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Fighting a Cold? Wield These Weapons

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By Sarah Krupp / www.divinecaroline.com

Getting sick always seems to happen at the absolute worst time possible—there’s a big project at work, your in-laws are coming to town, or you’re leaving on a scuba diving trip in a few days.

Blaming your kids, coworkers, or kissing companion for contaminating you might make you feel better for a while, but now it’s time to figure out how to get better and fast. Common misconceptions about what we should and shouldn’t do while sick can only prolong the illness. What really works?

Let It Out
Unladylike yes, but your body is turning your nose into a spout and your mouth into an ejector for a good reason. It’s creating extra mucus to flush out the pathogens that are making you sick. When you cough, your body is trying to expel mucus and foreign substances. Take all this within reason, though. If the coughing is so bad that it’s keeping you awake at night or you are going to be close to people you don’t want to affect, you can use a suppressant, which prevents the coughing reflex. If the mucus begins to feel so thick that it’s clogging your throat, an expectorant will thin the viscous substance. Drinking a lot of water and breathing in steam from a shower, a pot of boiling water, or a vaporizer will also help.

Go Home, Mother Theresa!
Everyone hates the sick martyr who drags her ailing self to work, blowing, coughing, and sneezing, leaving heaps of crumpled tissues in her wake. Before heading to work, consider the following. The first few days of an illness are the most contagious, so staying home may mean sparing your coworkers. If you are too achy and tired to be productive, what’s the point? Rest will help you recover more quickly and at home you can cough and blow your nose in peace.

Run, Bike, Swim
Your throat feels tingly and your nose a bit runny but the rest of you is craving exercise. Then do it. Just don’t overdo it. For physically active people, giving up exercise can just compound that sick feeling. Try not to push yourself too hard, focus on low impact exercises and lifting weights, and if you begin to get woozy, stop.

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EmpowHER Guest

Wow is this person wrong about dairy!

July 23, 2009 - 8:51am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.