6 Ways To Fight A Lingering Cold

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  • By Robin Westen

    Okay, you’ve got a cold. It’s not the first time and it probably won’t be the last. If you’re like most Americans you can expect between one and two weeks of a runny nose, coughing, sore throat and maybe a headache. Of course there’s no cure for the common cold, but you can cut the time you suffer with its symptoms. Here’s how:

    Take Zinc And Echinacea

    At the first indication of a cold, take a stroll to the health food store or the pharmacy’s natural remedy section. Studies show that zinc nasal sprays can help reduce a cold's severity as well as its length. Scientists suspect that spritzing with a zinc spray coats the cold virus and prevents it from attaching to nasal cells where they enter the body. Also, one study of 120 people with cold-like symptoms who took 20 drops of echinacea every two hours for 10 days had briefer colds than the folks in the study who didn’t take echinacea.
  • Bump Up Your Liquid Intake Water, and fruits that contain water, are perfect because they cleanse the body, which can help remove bacteria and toxins. Toxins can contribute to a cold, and the sooner they're out of your body, the more quickly you can recover.
  • Try OTC Remedies Some non-prescription medications can lessen your symptoms. For example, decongestants can help make breathing easier by shrinking swollen mucous membranes in the nose. Use for no more than two or three days. But before you take any OTC meds, speak with your health care provider or the drug store pharmacist to be sure the ingredients won’t affect other medications that you’re taking. FYI: Cough preparations are usually not very effective.
  • Take It Easy Since a cold hangs on for several days, it’s tempting to just try and go about your business without adjusting your schedule. But if you're dealing with a bad cold, consider taking a few days off from regular activities. If you drain your energy level, your cold can last longer.
  • Wash Your Hands - A Lot Be sure to wash your hands after wiping your nose and coughing. Good hygiene can keep you from re-infecting yourself. Plus, you’ll be less likely to infect others.
  • Consider Vitamin C Although it won’t help prevent a cold there’s some evidence that it can short the length you suffer with one. One large study found that people who took a vitamin C megadose -- eight grams on the first day of a cold -- shortened the duration of their colds. But again, speak with your health care provider. Vitamin C can interfere with other medications.