Cold and flu: 10 ways to get rid of winter illness - and fast

Follow these tips and your flu will soon feel like a distant memory.
Follow these tips to clear up your cold pronto. (Picture: Adobe Stock)Follow these tips to clear up your cold pronto. (Picture: Adobe Stock)
Follow these tips to clear up your cold pronto. (Picture: Adobe Stock)

There's definitely something in the air at the moment.

It seems like cold and flu is rife across the UK right now - and with work parties and Christmas right around the corner, we all want to be at our best. But armed with the right strategies (and remedies) we can boost our immune systems and fend of pesky cold viruses.

Here are the top 10 ways to combat a cold and keep yourself healthy.

Buy some nasal spray

Speaking from experience, a blocked nose is perhaps the worst part of a cold. But a nasal spray, snorted up your nose with enough ferocity to awaken the dead, can help to clear your nose and sinuses. It might only be a short-term fix, but it's perhaps the most effective trick on this list.


One of most effective ways to combat a cold is to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps flush out toxins from your body and keeps your mucous membranes moist, making it more difficult for viruses to take hold. Opt for herbal teas and broths, which not only keep you hydrated but also provide soothing relief for a sore throat.

Take a nap

Adequate rest is crucial when you're fighting a cold. Your body needs extra energy to mount a defense against the virus. Ensure you get enough sleep and consider taking short naps during the day to support your body's healing process.

Watch your diet

Boost your immune system by fueling your body with nutrient-rich foods. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, as they are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Foods like garlic, ginger, and honey have natural antiviral and antibacterial properties, making them excellent choices during a cold.

Take a Vitamin C supplement

Vitamin C is renowned for its immune-boosting properties. While it's preferable to obtain nutrients from whole foods, taking a vitamin C supplement can provide an extra layer of defense during the cold season. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your needs.

Wash your hands - duh

It sounds obvious, but cold viruses can spread easily through contact with contaminated surfaces. Regular handwashing is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of germs. Use soap and water, and scrub your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing.

Humidify your home

Cold viruses thrive in dry conditions. Using a humidifier in your living space can help maintain optimal humidity levels, preventing the viruses from spreading. Additionally, humidified air can soothe irritated nasal passages and ease congestion.

Try and do some exercise

Engaging in moderate exercise can give your immune system a significant boost. Physical activity helps improve circulation and promotes the efficient movement of immune cells throughout your body. However, it's essential to listen to your body and avoid intense workouts when you're feeling unwell - don't force it!

Take a hot shower

Relieve congestion by taking hot showers or inhaling steam. The warm, moist air can help soothe your nasal passages and make it easier to breathe. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the steam can provide additional relief.

Stock up on medication

Over-the-counter cold medications, such as decongestants and cough syrups, can help alleviate symptoms and make you more comfortable. However, it's crucial to use these medications as directed and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or pre-existing conditions.

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