How to Make a Bad Cold Worse


Cold season has arrived. Lots of sneezing, snotting and runny noses will be all around us. If you find your luck has run out, only to realize that the common cold is descending upon on you, it’s time to act quick.

Many people inadvertently make a bad cold worse by doing stupid things, many of which encompass the daily routine in our lives – all of which should be avoided while trying to ditch a cold.

Cold Myths

sick kid cartoon faceRemember when Mom yelled at you to get in out of the rain or you’d catch cold? Well don’t be too hard on her because that’s what her Mom passed down, but in truth, you’ll simply enjoy your rainy day a little more. There’s also no greater risk for catching a cold by grabbing your newspaper with a wet head or running around in cold weather without your coat. These things might make you cold but they won’t give you a cold.

How about the the oft-repeated advice to “take zinc or echinacea to get rid of a cold fast”? Unfortunately, neither have ever been proven to be effective in treating cold symptoms. There have been numerous studies on zinc and echinacea and none have ever provided conclusive evidence of helping to heal the common cold in incidence of illness or severity of illness. These homeopathic remedies will most often only yield financial reward for the manufacturers of the products.

Another prevalent cold myth is that you can “sweat out a cold” by layering on extra clothes and blankets. It’s probably going to make you feel a little better, since cold chills are usually part of a severe cold, but there’s no evidence that sweating more is going to help the cold leave any faster.

And finally, there’s an old saying to “starve a cold and feed a fever”. While neither has been proven effective in curing a cold, there’s anecdotal evidence that eating light and drinking more water allow cold viruses to be more quickly removed from the system – as less energy is being spent on digestion.

How to Worsen a Bad Cold

man in bed with thermometer in mouthTime and rest are the best healers for the common cold and this combination trumps all medicines and home remedies. While there’s little else that proves effective in fighting a cold, there are certainly ways to worsen a cold.

Avoid the Following:

1. Drinking a lot of alcohol. It feels like it’s warming the body and helping you out but it’s actually dehydrating you further and making congestion a greater problem than before. Drink water – lots of it.

2. Stressing. Stress produces stress hormones and these can interfere with the immune system and the body’s ability to repair itself.

3. Overdosing on decongestant sprays. While they tend to make a person feel better at first, decongestant sprays can actually make your stuffy nose all the stuffier after several days of continued use.

4. Smoking cigarettes. It’s a fact that smokers get sick more often than non-smokers – colds and illnesses both. Even if you can’t kick the habit of smoking on an every day basis, you need to stop smoking when you are battling a cold. Smoke makes an already struggling immune system struggle all the more in it’s quest to fight off cold viruses.

5. Convince yourself you’re not sick. There’s a big difference between thinking positive and pretending that you’re not being affected by a cold. The latter means refusal to rest and allow your body to fight infection. If you’re a fan of positive thinking, lay in bed and be positive that you’re making the best choice for curing your cold.

6. Stay busy. It’s tempting to try and save those sick days for when you don’t need them but sleep is the best cure for the common cold. Get plenty of rest. Lack of sleep increases susceptibility of catching a cold in the first place, but it’s also a sure way to ensure your cold will last longer.

Over one billion people catch a cold every year in the United States alone. While it’s sometimes difficult to lay in bed at home all day, anything less is a sure bet to make a bad cold worse.

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