That’s the fourth sneeze in a row. There’s a strange ache behind your eyes. And, yes, that little tickle is the beginning of a scratchy throat. No doubt about it: You’re getting sick.
Don’t give in to sniffles and congestion just yet. These four tips can help you stop a cold in its tracks. OK, that might be hyperbole; there’s no known cure for the common cold. But at least you can ease the symptoms.
- Sip chicken soup, stat! It’s not an old wives’ tale. A University of Nebraska study proved chicken soup really does help relieve symptoms of a cold. Apparently, soup contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent a cold’s miserable side effects.
- Take zinc. You can shave two days off a cold with zinc, according to a 2012 study. Look for lozenges with zinc acetate or zinc gluconate and take one every couple of hours while you have symptoms.
- Try vitamin C. Forget what you’ve heard; vitamin C can’t prevent a cold. But an analysis of 29 trials found popping vitamin C 1,000 milligrams a day as soon as you feel the first symptom may reduce your downtime by about 8 percent.
- Stock up on shut-eye. While you’re asleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines that combat infection. Regularly getting the appropriate amount of sleep will also help prevent more sniffles in the future. One study shows people who sleep less than seven hours a night are three times more likely than those who sleep at least eight hours to catch a common cold after exposure to a cold-causing virus.