It is very likely that at some point during the year, particularly during the winter months, you will catch a cold (or two or three). Colds are annoying, seem to last forever, and they can definitely test your patience. Not to mention colds make you feel irritable, tired, achy, and generally miserable. While it is very tempting to just lay down, watch television, and sleep, there are other ways to deal with a cold that could even help to shorten the duration.

While you have no control over how long you are sick, here are some tips for battling the symptoms of your cold this winter.

1. Hydrate! When you get a cold, it is very important to hydrate your body with lots of fluids, particularly water and Vitamin C—such as orange juice. Drinking broths and teas is also a good way of getting fluids into your body. Hydrating will loosen up some of the mucus that makes you cough and causes your congestion. Do not undo your hard work of hydrating by drinking coffees, sodas, and other sources of caffeine. These are dehydrating liquids that draw fluid out of your body and can make congestion worse.

2. Did We Say Hydrate? In addition to drinking lots of fluids, it is also important to hydrate your nasal and sinus passages. Taking hot showers and using humidifiers allows the body to inhale fluid, which in turn loosens mucus and helps with congestion.

3. Sweat Out a Cold! While exercising feels like the last thing you want to do when you have a cold, moving your body is a great way to feel better. While you should not overexert yourself, walking, stretching, and some mild to moderate cardio exercise will keep your joints loose and reduce soreness. Maintaining some level of activity will also help to keep the mucus flowing, rather than collecting in your sinuses. The general rule is that if you do not have a fever, it is okay to stay active!

4. But…Rest is Still Important! So, while it is a good idea to keep your body somewhat mobile, it is also imperative that you rest while you have a cold. And, although you may have to deal with kids and day to day life, you must be sure to take time to rest and recharge your body. Overexerting yourself can make your cold symptoms worse and can even prolong your sickness. Ask for help. Go to bed early. Take time for yourself to feel better.

5. Try Over-the-Counter Medicines! It is perfectly fine to hit the drugstore when you are suffering from a cold. There are many decongestants, cough syrups, and sleep aids that may help relieve some of your cold symptoms. It is always important to talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about cold medicine interacting with any other medicine you may be taking.

While colds are an unfortunate part of life, you can get through them! Be sure to take care of yourself, and use these tips for some relief from those pesky cold symptoms.

Meet with an ENT Specialist Boynton Beach, FL

If you have a persistent cold that doesn’t seem to be getting better, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor or ENT specialist to make sure it is actually a cold you are dealing with, and not something more sinister lurking in your nasal passages.