is generally a position in which I can breathe better (as opposed to lying down).
Haley- If you have a cold that’s producing lots of mucous I would advise you to skip dairy products. Studies have shown that dairy doesn’t thicken mucous, as many claim, but it does coat the mucous that is present and makes people more aware of it. I always make sure to eat lots of veggies-perhaps veggie soup- since they are packed with nutrients to help you recover.
Allison- I tend to not eat a lot when I’m sick, but I know that I need to consume some protein so I usually have wheat toast with peanut butter. I also go for bananas – they have some vitamins B and C for a little energy and potassium- and a little 100% orange juice, but usually stick with water and hot tea.
Beth- I usually have some soup with lots of veggies in it, nothing creamy or too heavy. My best tip to others is to avoid alcohol. It may interact with the cold medicines you’re taking. Acetaminophen and alcohol are both metabolized by the liver so if take in combination you could overdo it and stress your liver.
I would also add that you can still continue light activity, if you’re up to it. But I mean light: Keep your heart rate just under 100.
The most important thing to remember is if you feel worse (have a fever, start vomiting, or develop an increasingly bad headache) call your doctor immediately. These are signs you’ve got something other than the common cold (such as flu or an infection), and you may need antiviral medication, antibiotics, or other treatment. Otherwise, if you’re feeling better, keep up the routine for the next few days, just to be sure you kick that cold for good.