11 Ways to Manage Your Cold Once You're Already Sick

If you’re experiencing what my family is going through at the moment, then at least one person (or as many as four!) is sick in your house right now. For us, the symptoms change slightly and flow freely from one person to the next. It’s the thing of nightmares. But beyond washing hands constantly, and trying to run for cover when someone is having a coughing fit, it can be hard to avoid catching the bug. That being said, there are things that can be done once you’re sick. There are a few ways to reduce the amount of time that you’re feeling awful, and they are worth a shot. Huffington Post has some suggestions.

1. Take your vitamins

“Zinc and vitamin C are both necessary for a thriving immune system.” If you can get these nutrients from food, they will be better absorbed by the body. Otherwise, you can turn to supplements. They’re not magic, by any stretch of the imagination, but they definitely can help.

2. Get some rest

It can be hard to slow down when you have a lot going on, but rest is extremely important if you don’t want to stay sick. Grab a nap whenever you can, and turn in earlier at night than you usually do to get the maximum number of hours. “Your immune system needs rest to regenerate,” Dr. Ian Tong, chief medical officer at Doctor On Demand, told HuffPost. “You can help maintain a healthy immune system by sleeping regularly.”

3. Go easy on your workouts

While it is important to exercise to stay healthy, you might be pushing your body beyond its limits if you work out while you’re fighting an illness. If exercise is a big part of your life, you should consider going out for a walk rather than hitting the treadmill for an intense workout. Plus, you might want to avoid the gym, since it is very easy to spread your germs to other members who use the same equipment.

4. Try to manage your stress

“Mental health and physical health go hand in hand, and stress can wallop your immune system,” according to Jonny Bowden, a health expert and board-certified nutritionist. While it can be particularly easy to feel even more stress when you’re sick, try your best to take lots of deep breaths throughout the day. Exacerbating your symptoms is not worth it.

5. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of fluids is essential for a speedy recovery. While water is the best option, you can get your liquids from soups, decaffeinated tea, and sports drinks as well.

6. Don’t skip meals

This is not a time for diets, or for rushing around and forgetting to eat. Food will provide your body with the nutrients and calories that it needs to fight off the sickness. Even if you’re lacking an appetite, try to eat at least something.

7. Save your energy

“Let yourself rest, recuperate and allow your body to recover,” Tong said. “Pushing your limits will take away important energy your body needs to get better.” So if you have the option to grab dinner with friends or to go home and veg out with Netflix, choose the latter. Your body will thank you.

8. Call out of work

Not only do you need the opportunity to get better, but it’s best to keep your cold away from your coworkers. They don’t need you touching phones, keyboards, and door handles with your germs.

9. Stay warm

“Bacteria and viruses thrive at cooler temperatures, so if you’re fighting a bug, it’s best to stay warm and dry,” Tong said. Frigid offices should definitely be avoided — they’re only making the problem worse.

10. Remember your hygiene

The only way to keep from passing on your germs is to disinfect as much as possible. That means washing hands thoroughly and often, using hand sanitizer when washing isn’t possible, and cleaning surfaces with disinfecting wipes.

11. See your doctor

Sometimes that cold that you thought was a virus might actually be bacterial in nature. In that case, your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic. Plus if you have the flu, then you can start on an anti-viral that will reduce the symptoms and the duration of your sickness.