Have you ever noticed that it is much easier it is to get sick as soon as a stressful period (i.e. midterms and finals) is over? Your immune system is finally settling back down after all of your late nights cramming, but instead of enjoying the time after your exams, you are stuck with a cold. We’ve all been there.
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Here are a few tricks courtesy of Web MD to help alleviate your cold and congestion so you can get on to relaxing!
- Drink plenty of fluids to help break up your congestion. This will help prevent dehydration and keep your throat moist. Most people should drink at least 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses of fluid daily. You should include fluids such as water, sports drinks, herbal teas, fruit drinks, or ginger ale. A study conducted at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found evidence that chicken soup contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent a cold’s side effects.
- Inhale steam to ease your congestion and stuffy nose. Hold your head over a pot of boiling water with a towel draped over your head to trap the steam and breathe slowly through your nose. You can also use a humidifier to get the same effect. Moisture from a hot shower with the door closed or saline nasal spray is just as helpful for easing congestion.
- Rinse your nose with salt water. Speaking of nasal sprays, use them or make your own salt water rinse to irrigate your nose. Salt-water rinsing helps break nasal congestion while also removing virus particles and bacteria from your nose. My current go-to nasal spray contains xylitol, which helps moisturize nasal passages more than traditional saline spray.
- Blow your nose often–but do it the proper way. Blowing too hard can cause extra pressure, which can then carry germ-carrying phlegm back into your ear passages, causing earaches. The best way to blow your nose is to press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other.
- Gargle with warm salt water. Much like how saline sprays can help break up nasal congestion, gargling can help moisten a sore or scratchy throat and bring temporary relief.
- Drink hot liquids. Heating up the fluids you intake will help relieve some of the congestion, while also preventing dehydration and soothing the inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat.
- Last but not least, stay warm and rested. Staying warm and resting when you first come down with a cold helps your body direct its energy toward the immune battle. Colds are hard on the body, so giving it a little help by lying down under a warm blanket will help you feel better.
You have made it past exams, so what you deserve now is a few days off to heal your body before you enjoy the sun outside!
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