With winter just around the corner, many of us are keeping our fingers crossed that the dreaded cold virus doesn't hit. But if you should wake up with a case of the sniffles and a heavy head, here's what you can do to curtail your cold.
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Get some rest
With your body working hard to fight off the virus, it's even more important to get plenty of sleep to recharge the batteries. In fact, sleeping helps to strengthen the immune system - but research by scientists at New York University found that you'll only reap the benefits after the seventh hour of shut-eye. So don't scrimp on the sleep.
Okay, so you probably feel like wallowing under a warm blanket on the sofa, but a little, light exercise helps to kick-start your immune system. It doesn't have to be strenuous - in fact, yoga is ideal as it not only gives you an energy boost and acts as a gentle cardiovascular workout, but it's a great stress-reliever too.
Say no to sugar
Tempted to reach for the comfort of a chocolate digestive? Think again. Sugar only makes the work of the immunity-boosting vitamin C harder, which means if you load up on sweet treats, it's going to take longer to feel well again. Say no to the sugary tea and ditch the doughnuts - a daily dose of vitamin C will strengthen the white blood cells that fight off the virus, and give your immune system and your energy levels a lift.
Remedy the situation
Once the virus takes hold, you'll want to relieve the symptoms as well as shorten its duration. Over-the-counter remedies can help to lower a temperature and ease congestion and coughs, while simply gargling salt water and take away the pain of a sore throat. For an all-natural alternative, try taking zinc or echinacea, which has been proven to shorted the length of a cold by one and a half days.
Eat, drink and get well
Feeding your cold and keeping your fluids up is a failsafe option when it comes to fighting off the virus. It's no myth that chicken soup is the thing for this particular lurgy - scientists say it acts as an anti-inflammatory and helps to get that mucus moving, thereby easing congestion.
Drink plenty too as this will help to flush out those toxins and rehydrate your body. Instead of your usual morning caffeine fix, try green tea, which is packed with antioxidants, or add some vitamin C to a glass of water with a slice of fresh lemon.