Beating the Common Cold

As a home health care provider in South Florida, we’ve learned that sometimes it’s simple health issues like the common cold that can create complications with other aspects of one’s health.  Especially if you’re in recovery, or simply have the need for live-in or hourly care.  Here are a bunch of easy ways to help you beat the common cold.

Keep Moving!

When we’re sick, all we want to do is rest and sleep.  And while rest is important, a doctor at Vanderbilt University in walking on beach west palmNashville found that taking a walk or even a light workout at the gym actually helps reduce your symptoms by stimulating the immune system.

Focus on Hydration

How many times have you heard the phrase “drink plenty of fluids”?  In the case of battling a cold, water is key.  While teas and broths are also beneficial to the hydration process, water is still the foundation of helping your body flush itself.  Avoid dehydrating beverages such as coffee, and nothing can undo your hydration efforts more than alcohol.  Aim for a tall glass of water every couple of hours.

Say No to Ibuprofen

The University of Southampton recently completed research that shows those who take ibuprofen are significantly more likely  to return to the doctor with unresolved or worsening cold symptoms than those who take acetaminophen.

Enjoy a Hot Shower

When you’re stuffed up, nothing can help your sinuses more than a nice hot, steamy shower.  When you’re in the shower, the moist air gets into your sinuses.  You can help the process along by gently blowing your nose one nostril at a time.  If you’re not in the mood to shower, you can create a similar effect by running hot water in your sink and leaning over with a towel over your head.

senior meditation in West Palm BeachMeditate

Sounds like a crazy idea, but people 50 years and older can greatly benefit from practicing mindfulness meditation.  A recent study by the University of Wisconsin showed that those who practiced Zen-related meditations had few and less severe colds.

Add an Extra Pillow

Many of us will toss and turn or even just lie in bed awake because of not being able to breathe comfortably.  By adding an additional pillow that raises your head higher and sleeping on your back, you promote sinus drainage down the back of your throat and will open up your nasal passages a little bit.

Be Nice to your Nose

The more severe the cold, the more vigorously we blow our noses.  Vigorous nose blowing can actually push the music from the nose up into the sinuses, which increases the severity of a cold and can also lead to a secondary sinus infection.  Plus, the constant blowing and rubbing of the nostrils can lead to a very uncomfortable chapping of the nose.  Keep your nose lubricated with a simple dab of petroleum jelly to the chapped areas.

Antibiotics Won’t Work

We all want a miracle cure.  But there isn’t one.  At least, not yet.  The common cold is a virus.  Antibiotics treat bacterial infections.  Don’t bother going to your doctor or health care provider to ask for an antibiotic.  When it comes to a common cold, there’s nothing to do but ride it out and make yourself as comfortable as possible in the process.

Salt the Sore Throatgargling with salt water

It doesn’t taste great, but one of the easiest and most effective ways to relieve a sore throat is to gargle with a mixture of warm water and salt.

The Great Vitamin C Debate

There is a huge, ongoing debate about the use of high-dosage vitamin C, echinacea or zinc supplements.  Some people swear by it…and others in the health care field feel it’s a huge waste of money.  As one doctor put it, “If you take all that stuff, you’re making expensive urine.”  Most doctors will tend to focus your towards tea, over-the-counter symptom relief, nasal saline and a humidifier.

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‘Nuff said.




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