1. Practice prevention
One of the best ways to manage a cold is to avoid getting sick in the first place. Easier said than done, right? While it’s impossible to avoid ever catching a cold, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk, like:
- Protect your immune system by staying healthy. Exercise regularly. Eat healthy foods — especially dark green leafy vegetables. And take good care of your mental health.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your face. Cold viruses can live on your hands for up to 24 hours and they can enter your body through your nose, mouth, and eyes.
- Stay away from people who are sick.
2. Stay hydrated
Proper hydration can help your body fight infection. To ensure you’re staying hydrated, try to:
- Drink lots of fluids. This can include water, decaffeinated tea, juice (but skip anything with too much sugar), and soup.
- Avoid beverages that dehydrate you — like sodas, alcohol, or coffee.
- Set yourself reminders to drink water.
- Fill up a water bottle in the morning and make sure to sip it throughout the day.
3. Get some good rest
Fighting an illness can take a toll on your body. Giving your body the rest it needs can help your immune system fight off the cold virus. Here are a few ways to let your body naturally heal itself:
- Put the smartphone down. Give your brain a break by setting the device aside.
- Take a nap.
- Read a lighthearted book.
- Listen to a guided meditation.
- Watch a heartwarming movie.
4. Ease your sore throat
A sore throat can be a constant irritation when you have a cold. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to soothe it. You can:
- Make your own honey, lemon, and ginger cough drops. There are several recipes available online — find one that works for you.
- Sip warm tea with honey and lemon.
- Gargle with warm saltwater.
- Drink warm, clear broth.
- Enjoy a cold treat like a fresh fruit ice pop.
5. Reduce congestion
When mucus builds up in your nasal passages and lungs, it causes congestion and a general feeling of stuffiness. Most congestion from a cold will clear up on its own over time, but you can sometimes reduce it if you:
- Use a cool mist vaporizer.
- Run a hot, steamy shower.
- Try a sinus rinse with saline solution.
- Place a warm compress on your face.
- Prop up your head with pillows before bed. This may allow some of your congestion to drain from your nose while you sleep.