Returning to campus means more time with friends, more time outside of the house and the return of the dreaded cold — and we’re not talking about the weather. 

Those who went to Western University before the pandemic will remember the lecture halls packed with coughing, runny-nosed, barely alive students. 

While the pandemic left many itching for social interactions and in-person life, lessened colds and other viruses were an unintended benefit of small gatherings, constant hand sanitizing and mask wearing. Even if you haven’t come down with a cold yet, keeping these tips and tricks in mind will help stop your sniffles in their tracks.

Hydrate

First and foremost – drink lots of fluids. 

Even if you’re lying in bed all day, you could still have fluid loss due to a runny nose or feverish sweat. Having a cold or virus can make you want to eat or drink less, which can also lead to dehydration. Hydration can help your natural barriers, like mucus, work better, as well.

Hot beverages and meals, like chicken soup or tea with honey, don’t only hydrate but soothe sore throats as well. 

Chicken soup goes a step further because it contains carnosine, which can help relieve some congestion. Chicken soup also works as a preventative measure because broths can help improve your bacteria bodyguards, like the tiny hairs in your nose.

The warm liquid in tea helps to soothe your raspy throat and could also potentially shorten your cold’s duration, depending on your brew of choice. For example, echinacea, a flower often made into teas, has been shown to shorten the duration of a cold

Rest

Next up is rest. Your body is working extra hard to fight off whatever you have going on, so help it help you by spending some nights in. Eighteen to 60-year-olds need at least seven hours of sleep per night — and that’s when you’re relatively healthy. 

If sleep is difficult because of symptoms or you want a cold-busting boot, hit up the pharmacy. 

Most pharmacies will carry various over-the-counter medications that can help — from decongestants to nasal sprays and vitamins, as well. Vitamin C and zinc have some evidence when it comes to cold reduction and prevention but it’s not clear how much they actually help

The placebo effect is a powerful thing, though — so if you believe your multivitamin is curing you, then mind over matter your cold into oblivion. 

Get tested

Lastly, coronavirus is still around so get tested if indicated and avoid others. If you live with roommates, you can wear a mask in common areas and try to stay in your room when possible. 

To sum up, drink your tea, be lazy and get well soon!

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