It’s more than likely that you’ve experienced a sore throat, runny nose, and a cough at some point in your life, and for many, it can happen yearly.
They are more common in the winter, but you can catch a cold at any time throughout the year. Despite the inability to cure a cold, there are steps you can take to try to prevent catching one.
Starting To Feel Under the Weather?
You can usually begin to feel it in your throat and head when you have caught a cold. You may experience symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughing, headaches due to congestion, or a sore throat. Your body will let you know early on, so once you notice it, it means there is no way to avoid it.
A cold is an illness caused by a virus, and often, you may catch it from another person.
There are a few ways that you can catch one:
- Coming directly in contact with a person through a hug or a kiss
- By touching a contaminated surface that has their germs on it like towels or utensils and then touching your face
- Through infected droplets that travel in the air after a sneeze or a cough
A cold will start once it has found its way to the inner lining of your nose or throat and attached itself there. Your body starts to fight the cold by sending white blood cells to attack the virus. You know that your body is beginning to fight off the cold when you feel symptoms and exhaustion finally sets in.
How To Treat a Cold
Once you catch a cold, it’s there to stay for a bit. There is no way to cure a common cold, but there are practices you can do to help treat your cold for the 7 to 11 days it takes over your body. If you feel the cold symptoms creeping in, consider doing some of the following to lessen your symptoms and help you get over it faster!
Fluids, fluids, fluids. Water is one of the most important substances to consume to help prevent symptoms from worsening. Your body needs water to function properly, and drinking excess fluids while fighting off the cold can help speed up the process.
If you aren’t getting enough water in your system during a cold, you will feel the effects of dehydration. Dehydration during a cold can feel much worse and prolong the symptoms you are feeling.
You may feel the following if you are dehydrated:
- Dry mouth
Be sure to drink continuously throughout the day so that you can avoid making your side effects worse. Some drinks, like warm water with lemon, can help boost your hydration—unlike alcohol, soda, and coffee, which can worsen dehydration in the days leading up to a cold.
Other ways to increase moisture include external tricks like using a humidifier, taking a hot shower, or using nasal sprays that may help fight off colds.
Take Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to build up other antioxidants to help fight against the cold. Humans do not produce vitamin C naturally, so they need to get it through eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as taking vitamin C supplements. Most people do not get enough vitamin C within their daily intake, so taking supplements can be helpful.
People who take vitamin C supplements might experience shortened periods of time with cold symptoms and lessen the effects of the symptoms.
Some natural ways to get vitamin C are:
- Citrus fruits, like oranges and lemon
- Brussel Sprouts
If you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet, you should be hitting close to the recommended amount of Vitamin C to consume.
Eating fruit when you aren’t feeling well can be helpful to your overall body functions. The water content of fruit is often high, and so you can get a boost of energy from the sugars, stay hydrated from the water, and replenish your body’s cells with vitamin C.
Another thing that seems cliche but helps when you have a cold is taking a step back and relaxing. By taking time to rest, you are allowing your body to recuperate from fighting off the infection.
It has been shown how the number of hours slept can correlate to a person’s susceptibility to getting a cold. Those who did not sleep for nearly enough hours each night were more likely to get a cold and experience adverse symptoms.
By resting, your body can focus solely on getting better. It does not need to fight itself by giving energy away when the infection inside of you could use all of the attention. Make sure that you are resting when you feel you need to and don’t fight against your fatigue. It’s important that you listen to your body and what it needs so that you can recover as fast as possible.
Can You Prevent a Cold?
Just because there is no cure for a common cold does not mean that there aren’t ways to prevent it from ever reaching your body.
Similar to the suggestions above on how to treat a cold, you want to stay hydrated and well-rested to avoid the cold. Drinking water and resting may help to prevent colds. They help support and boost your overall immune system.
Boosting your immune system helps prevent colds because you strengthen your body’s ability to fight off infection. Vitamin C is also great for preventing colds for the same reason—it’s known to boost the immune system.
These aren’t the only things you can do to prevent a cold, though. Many factors go into how well-functioning your immune system is, and if your health is being jeopardized, you will be more likely to catch a cold.
Manage Your Stress
Your immune system can be negatively impacted if you have chronic stress. For those who cannot turn off their stress, their immune system begins to fight with itself, lowering its focus on fighting off other infections.
If you are someone who is very stressed, you are more prone to catching a cold because your body does not have enough energy to fight it off. Everyone is triggered by different things, and everyone experiences stress differently.
Some ways that you can work towards managing your stress are by:
- Participating in your favorite physical activity
- Deep breathing and meditation
- Talking with a therapist or close friend
Eat a Healthy Diet
Your immune system will be at its strongest if proper minerals and nutrients are supporting your body.
By ensuring that you receive a proper diet, you can feel comforted knowing your body is getting what it needs to protect itself.
The foods that you should be getting into your diet daily to support your immune system are:
- Whole grain
- Fruits and vegetables
- Fat-free dairy
- Healthy oils, like olive oil and coconut oil
If you want to find a way to prevent catching a cold, starting with your diet is probably the easiest. You know what it is that you are consuming, and you have the control to make adjustments. If you aren’t getting proper nutrition, you won’t feel as great as you could feel.
You can’t expect your body to fight off infection when it’s constantly fighting with itself to function properly. Taking care of yourself is the easiest way to prevent a cold, but that can often be easier said than done.
If you aren’t positive if you are getting enough sleep, if your stress levels are in control, or if you are getting the right nutrition, consider signing up with Vessel Health. If you struggle to take care of yourself, we get it, and we want to help.
You can use the Vessel Health Wellness Test Card to find out about your nutrient, stress, and pH levels, understand why your results are the way they are, and then have us give you suggestions on how to make changes to improve your overall health.
Goodbye Colds, Hello Healthy Immune System
The common cold is truly hard to avoid. Once you’ve got it, it’s not like you can take one medication to get rid of it completely. Sure, there are plenty of over-the-counter medications to treat the symptoms like Advil, Tylenol, Aspirin, or ibuprofen, but if you want to learn how to best prevent colds, you should get to the root of your problems.
Decongestants, antihistamines, and naproxen can only go so far. Bacterial infections may be more responsive to treatments due to the effectiveness of antibiotics, but they'll do nothing for medical conditions like the flu, COVID-19, or the common cold.
Sometimes lifestyle choices can lead to your likelihood of catching a cold and spending a week drinking chicken soup, sucking on zinc lozenges, and gargling with saltwater. If you aren’t sleeping enough, drinking enough water, or eating well, you will be more susceptible to infection.
While cold medicine technology has improved over the decades, no one wants to deal with body aches, sinus pain and swelling from the common cold—let alone the symptoms of bronchitis, strep throat, or flu season's fevers.
Using Vessel Health, you can learn where you stand on these answers to see if you should be making changes.
You won’t regret it by the time winter comes around!
Sinead Adedipe See all the author’s articles