9 tried-and-tested ways to help yourself feel better when you’re fighting a cold

Feeling a bit under the weather? These tried-and-tested tips will help to make the process of fighting a cold or flu a little easier.

With the weather growing colder and rainy days becoming a more frequent occurrence, it’s no surprise to see the number of people struggling with a cold beginning to rise.

It’s one of those frustrating things which tends to befall us all at some point during autumn and winter – one day, you notice a slight sniffle, and the next, it feels like razor blades are passing their way through your throat with every swallow. In short, it’s rubbish.

But just as there are things you can do to boost your immune system and try to avoid catching a cold in the first place, there are also things you can do to help your body fight off a cold and, perhaps most importantly, ease those frustrating symptoms.  

So, to give you the tools you need to get through the chaos of cold season, we’ve put together this list of the best ways to make yourself feel better while fighting a cold. Keep reading to get started.

NB: if you have any of the three main coronavirus symptoms (high temperature, new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) you should consider taking a test, staying home and isolating yourself from others.

  • Drink lots of water

    Staying hydrated is key when you’re feeling under the weather.

    If you don’t already drink lots of water, now’s the time to get on it. Not only is drinking lots of water great if you’ve got a fever (it helps to replace the water you lose through sweat), but good hydration is said to help ease congestion.  

  • Make honey and lemon

    Honey is a powerful ingredient with plenty of benefits.

    Honey and lemon is one of those classic cold remedies – and for good reason. Adding a splash of lemon juice to your drinks is said to help ease congestion, and honey is bursting with incredible qualities; a study from the University of Oxford showed that it is more effective at beating respiratory tract infections than commonly prescribed medicines.

    Indeed, as Dr Claudia Pastides, GP for Babylon Healthcare, previously told Stylist, honey is full of compounds known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiviral effects, which help to relieve inflammation in the throat and upper airways. 

  • Have a hot bath (or shower)

    The steam from a hot bath can do wonders for your congestion.

    If your cold has left you feeling stiff and achey, taking a nice long dip in a hot bath could do just the trick. 

    The steam from a hot bath (or shower) can help to loosen mucus, and adding an essential oil like tea tree or peppermint to the water can help to soothe your nasal passages.

  • Invest in some good tissues

    Ditch the loo roll and opt for some soft, soothing tissues.

    Using good tissues may not alleviate any of your symptoms, but it will make the process of dealing with them feel that little bit nicer. Go on, you deserve it. 

  • Grab a hot water bottle

    A hot water bottle is a free and easy way to relieve muscle ache.

    In a similar way that a hot bath or shower can help with muscle cramps or aches, a hot water bottle can help to relax muscles. It’s also a good way to stay warm – something scientists have found helps to boost your body’s immune response. 

  • Drink hot liquids

    Hot liquids can provide relief from cold and flu symptoms.

    You’re not imagining it: drinking a hot cup of tea or squash can help you to feel better when you’re fighting a cold. In fact, a study from Cardiff University previously found that a hot drink of fruit cordial can provide “immediate and sustained relief” from cold symptoms such as a runny nose, cough or sore throat. 

  • Sleep, sleep, sleep

    Getting a good night’s sleep allows your body to rest and recuperate.

    It may seem simple, but getting lots of sleep is one of the best things you can do when you’re fighting a cold. 

    Not only will getting a good night’s sleep boost your mental health and help you to feel more awake in general, but sleep is critical for regulating your immune system and facilitating the release of T-cells – the white blood cells that help to fend off infection. 

  • Lay a damp facecloth on your forehead

    Placing a damp facecloth on your forehead is a simple but effective way to cool yourself down.

    If you’re feeling particularly feverish, using a damp facecloth as a cold compress is an easy way to cool yourself down. It can help you to feel more refreshed and slightly less grotty even if you haven’t got a fever, too. 

  • Chat to a friend

    Texting a friend can distract you from how you’re feeling.

    Outside of the realms of physical health, having a cold can make you feel a bit rubbish mentally, too – especially if you have to miss out on seeing friends and family as a result. 

    To counteract this, reach out to a friend or family member if you’re feeling up to it. Not only will it help you to cheer you up, but it’s also a great way to distract yourself from your symptoms. 

Images: Getty

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