It’s the rainy season in Nigeria and the weather is generally cold these days. When its effect takes over your body, it can seem like you’re at the mercy of the virus when it comes to how long it will last.
A runny nose, sore throat, cough, congestion, mild body aches and headaches, sneezing, and low-grade fevers can leave you feeling exhausted before your symptoms start to clear up. While they’re typically harmless, it can take up to two weeks to start feeling better.
Here’s exactly what you can do fight them off all season long, so you can save those sick days for something more fun.
Get plenty of sleep
A good snooze is key when it comes to preventing colds. In one JAMA Internal Medicine study, researchers gave 153 healthy men and women nasal drops containing rhinovirus and tracked their sleep habits.
They found that people who regularly got less than seven hours of sleep were three times more likely to come down with a cold than those who slept eight hours or more each night.
Load up on zinc
Research suggests that zinc can actually decrease the growth of viruses. Plus, taking zinc seems to reduce the duration and severity of symptoms right after they come on, according to the NIH.
Label your drinking glass
When a family member has a cold, try to use disposable glasses or label glasses. This can help to prevent accidental spread of the virus.
And be extra careful when it comes to sharing objects that can get contaminated by a family member who is sick, such as telephones, towels, or utensils.
Power up with probiotics
Not all bacteria are bad—the good kind of bugs in your gut, found in probiotic foods like yogurt might give your immune system a boost. After all, a large portion of your immune system can be found right in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
The bottom line: Prevention really is the best medicine when it comes to the common cold.
But don’t freak out if you do get sick—most adults get at least one or two colds every year. Just keep an eye on how long it lasts: If you’re having high fevers or persistent symptoms, be sure to see your doctor to make sure that nothing else is going on.