Cold Care Basics

Practicing easy, basic cold care at home can help you feel better fast. These hints will help you banishing discomfort by tackling symptoms head on. By soothing irritated areas and reducing congestion, you can minimize the impact of your cold. By taking on a lot of fluids, you’ll make your symptoms more effective so that every cough and sneeze gives your body maximum benefit, reducing the duration of your illness. All you need to do is master these cold care basics, and you’ll be on the road to health in no time flat.

How To Soothe Irritated Areas
A chapped nose and a sore, scratchy throat are two of the most uncomfortable symptoms of a cold. For cold care that will give your battered nose some relief, rub a dollop of chapstick or another lip balm around your nostrils. This will give you maximum protection without leaving a greasy residue. If you’re cursed with a sore throat, soothe it with a lozenge that contains menthol, benzocaine, or phenol. One of these agents will serve as a light topical anesthetic, numbing your throat slightly so that you feel less pain or discomfort. A lozenge that also contains zinc has twice the cold care power, as it will boost your immune system and end the cold faster.

Why Steam Makes You Feel Great
Steam is a comforting, soothing cold care regimen because it minimizes discomfort on several levels at once. When you take a hot shower, drink a cup of tea, or slurp a bowl of soup, you will feel better almost immediately, and there are several reasons why. Warm steam coaxes your nasal passages open, which reduces congestion so that you can breathe more easily. Steam also relaxes your facial muscles, banishing the tension around your jaw that often comes with a sore throat. In addition, steam serves to keep you hydrated, which you’ll learn a bit more about later. For a great cold care habit that will leave you feeling pampered and breathing clearly no matter how stuffed up or clogged you are, fill a bowl with boiling water and lean over it, draping a towel across the back of your head to create a small “steam tent” over the bowl. Breathe deeply for five minutes, inhaling the soothing steam and letting it work its magic.

How Water Eases Congestion
Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water is a crucial part of cold care that both helps you feel better in the moment, and lays the groundwork for a speedier overall recovery. Much of the discomfort of a cold stems from the production of mucus, which your body uses to expel toxins and waste. When you drink water, you are allowing your system to keep the mucus membrane that lines your lungs hydrated and pliable. When this membrane is hydrated and in great shape, your body produces mucus that is thin, light, and easily moved by coughs and sneezes so that you can breathe freely. When this membrane is dehydrated, your system produces heavier mucus, which causes congestion, non-productive coughing, and many of the other symptoms that make having a cold miserable. Drinking at least eight full, six-ounce glasses of water each day when you are sick is an important cold care staple.

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