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How to get rid of a cold fast with these 14 expert tips

Nutritionist Sarah Flower shares her top tips for getting rid of a cold in 24 hours

A woman with a cold blows her nose
Leanne Bayley
Leanne BayleyDirector of Lifestyle & Commerce
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Each year, the winter months usher in a slew of pesky colds.  Runny nose, sore throat, body aches, irritating coughs - we all know the symptoms and they are a right pain!

If you find yourself suffering from a cold, don't despair - colds don't have to last as long as you think they do. Here, nutritionist Sarah Flower shares her top tips for getting rid of a cold in 24 hours.

How long does a cold last?

A typical cold will last on average 7 to 10 days and the cold virus will go away as over-the-counter medication eases discomfort.

A glass of herbal tea© Getty
A glass of herbal tea can help you recover from a cold

What are the symptoms of a cold?

The symptoms of a cold include:

  • A blocked or runny nose
  • A sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Coughs
  • Sneezing
  • A raised temperature
  • Pressure in your ears and face
  • Loss of taste and smell

Is it possible to get rid of a cold instantly?

There is no guaranteed miracle cure, however, there are definitely tricks you can try to help clear your sinuses and set you on the road to recovery within 24 hours. Follow the simple guidance below...

MORE:  Busy December? You need to try 'snackable wellness' 

Top tips: How to get rid of a cold fast

1. Drink, drink, drink!

Keeping hydrated is absolutely vital to help 'flush' out the cold, as well as to break down congestion and keep your throat lubricated. 

Try to avoid sugary or milky drinks, especially if you have a lot of mucus as this can often make it worse. Instead opt for water (sparkling water with lemon can be very refreshing), or soothing warm herbal, or fruit teas. Herbal teas such as sage, ginger, lemon, chamomile, liquorice root, slippery elm and green tea can also help ease a sore, nose or throat problems.

For those suffering from inflammation of the mucus membranes, fresh turmeric tea is perfect as an anti-inflammatory.

2. Up your Vitamin C

This well-known vitamin is extremely helpful when fighting infection, so at the first sign of a cold be sure to increase your intake by eating plenty of berries, citrus fruits, papayas, broccoli and red peppers which will help keep you protected.

3. Support the immune system

The high-strength Immune + formula contains Andrographis, Echinacea, Olive Leaf, Ginger, Oregano, Vitamin C and Zinc to support the immune system.

IMMUNE SUPPORT: Andrographis, Zinc and Echinacea support healthy immune system function. Zinc and Olive Leaf are antioxidants which supports free radical damage to body cells

Bone broth is warming and great for treating a cold© Getty
Bone broth is warming and great for treating a cold

4. Boil some bones

Bone broth is packed full of nutrients, including gelatine, collagen and a whole host of vitamin and minerals to help heal and get you back on your feet. 

Add some garlic for its powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-catarrhal properties, and some chilli, which acts as a natural decongestant. Turmeric, cinnamon and a dash of fresh ginger can also be added and will help to speed up your metabolism.

5. Use a supplement

A melt-in-the-mouth supplement such as New Era Q can help to ward off symptoms of catarrh and sinus disorders, while New Era J can help those suffering from more general cold symptoms. When taken together, they promise to offer the ultimate protection from colds and flu.

The importance of having the right supplements can't be underestimated for immune health. Through common colds, flu season and COVID-19, scientific evidence has made it clear that the right combination of vitamins really can make a difference to how your body fights off infections.

Margo Marrone, Founder/CEO of The Organic Pharmacy and Homeopath, says she "wanted to combine the most important vitamins that were proven to help with the immune system and specifically the respiratory system, so (she) could provide some support during these unsettling times."

immune boost duo vitamin supplement
An immune boosting supplement can help shift a cold

The Immune Boosting Day Supplement is rich in Vitamin A, D & C which all contribute to a properly functioning immune system. Vitamin A specifically helps the body fight off illness and infections, Vitamin C protects cells and aids their function and Vitamin D contributes to reducing tiredness and fatigue as well as being essential for the overall health of bones and muscles.

The Immune Boosting Night Supplement supports the body's ability to relax and therefore aids in quality of sleep. Seeing that the second arm of the immune system is a proper night's sleep, it is important that it doesn't get neglected. Infection-fighting antibody production is enhanced by deep relaxation and adequate amounts of rest. This spectacular mixture of magnesium and herbs reduces anxiety and allows the body to recover through a deep night's sleep.

MORE:  Why the royals are at risk of illness this winter: Princess Kate, Duchess Sophie and more... 

6. Step outside

When it comes to combating a cold, Vitamin D is essential in helping to regulate an immune response. 

During the colder months, many people become deficient in Vitamin D because they stay inside avoiding the weather but you need to make sure you expose yourself to the sun's UVB rays by going outside for at least 15 minutes per day - even if it's chilly. 

For those unable to do so, a great alternative is opting for vitamin D3 supplements. Taking one daily not only boosts the immune system and fights infection but can also help with depression, bone and joint and heart health.

7. Stock up on Zinc

Try to incorporate plenty of zinc-rich foods in your diet, including pumpkin seeds, spinach, beef, wheat germ and cocoa. This is because the zinc will decrease the time period of the symptoms you are experiencing. You can also take a good quality supplement such as a Zinc Citrate daily.

woman lying in bed with table and alarm clock © Shutterstock
We all need at least seven hours of sleep

8. Try Pelargonium

Pelargonium is a natural, herbal remedy which can help with respiratory infections, sore throats and general cold and flu symptoms. Take this remedy as soon as you begin to feel the onset of illness and continue until you see signs of improvement.

9. Take it easy

We all think we are invincible and push forward no matter what but when feeling under the weather ensure you take some time out, turn off the Wi-Fi, grab the duvet, relax and de-stress. This not only feels good but can also boost your immune system. The perfect excuse for a lazy day!

10. Sleep

But, don't just think you're resting because you're chilling out. Getting actual sleep is key as it will help your body to restore faster and fight off infection. This is your free pass to take multiple naps in addition to having a fair few early nights. If you need a helping hand, you should try...

11. Add moisture to the air

Winter is radiation season which means your house can become really dry leading to throat irritation. Of course, it's probably too cold to turn it off altogether but counter it by adding a humidifier to introduce some moisture into the air too. It could really help loosen up your congestion.

12. Buy some honey

Research suggests honey is more effective than many over-the-counter medicines. Honey has long been used as a home remedy to treat coughs and colds, but it's often believed to work more on kids. Recent studies suggest it can improve symptoms, particularly the frequency and severity of coughing.

a bottle of honey
Honey is a great natural way of treating a cold

13. Take a relaxing bath

A warm bath can reduce a fever and ease any aches or pains. Try adding Epsom Salt and a few drops of essential oils (chamomile is ideal) mixed with a carrier oil like olive or coconut to soothe your body and help to remove toxins.

Epsom salts
Add some Epsom Salt into your bath

14. Wash your hands frequently

It sounds obvious, but washing your hands properly and regularly will both prevent colds and reduce the severity if you already have the virus. This hand wash from INEOS has a moisturising formula and a gorgeous stress-reducing scent.

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