10 Actions to Take at The First Sign of Cold and/or Cough

"A 2020 study on COVID-19 patients found that steam inhalation greatly 'reduced viral shedding' from infected patients and improved overall symptoms"

Sometimes a cold comes out of nowhere. One minute you’re hitting the gym and looking forward to the weekend, and then you suddenly can’t get out of bed. And other times, your body sends little hints that you’re coming down with something. This might be a tickle in your throat or a general feeling of fatigue. This time is typically referred to as the “incubation period,” which occurs about two to three days after being exposed to a virus. 

While you might try to ignore the symptoms and hope for the best, there are some important steps you can take to minimize your chances of spending the rest of the week in bed. Learn how to relieve a cold in 10 easy steps at the very first sign of symptoms. 

1. Listen to Your Body & Rest  

To help your immune system do its job more efficiently and fight off an oncoming cold, it’s imperative that you rest. In a 2015 study in which participants received a dose of rhinovirus, those who slept  fewer than 5 hours of sleep per night had a 4.5 times greater risk of developing the common cold than those who slept for more than 7 hours per night.1  

2. Stay Hydrated with Warm Liquids 

Staying hydrated is always important, but especially when you are coming down with a cold or cough. Liquids help to ease congestion by thinning your mucus and support a healthy immune system. Try drinking warm liquids like tea and broth to also keep your throat lubricated as one of the first signs of a cold is a sore throat.

3. Use Brillia Health 

Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery and Cough Control work with your body to reduce symptoms associated with colds, flus and coughs, or prevent these symptoms altogether. By taking Brillia Health at the first sign of a cold or cough, your body has a chance to heal itself instead of being overloaded with synthetic chemicals found in other over-the-counter medications. Brillia Health products have been clinically proven to shorten the duration of illness by boosting your body’s immune response. The non-prescription medication will not make you drowsy, dizzy, or cause an upset stomach, nor will it raise your heart rate or blood pressure.  By boosting your body’s immune response, you’ll fight off your cold/flu/cough faster and get back to feeling like yourself again.  

4. Turn to Humidifiers

By increasing moisture in the air,  humidifiers can help ease early symptoms of a cold or flu like nasal congestion and a dry cough. This can be especially helpful if you find it difficult to breathe clearly or fall asleep. Research indicates that humidifiers may also help ward off illness by slowing the spread of bacteria and germs.2

5. Try Probiotics  

Probiotics are often used as dietary supplements or remedies for a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. However, there is also evidence that shows probiotics can have a preventative effect when it comes to colds and flus.3 Probiotics can be taken as a supplement, but they are also found in common foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir. 

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6. Use Saline Nasal Sprays

If you feel like your nose is blocked, try using a saline nasal spray to clear out excess mucus and relieve inflammation in your airways. While nasal sprays are easily found over the counter, it is also possible to make this at home by combining sterile water with baking soda in a clean container and using a syringe or neti pot.4 

7. Gargle with Salt Water  

Similar to how saline clears out the nasal passages, gargling salt water can help clear bacteria and soothe your throat. The Mayo Clinic suggests mixing 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water to relieve a sore or scratchy throat and ward off inflammation.5 

8. Explore Herbal Remedies

From chamomile to elderberry, there are a number of herbal remedies you can use to help fight off a cold. Try taking a medicinal tea to lubricate your throat, clear up congestion, soothe your cough, and support your immune system while helping you get the rest you need. 

9. Eat Honey! 

Due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects, honey is a sweet way to fight off your cold by easing inflammation and soothing a sore throat. A 2021 study found that honey was actually more effective than other common treatments at improving the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.6 Just remember that honey should never be given to children under age one. 

10. Take Steamy Showers

Don’t have a humidifier? Try taking a steamy shower instead. A 2020 study on COVID-19 patients found that steam inhalation greatly “reduced viral shedding” from infected patients and improved overall symptoms, including dry cough, headache, and sore throat.7 Inhaling steam has also been long used to clear nasal congestion so you can breathe easier. Taking a steamy shower before bed may also help you get to sleep faster.  

The next time you feel that tickle at the back of your throat or have a deep urge to go home early and crawl back into bed, remember that you don’t have to accept defeat. By taking action early your cold won’t stand a chance, although crawling back into bed might actually be a good idea. 

Find more resources on how to stay healthy all year long at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center.

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References: 1https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/38/9/1353/2417971, 2https://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/11/healthmag.humidifier.flu/index.html, 3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3560336/, 4https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-get-rid-of-a-cold#saline-rinse, 5https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/cold-remedies/art-20046403, 6https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32817011/, 7https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002432052031554X?via%3Dihub

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