Before you run to the drugstore and drop a bundle on over-the-counter medicines, think twice. Cold symptoms are your body’s way of dealing with an unwelcome virus. Common cold symptoms, fever, cough and runny nose, are actually part of the healing process. If the symptoms are not too severe, you may heal more quickly by living with them rather than treating them.

You give me fever.

A healthy reaction to infection and illness, fever heats up your body, making it less hospitable to germs. Taken orally, a body temperature ranging from 97.4 °F (36.3 °C) to 99.6 °F (37.6 °C) can be considered normal. Exercise, hot weather, a hot bath or wearing too many clothes may make your body temperature rise a bit higher.
When you are ill and your temperature climbs up to 102 °F (38.9 °C) that can be a sign that your body is making a healthy response and fighting an infection. Most healthy adults and children can tolerate a fever that rises to 103 °F (39.4 °C) or 104 °F (40 °C) for short periods of time. However, you should always consult your doctor as a high fever can indicate a severe illness.
When you have a fever, be sure to drink plenty of water, dress lightly and, if you want to bring the temperature a little lower without taking a medicine, try cooling down in a tepid bath.

The nose knows.

When you catch a cold or flu that affects your nose or sinuses, the nose responds by creating clear mucous to wash the germs away. Within a few days, your immune system is working full force and the mucous turns white or yellow. When the tide turns towards recovery, the healthy bacteria normally living in the nose return and the mucous turns greenish.
If you immediately use remedies that inhibit mucous flow, you may well slow down your natural healing process. Using a nasal decongestant restricts blood flow to your nose. This slows the body’s natural processes for clearing germs from nasal passages. Natural comfort measures include using a cool mist vaporizer in your room or warm, salt-water nasal spray.

Cough cues.

Coughing clears your breathing passage by removing mucous from your lungs and upper airway. A productive cough helps you heal by bringing up phlegm or mucous that drained down the throat from the nose or sinuses or came up from the lungs. As such, coughing helps the body fight colds and flu as well as pneumonia, bronchitis and sinusitis. Of course, if your cough prevents you from getting a good night’s rest, you may want to treat it. Before resorting to chemical remedies, try warm tea or hot grapefruit juice with honey, an herbal cough drop or a steamy shower. Throat sore from coughing? Try a warm, saltwater gargle (one teaspoon of salt to one cup of water).

More tips for faster healing.

Blow your nose often. Stay warm. Get plenty of rest. And, drink hot fluids, such as herbal teas with lemon and honey. As long as symptoms are moderate, enduring them can help you get well faster.


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