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There’s no need to dance around the subject – there’s nothing more annoying than a cold. You’re tired, miserable and achy all over. When you bundle up, you’re too hot, and when you’re without a blanket, you’re freezing. There aren’t enough Kleenexes in the world to stop your faucet of a nose from running, and you’re that girl in class who’s constantly coughing, sneezing, nose-blowing, and trying to subtly unwrap Halls. You’re one busy person with zero time to drag around a cold, but ‘tis the season! Everyone is getting sick, so if you get hit, here are 7 ways to get rid of a cold: 

1. Stay Hydrated
The science behind this (unappealing as it sounds) is that staying hydrated will thin out the mucus and gunk stuck in your sinuses, making it easier for you to cough it out. Staying hydrated is particularly important if you have a fever, since your body will be draining more liquid. Water is best of course, but anything caffeine and alcohol-free will help. 

2. Mucus is Key
There’s more than one way to thin out that nasty mucus that’s clogging you up. The thinner it is, the sooner you can get rid of it (and therefore put an end to this snotty conversation). Throwing pepper, curry powder, garlic or other pungent spices into your soup will do the trick. In the same spirit, you could take an extra-long hot shower and transform your bathroom into your own personal sauna to open up your airways.    

3. Have a Cuppa
There’s some truth to all these old wives’ tales about hot water clearing up your sinuses. In India, turmeric tea is used to kick a cold. If you want to take your tea game to the extra mile, David’s Tea has an entire collection of cold fighting teas whose ingredients boost your immune system, clear your sinuses, soothe a sore throat, and then some. The lovely ladies and gentlemen of David’s Tea are friendly and make great recommendations, and best of all, there’s one located by the food court in the Rideau Centre, just a hop away from campus! Their most popular cold survival tea is Cold 911, which is a mix of eucalyptus, juniper and peppermint that has the added advantage of being delicious.   

4. Nature Knows
All sorts of ingredients can do many wonderful things to speed up your recovery. Horseradish can ease up your head congestion, and so does garlic, which also gives a boost to your immune system. Ginger stimulates the creation of a protein called interferon as well as mucus (which, despite being a nuisance, is helpful to fighting off a viral infection like the common cold). Chili peppers also produce de-stuffing antioxidants (in this case capsaicin). Apple cider vinegar can be added to your tea, or used to ease your congestion; soak a towel in it and then lay it on your chest for an hour! For some extra immune-boosting vitamin C, consider lemon, peppermint tea, orange juice, or even a spoonful of honey. A big part of recovering from a cold is paying attention to your symptoms and targeting them specifically. For example, my mom swears by putting Vicks on her feet overnight, but that’s never worked for me! It’s important to try different things to get to know your body. 

5. Stay Warm
Bundle up in the morning – you’ll look adorable in extra layers, scarves and beanies and you’ll be cozy as can be! This mostly prevents your cold from worsening, and helps your immune system fight one bug at a time. If you’re having trouble breathing through your nose, or if a headache is bringing you down, a warm and moist compress over your cheeks and sinuses can help clear you up. 

6. Spray Away
Decongestant sprays are available in most pharmacies and work for fast relief (always make sure to follow the directions and dosage on the product). A salt water spray works the same way, but what’s great is that you can use it for as long as you want without causing additional congestion. Plus, you can make these at home! WebMD recommends a quarter of a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of baking soda for eight ounces of water. Pro tip: Gargling salt water can also soothe a sore throat! 

7. A little TLC
Of course, you are trying to get rid of your cold ASAP because you’re a busy person in over your head with projects and classes and work and whatnot. But, being stressed actually increases your chance of getting a cold, as your entire immune system is weakened by your body’s production of a hormone called cortisol. When you’re stressed, upset, or tired, your mood sinks and, believe it or not, that affects your immune system directly. 

Also, you’ll need as much sleep as possible (and then some). Bonus tip: if night-time congestion is keeping you from sleeping as well as you’d like, prop your head up with some pillows to put your airways in the right position. In your waking hours, invest in some serious self-care to cut down on stress. Work out, listen to music, curl up with a blanket and a movie, soak in a bath, and take a day off. Listen to your body; it might just return this kindness with a speedy recovery.


Sources: 1,2,3,4


First year arts student pursuing honours in English. Long time reader, writer and hot beverage enthusiast. Very small, very French. Stay tuned.
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