The common cold affects people worldwide, regardless of whether one resides somewhere chilly and gloomy or in a tropical paradise like Bali.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US), adults typically get 2 to 3 colds per year, and children generally get infected more often.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (US), although rhinoviruses are the most common cause of the common cold, almost half of the cases are caused by other viruses. But yes, all viruses cause the same main symptoms: a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and fatigue.
While there is no cure for the common cold, there are several things you can do to help speed up recovery and alleviate its symptoms. Here is our list of scientifically-backed strategies to speed up your recovery from the common cold!
#1. Stay well-hydrated
One of the most fundamental yet often overlooked aspects of recovery is staying well-hydrated. This simple form of self-care helps alleviate your symptoms. Staying hydrated also supports your immune response, so your body can fight off the infection and recover quickly.
Despite the different expert opinions, the most common recommendation for water intake is 2 liters or 8 glasses per day. Warm drinks like herbal teas, clear broths, and warm water with honey and lemon can help soothe a sore throat and ease congestion.
#2. Allow your body to rest
Rest is crucial for allowing your body to focus its energy on fighting off the virus. When you sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines that help immune and inflammation responses. Proper rest can also reduce stress on the body, which is crucial for a speedy recovery!
#3. Eat nutrient-rich foods
To speed up your recovery from the common cold, it is essential to consume a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, and broccoli, can help boost immune function. Zinc-rich foods like nuts, seeds, and whole grains can also support your immune system’s ability to fight off infections.
#4. Use saline nasal rinses
Saline nasal rinses can help alleviate congestion and reduce the discomfort caused by a stuffy or runny nose. The saline nasal rinses work by thinning mucus and flushing out irritants, allowing you to breathe more comfortably during a cold.
#5. Try steam inhalation
Inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water can help soothe irritated airways and ease nasal congestion. Adding drops of essential oils, such as eucalyptus or peppermint, can enhance the benefits of steam inhalation. The steam helps loosen mucus, making it easier to expel and therefore alleviating your common cold symptoms.
#6. Gargle with salt water
Gargling with warm salt water can help relieve a sore throat. The saltwater works as a natural antiseptic, reducing inflammation and killing bacteria in the throat.
#7. Over-the-counter medications
Non-prescription cold medications can provide symptomatic relief. Decongestants can help reduce nasal congestion, while pain relievers like paracetamol or ibuprofen can help reduce discomfort and fever.
However, these medications should be used according to their recommended guidelines and in consultation with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
While there is no instant cure for the common cold, these scientifically-backed strategies can help alleviate symptoms, shorten the duration of illness, and prevent complications. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention to rule out any underlying conditions or complications. Our English-speaking team of excellent doctors at Prime Plus Medical in Canggu is ready to assist you 24/7.