How to Get Over a Cold Faster

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How to Get Over a Cold Faster....5

Most people hate the inconvenience of having the common cold. Find out how to alleviate cold symptoms faster with information from a practicing pediatrician in this free video on health.

Part of the Video Series: Treating Aches & Pains
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we are going to talk about how to get over a cold faster. Honestly, there's not a whole lot of ways to speed up your recovery from a cold. But let's talk about what we do know, and let's talk about colds in general. So, you probably know what a cold feels like and how it comes on. You are going to have a runny nose, a stuffy nose, a scratchy throat, a cough and a headache. You may get a little bit of stomach upset as well. You may have a fever. But lets talk about what a cold is not. You shouldn't have a fever over 104 degrees. You should not have a fever that lasts greater then three days in a row. You shouldn't have a fever that goes on or that goes away for 24 hours and then comes back later, or that occurs late in the course of the cold. You shouldn't have intense pain over one of your sinuses. Any of those things may signify that you actually have a bacterial sinus infection, and now you don't have a cold anymore. You have something that we may want to treat with antibiotics depending on what's going on. You want to seek care from a doctor. However, say you are doing the usual viral thing you know what this is, you know you don't need a doctor's help right now. What can you do. Well the most important thing you can do honestly is sleep. Get a good eight or nine hours of sleep a night. That's one of the only lifestyle changes we know that makes difference in how frequently people get colds and how severe they are. So, you know if you are thinking about staying up late or getting up early, go ahead and give yourself a break for a few days. That may actually help your cold get better. Are there dietary supplements that help? Well, we have some data that zinc supplements may shorten the duration of a cold but you have to start them early. You have to use them frequently and the effect is not enormous. It may be a half day or a day at the very most. By the time you've dealt with taking the zinc supplement, you may just rather have an extra half day of the cold honestly. Are there any prescription medications? Where here's a common misconception. Doc, whenever I get a cold, I get a sinus infection. Why don't you give me the antibiotic now, 'cause then I won't get the sinus infection, right? Wrong. It does not work that way. You have to wait until you actually get the infection to be able to treat it. If you treat before the infection occurs, all you get is a resistant infection. So, let me stress, unless you really have a clinically evident sinus infection, there is no role for taking antibiotics in a setting of a cold. They are just going to complicate your life and make life worse for you down the line. So, how can you get rid of a cold more quickly? You can rest. That's all we got. But be aware of what's not a cold and be ready to ask a doctor for help if you think one of those things is happening. Talking about getting rid of a cold a little faster, I'm Dr. David Hill.


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