Stop a Cold Before Getting Serious

A tickle in your throat. A cloudy head. An achy body. Yep, you are coming down with something. Again. The average adult gets three colds per year, each lasting an average of nine days; but you don’t have to surrender. Here’s how to stop a cold before it takes hold—and feel better by tomorrow.

As soon as you feel symptoms



  • Start drinking water or juice

Staying hydrated cuts down on symptoms like a sore throat and stuffy nose.

  • Gargle with salt water

To combat a scratchy throat, add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water. The salt draws out excess water in your throat’s tissues, reducing the inflammation, and clears mucous and irritants from the back of the throat. The rinse also flushes out bacteria and viruses, which may help whether you’re getting a cold or want to prevent one in the first place.

  • Keep your nose clean

Using a saline nasal spray right after cold symptoms first appear may reduce their impact, studies suggest. And take a hot shower: warm moisture helps clear nasal passages.

  • Head to the pharmacy

Inform your Pharmacist about your starting cold and symptoms, and they will give you the necessarily vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system; together with any type of medication that will help in preventing the cold from getting worse.

  • Skip the OTC cough medicine

Good old honey works just as well (and tastes better!). Have one to two tablespoons straight from the jar or stirred into tea.

  • Don’t forget the fluids

Keep drinking plenty of water, juice, or tea—and have some chicken soup for lunch. Grandma’s favorite cure – all really does ease cold symptoms, research suggests.

  • Shake it off

If you’re up for a little activity, light exercise can actually boost the immune system. But we mean light: Keep your heart rate just under 100.

  • Last chance for germ-fighting!

A healthy diet can help fuel the immune system, so choose a dinner that includes protein-packed foods like lean meat, fish, or beans, with a whole-grain side like brown rice and plenty of antioxidant-rich vegetables. Take a hot shower before bed if you’re still feeling stuffy. Then get a good night’s sleep.

  • The next day; All better?

If you feel worse or have a fever, start vomiting, or develop an increasingly bad headache, call your doctor—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, keep up the routine for the next few days, just to be sure you kick that cold for good.