The average adult will generally get three colds per year, and each lasts about nine days. That’s a lot of time to spend feeling terrible. So, can you avoid it all together? Are there ways to soothe some of the symptoms once you do get sick? Here are a few suggestions.

Tips to Help You Avoid the Common Cold

Everyone gets colds, which is perhaps why they are dubbed the “common cold.” However, you can take a few steps to decrease your chances of getting a full-blown cold, even if you are already have some of the early symptoms, like a scratchy throat or fatigue.

  • Stay Hydrated. Keeping yourself hydrated, even before you have come down with something, will help your body fight back. It will thin your mucus, making it easier to expel. Try broths, teas, and, of course, plenty of water.
  • Get some extra rest and cut your stress. If you feel a cold coming on, your immune system will need plenty of rest to be able to fight it. Stress actually decreases your immune system’s power by decreasing the number of cells available to fight off a cold. People who are stressed are frequently targets of the common cold.
  • Gargle with salt water. If you feel a scratchy throat, gargling with salt water can help cut down on the irritation that your throat is experiencing. It will take out the excess fluid from your throat, cutting down on inflammation. It will also cut down on the bacteria and viruses that are in your throat as well.
  • Get moving. Light activity can actually boost the immune system, so if you are feeling up to it, do some light exercise to give your immune system a little extra help.

Tips to Help You Beat a Cold—Even After it Has Started…

If you have already contracted a cold, there are still a few things that you can do to decrease the effects of your symptoms. You may not be able to make the cold last any less time, but hopefully it will not be as severe.

  • Prop your pillow at night. Sleeping on a slightly elevated surface will help your nasal passages drain better. This will help relieve sinus pain and pressure as well.
  • Try not to blow your nose too hard. If you blow your nose too hard, you can actually increase the amount of bacteria and other viruses in your sinuses. This can lead to serious infections.
  • Use the steam treatment. Taking a hot shower can help clear up your nasal passages. Steam is a natural decongestant. Although its effects may only last a short period of time, having a more moist environment generally can be beneficial. Try using a dehumidifier in your bedroom as well.
  • Sip warm liquids. Warm liquids like soup and tea will help ease your sore throat. They are also a great way to stay hydrated.

Contact a Good ENT Specialist

The tips to avoid a cold are also a good idea after the sickness sets in. However, if symptoms worsen, then you may have a more serious condition and should contact your physician or ENT as soon as possible.