When the initial chilly symptoms emerge, covering yourself with blankets and making a plea to the decongestant deities may seem like your sole choice. However, you don’t have to accept days or weeks of feeling unwell: Understanding how to eliminate a cold quickly can reduce the duration of your sickness.
In this article, specialists share how to heal a cold swiftly, overnight. Follow these suggestions after the first sniffle or sneeze, and you’ll quickly recover your well-being within a mere 24 hours.
7 a.m. Step into a steaming shower.
Wishing to discover how to eradicate a cold in 24 hours? You’ll want to follow these steps as soon as possible — yes, that entails completing them first thing in the morning. It may be challenging to drag yourself out of bed when you wake up with discomfort and sniffles, but a hot shower can alleviate the congestion that worsens from sleeping horizontally all night. The mist and humidity assist in loosening mucus and clearing your nasal passages, allowing for easier breathing, according to E. Neil Schachter, M.D., the author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu. (Insider tip: Experiment with hanging eucalyptus in the shower for added decongestant advantages.)
8 a.m. Consume two tablespoons of elderberry syrup.
Head to a health food store for elderberry syrup if you want to eliminate a common cold (unless you’re taking immunosuppressant drugs, in which case, avoid elderberry). This syrup, derived from elderberries themselves, possesses antiviral properties and enhances the immune system, as stated by Heather Jeney, M.D., a pediatric hospitalist in New Jersey. Take 2 tablespoons of the syrup up to three times daily to reduce both the severity and duration of a cold or flu.
Bonus: This approach also serves as a precautionary measure if you’ve been in contact with someone afflicted by the common cold (think: your congested toddler or your sneezing colleague).
9 a.m. Forego cereal and coffee in favor of eggs and tea.
Merely altering your breakfast may aid in the elimination of a cold. Eggs provide a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine vital amino acids — a crucial factor since studies reveal that protein enhances the body’s ability to combat infections. Accompany your omelet or over-easy eggs with a steaming cup of tea seasoned with lemon and honey.
Honey functions more effectively than a prescribed cough syrup at alleviating a cough by enveloping the posterior region of the throat,” declares Zeyad Baker, M.D., of Baker Pediatrics in Edgewater, New Jersey. (In case you require inspiration, here are 20 rapid and effortless methods to prepare eggs.)
12:30 p.m. Sprinkle your salad with garbanzo beans and pepitas.
Both toppings are beneficial sources of zinc — a nutrient that aids in enhancing your body’s response to infection and reducing inflammation. There is evidence that demonstrates that consuming zinc during the first 24 hours of a cold can help decrease its duration and severity, as stated by Dr. Schachter. Alternatively, visit a pharmacy for zinc lozenges and take two daily until your cold improves.
2 p.m. Refill your hydration container.
Your hydration container may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering how to quickly heal a cold overnight. However, proper hydration is crucial when battling an illness because a low-grade fever causes an increase in the amount of fluid that evaporates from the body, putting you at a higher risk of dehydration. Additionally, consuming adequate fluids aids in removing mucus that accumulates in the nose and throat, as advised by Dr. Schachter. Make it a priority to consume two more cups of fluids than your usual intake — and by the way, tea and soups contribute to your daily quota.
3 p.m. Go for a stroll.
When you’re feeling sluggish, a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood can boost your energy and alleviate your symptoms. Moderate physical activity like walking can help stimulate deep breaths and open up your nasal passages, making it easier to breathe. Exercise also increases the number of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, which aids in regulating the immune system, according to a study published in the journal Gut.
6:30 p.m. Enjoy a bowl of chicken soup.
Your mother was right when she claimed that sipping chicken soup was the best remedy for a cold: The steam and ingredients in chicken soup can inhibit the chemicals that cause inflammation in the body, as mentioned by Dr. Schachter. Even if you don’t have access to homemade soup, regular canned soup works just as effectively in helping combat the cold, according to a study published in the journal Chest.
9 p.m. Clear your nasal passages and throat.
Mucus that remains congested overnight can lead to an infection, so it is essential to unclog them before going to bed. Use a saline rinse or gargle with saltwater to expel fluid and bacteria, as recommended by Dr. Schachter.
Schachter. (Or experiment with a neti pot to cleanse your nasal passages.)
10 p.m. Go to bed.
Staying awake to watch late-night television is not going to aid you in recovering from a cold quickly, overnight. Your body requires a minimum of seven hours of sleep to defend against illness, as per studies. To sleep soundly when you have nasal congestion, add an additional pillow to elevate your head higher, which assists in draining the sinuses and keeping your nasal passages unobstructed and clear, according to Dr. Schachter. (Still experiencing nasal congestion? Here’s a step-by-step guide if your cold symptoms continue beyond 24 hours.)
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