Are You Making Your Cold Worse?

Common cold

UGH! You’ve caught another cold. (Darn you, germy children or coworkers!) There must be something you can do to get rid of it faster. But be careful. These things can actually make you worse:

  • Antibiotics. Colds are caused by viruses, so antibiotics are useless. They only fight bacterial infections. Taking them for a cold can make it harder to fight bacterial infections in the future.
  • Pretending you’re well. Faking it until you make it robs you of resting time to get well and risks spreading germs to others. (Darn you … you!)
  • Overdoing over-the-counter (OTC) cold products. Medicated decongestant nasal sprays may provide short-term relief, but overuse can actually make nasal congestion worse.

Here’s a cold hard truth: There are no magical cures for the common cold. So what works?

  • Take things slow and rest. And drink plenty of fluids to help your immune system destroy the virus.
  • Wash your hands often. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Isolate yourself. Stay home while you are sick. Avoid close contact with loved ones, too. (Netflix binge, anyone?)
  • Read labels and use OTC cold relief remedies as directed. Pain relievers and decongestants may provide symptom relief, but they won’t shorten your cold.

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