While flu shots make you less susceptible to catching influenza, unfortunately there’s no vaccine to prevent the common cold, nor is there a cure for it. That’s why it’s smart to make a shopping list for cold season remedies and stay ahead of the game where your winter-time health is concerned. We make emergency kits for natural disasters and camping trips, so it only makes sense to also be prepared to tackle this common health occurrence.
About the Common Cold
It’s best to know as much as possible about the common cold so you can prepare appropriately, so here’s a short refresher:
- Colds are virus-based infections of your nose and throat.
- Cold symptoms can include headaches, sore throat, runny nose, chills, fever, muscle pain, watery eyes, upset stomach, sinus pressure, fatigue/exhaustion and congestion.
- The average person catches two to four colds per year, so staying informed about common cold treatments is vital.
Essential Items to Help You Cope with a Cold
When crafting your cold season supply kit, don’t just focus on medicines; develop a comprehensive list of items you’ll need to feel more comfortable as you navigate the unpleasant symptoms of your cold.
- In the early stages of the cold you’ll want to be sure to have a thermometer to take your temperature for possible fever. If your temperature soars above 103º you should call a doctor.
- You should also have soft tissues on hand for a potentially runny nose; lip balm to keep your lips from drying out and a eucalyptus-based rub to help keep your sinuses clear.
- Plus, stock up on pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen to ease any aches that arrive, in addition to cold medicines that can help with coughing and decongestion.
- Don’t forget to use hand sanitizer to help prevent the spread of your cold to others around you. And finally, disinfect frequently used surfaces and counter tops with a bleach-based home cleanser to ensure you’ve killed all of the germs.
Essential Items to Help You Recover from a Cold
The items you use to recover from a cold greatly depends on personal preference and the severity of what you’re enduring. The main thing is to stay hydrated and to get enough rest so your body can heal. Some of the most common items to keep on hand for use during recovery include:
- Chicken soup and broth to sipww
- Cough drops/throat lozenges and/or hard candy to soothe a sore throat
- Bananas, rice, applesauce and bread for toast (to ease stomach upset)
- A good book, newspaper or magazine that you can lay and read as your body rests
- Nose spray to regulate breathing
- A heating pad to soothe sore muscles
- Water, tea and other clear liquids to stay hydrated
- A vaporizer or humidifier to help moisten the air
- Vitamins like zinc and Vitamin C that may help shorten the effects of a cold
- Warm saltwater to gargle
- Fruit juices without added sugars to replenish your nutrients
- Foods high in antioxidants (blueberries, red onions, broccoli) to help fight germsfamwwm
- Chili peppers and garlic to help clear your sinuses naturally
You’ll want to avoid antibiotics (those only help with bacterial infections), caffeinated and alcoholic drinks because they can further dehydrate you.
Talk to a doctor
If you have a cold that won’t go away or would like additional help in treating it, schedule an appointment today with a medical professional. The doctors at our Western Washington Medical Group Family Practice are a great resource, and if you have general health questions, submit them via the form on this page.