Hang out in humidity
There’s no way to kill off the cold virus in your system. But as it wreaks havoc on your body, you can help the collateral damage heal faster. Treat your dry tissues to humidified air. “The secondary effects from the cold may be irritation to the nasal passages, and moisture may help that,” says Dr. Joanna Zed, a family physician at Dalhousie University’s Department of Family Medicine in Halifax. If you use a vaporizer, clean it thoroughly first so you aren’t inhaling mold or bacteria. “Sitting in the bathroom with a steam bath going may also be helpful,” says Zed.
Take in extra liquids
Drink lots of water, or comforting warm beverages like herbal tea or broth. Fluids will prevent dehydration and make your throat feel better. They’ll also thin mucus and reduce the risk of lung or ear infections. But avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, as they can contribute to dehydration instead of preventing it.
Give your nose some TLC
A saline solution (nasal spray or drops) can ease stuffiness in your nose. “It prevents damage to the tissue, and it clears passages and allows the mucus to move along,” says Zed. Plus it’s perfectly safe. “Saline is inert, so you can use it as needed.” That’s an advantage over medicated nasal sprays, which can lead to rebound congestion later. You can buy a saline rinse at the drugstore, or even make it at home using pickling salt, baking soda and boiled water.