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    Natural Ways to Kick a Cold

    By Paige Axel
    WebMD Feature

    Trying to get over a cold? There are lots of things you can do to ease the symptoms as you get better. Here some easy ones.

    Turn Up the Heat

    When a cold strikes, chicken soup and hot tea can ease your symptoms. The reason: heat. As the warmth moves down your throat toward your stomach, it helps loosen mucus, making it easier to cough out.

    Steam works the same way. Sitting in the bathroom with a hot shower running can relieve your stuffy nose and head.

    Stay Hydrated

    When you have a cold, your body makes more mucus. Making mucus uses up your body's moisture.

    Getting extra fluids thins out mucus and makes it less sticky, which makes it easier blow or cough out. Limit drinks with caffeine and alcohol, as they can be dehydrating.

    Soothe Your Skin

    You blow your nose a lot when you have a cold. The result can be red, chapped skin on and beneath your nose.

    Add a dab of petroleum jelly to the raw area, or use facial tissues that contain lotion.

    Gargle Salt Water

    If you have a sore throat, make a salt-water gargle by mixing a teaspoon of salt in a small glass of warm water. The salty-warm combo provides short-term relief.

    Consider Supplements

    Some supplements have been found to shorten -- but not cure -- colds. Ask your doctor about zinc, vitamin C, and echinacea.

    Tell your doctor before starting any new supplement or medication. Your doctor will make sure it won't interact with any other drug you're taking.

    Prevent the Spread

    You should stay home while you're getting over your cold. If you have to go out, try to limit the number of people you come in contact with.

    Cover your mouth with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze to keep from getting germs on your hands. A little courtesy goes a long way.

    Hang in there. The common cold usually goes away in about a week, so take it easy, take care of yourself, and you’ll be back to normal before you know it.

    Reviewed on October 21, 2013

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