When you’re sick, you want to get better ASAP. You know you need to rest and drink plenty of fluids. But there's other things you can do to nurse yourself back to health. Try one (or more) of these tips. It might help you feel like yourself faster.
You need to stay hydrated, and ice cubes work well to numb a sore throat. For extra flavor, pour fruit juice into ice cube trays, freeze them, and suck on the cubes when you need to. You could even put in a popsicle stick if you like.
2. Mist things up.
Dry air can irritate your nose, throat, and lungs -- a problem that gets worse with a cold or the flu. A humidifier might help ease a sore throat or a cough that just won't quit. Use a cold-water humidifier to avoid burn injuries. Be sure to clean it regularly and thoroughly or it could pump mold and bacteria into the air. And don't let your room get too misty or mold and dust mites will thrive. An inexpensive device you can get at a hardware store called a humidistat can help you keep tabs on the level -- 30% to 55% humidity is ideal.
3. Think about zinc.
Your friend might swear by one cold-fighting formula and your mom by another.
Research in this area is still evolving. Right now, though, there's little proof that dietary supplements will help relieve your cold. So far, the greatest amount of evidence points to zinc, though it's hardly ironclad. Several studies found it offered no benefit.
If you want to try it, stick with zinc lozenges. The FDA recommends you don’t use OTC nasal sprays with zinc because it might harm your sense of smell. To avoid nausea and an upset stomach, don't take more than 30 milligrams (mg) a day.
4. Go heavy on the garlic.
Garlic has natural chemicals in it that may counter viruses and bolster immune system cells. It may be in your chicken soup recipe already, and of course it's also great with pasta, sautéed veggies, and countless other dishes. One study suggests that if you take garlic supplements during cold season, you might recover more quickly.