Let’s get one thing straight:
there’s no way to cure a common cold.
Before you throw your hands up in
frustration, rest assured that there are a few steps you can take to give your
body the best chance of a speedy recovery.
Most colds will clear up on their
own after about seven days, but here are some things to do (and not to
do) to help your body recover:
Get plenty of rest
One thing that we know for sure is
that your body needs rest to recover from a cold.
Even when you’re healthy and well,
there’s a known link between getting enough sleep and having a healthy immune system.
When you’re sick, your body needs to direct its efforts towards fighting off
infection. Getting plenty of rest is the best way that you can help the process
along — that means avoiding exercise, staying home, and relaxing as much as possible.
We all have busy schedules and
commitments like work and family, and it can be tempting to push through your
discomfort and continue life as usual. Unfortunately, this is likely to make
your symptoms worse, and may even drag out your recovery.
If you need a workplace leave
certificate, your local Capital Chemist can help. Our pharmacists can issue
certificates for short-term, self-limiting conditions that would typically fall
into a pharmacists’ scope of practice, which includes common colds. Two days is
the maximum length certificate we can issue, and there’s a small fee. All you
need to do is visit your local Capital Chemist and speak to your friendly
And remember that it is entirely
appropriate to source a COVID-19 test if you have cold symptoms - just to be
certain. These can be uncomfortable but it is important because it helps
authorities build a picture of where COVID-19 is prevalent or not.
One of the main myths about colds
is that they are caused by cold weather. This isn’t the case — colds are caused
by viruses — but staying warm can help to provide some relief if you have
caught a cold.
There’s some research to suggest that warmth can help to boost the body’s immune
response, but we also know that putting on comfy warm pyjamas and snuggling up
under a blanket can help to make you comfortable. Comfort is key when you’re
riding out a nasty cold!
Limit your contact with others
Colds are highly contagious. The viruses that cause colds are easily spread through droplets
of bodily fluids, which are inhaled or spread through touch.
If you’ve caught a cold, you’re all
too aware of how unpleasant the symptoms can be. Spare your friends, family,
colleagues and community from coming down the cold by keeping your distance and
In the event that you do need to
venture out, be mindful of spreading the virus. Be sure to cough and sneeze
into the crook of your arm or into a tissue, regularly wash your hands or use
hand sanitizer, and avoid situations where you’re in close contact with others.
Drink plenty of fluids
Dehydration can make your cold
symptoms feel much worse, so it’s important to drink lots of fluids while
you’re feeling unwell.
Water, tea, warm drinks, broths and
soups are all excellent choices. Warm drinks can also help to relieve a sore or
Eat a healthy diet
When you’re feeling poorly, it can
be tempting to eat comforting foods. You might also not have much of an
When you do eat, it’s a good idea
to choose foods that are high in nutrients. Eating a nutritious diet is one of
the best ways to stay healthy, and this includes maintaining a healthy immune
system. Fruit and vegetables are particularly important, and can easily be
incorporated into smoothies or soups that have the added benefit of helping you
to stay hydrated.
Treat your symptoms
Your pharmacist will be the first
to tell you: you can’t cure a cold, but you can treat the symptoms. Whether
you’re suffering from a runny or blocked nose, sore throat, headache, or cough,
there are lots of different products that can help to soothe your symptoms and
Speak to your local Capital Chemist
pharmacist to find the right treatment for you and your symptoms.
Consider natural medicines
Let’s be clear: natural medicines
or supplements will not cure your cold. However, there is some
evidence to suggest
that zinc lozenges could shorten the duration of a cold by a couple of days.
For zinc to be most effective, it should be taken as soon as you experience
symptoms. It’s important to note that zinc is found in some of the foods that
we eat, and is also added to supplements, so be careful not to go overboard.
has shown that
taking a vitamin C supplement may reduce the duration of cold symptoms for some
people, especially older people and those who exercise regularly.
Your Capital Chemist pharmacist can
advise whether natural medicines could be right for you.