Your At-Home Care Guide for the Common Cold

Now that winter is right on our heels, the threat of catching a cold is more prominent than ever. Since we spend so much time indoors at this time of year, it means we will also be stuck cohabiting with a bunch of sick people at school and work. Even if you wash your hands frequently and take nutritional supplements to stay healthy, there's no guarantee that you will make it through the winter without catching a seasonal cold.

Getting a winter cold is even more frustrating if you have to take care of yourself. Luckily, there are plenty of simple ways to feel better, even if you don't have your parents, roommate or significant other to take care of you. Since more people are living alone than ever, taking care of yourself in the case of a bad cold has become a necessity. The next time you're feeling sick, rely on these tips to quell your cough and ease your cold symptoms.

Hydrate like a thirsty fish

The best thing you can do when you're sick? Drink water, even when you're not thirsty. Water is essential in thinning your body's mucous membranes. This, in turn, makes it easier for your body to flush out nasty bacteria from your system. You'll notice that it will be easier to blow your nose and cough gross phlegm out of your body. This is vital since all that bacteria typically accumulate in your mucous. Instead of sniffing it back in, be sure to expel it as needed.

While drinking more water means you might have to use the bathroom more frequently, it's worth it. Drinking water is especially necessary if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhea. Losing fluids through sweat or excessive bowel movements necessitate drinking more water later. Otherwise, you might suffer the harmful effects of dehydration.

Gargle plenty of salt water

​​​​Gargling warm salt water reduces inflammation in the throatWhen you have a sore throat and a cough, it can be hard to get anything down. But drinking water and eating healthy food (holiday dinners totally count here) are the best things you can do when you have a lingering cold that won't quit. Ensure you're able to get those necessary nutrients and fluids by gargling salt water as needed. 

Gargling warm salt water is a natural home remedy, but a temporary fix to your sore throat. Repeating this move a few times each day can reduce inflammation and swelling, making it easier to ingest food later on. 

You can also drink warm, salty soups to achieve a similar effect. This also has the added benefit of giving you much-needed nutrients and calories, two things you need the most when you're sick. It’s a good time to pull out the recipe for your signature soup or a cookbook to discover something new to suit your cold’s needs. 
Tip: Make a double batch of soup and you’ll have extra leftovers to last a few days and more time to rest in-between. 

Stay home from work

It's tempting to keep working when you're sick, but this is actually one of the worst things you can do with a cold. Not only are you putting your other coworkers at risk, but you're also going to stress yourself out. Unless you get the rest you need, your body won't recover in a timely manner. At the end of the day, going to work sick will simply make you feel worse for longer.

Additionally, working while your sick will also lower your productivity. Take those sick days and be sure to get plenty of rest in lieu of a day at the office. Your body -- and your coworkers -- will thank you later.

Get plenty of sleep

When you're sick, the best doctors will tell you that you need to recharge. This might mean forgoing your daily run in exchange for a movie marathon on the couch.

The best thing you can do is get plenty of rest, including a nice long nap. Nobody ever regretted taking a nap, especially when they were sick. This is your body's way of telling you it needs time to slow down. By resting, all your body's energy will focus on protecting your immune system. When you're sick, leave the guilt at the door and focus on getting better.

Visit your local urgent care clinic for fast, friendly care

If you have a high fever or long-lasting cold, you'll need to get help sooner than later. Unfortunately, your doctor or primary care physician might not be available when you need them most. If you're in need of urgent medical attention for your nasty cold, you can find some of the best doctors and friendliest care teams at your local urgent care center. An estimated 85% of urgent care clinics are open seven days per week, including weekends, making urgent care a convenient option no matter when you are sick. 

Your Immediate Clinic urgent care provider will be able to assess your health and prescribe the necessary medications (if any are needed). If you're suffering from the flu or another virus, however, you'll simply have to wait it out. Antibiotics do not help treat the common cold. Luckily, following the above tips can help ease the worst of your symptoms. If your symptoms are particularly bad, your provider might recommend taking ibuprofen or another pain reliever to help reduce inflammation or any headaches you might experience. The providers at Immediate Clinic will help make you feel as comfortable as possible.

Rely on these tips to help feel better when you're struck with the common cold. And when you're looking for compassionate care at your convenience, you’ll find the best providers at your neighborhood Immediate Clinic. Can’t make it to a clinic? Try an online visit with a medical provider instead. MultiCare Virtual Care is a great alternative to getting the care you need wherever you need it. See a medical provider now from the comfort of your computer, tablet or phone. 

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