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When you feel yourself coming down with a common cold or the flu, you’re probably wondering, how long will it last?
Typical common cold symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, sore throat, and cough can last from 2 to 14 days.1 However, about two-thirds of people recover in about 1 week.
For the flu, the main symptoms are coughing, aching, a high fever, and extreme fatigue.1 Like a cold, most people recuperate within a week, but flu symptoms are more severe.2
Can you make it go away faster?
If you’ve caught a cold or the flu, there are ways to relieve your symptoms while you recover. A cold or the flu typically has a life cycle of about 1 week. The key to recovering and feeling like yourself sooner is maintaining a strong immune system. That means getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water.3 You should also avoid drinks like coffee, tea, and colas because they contain caffeine that can dehydrate you.
How to get symptom relief
Colds account for more school absences and missed work than any other illness. However, over-the-counter cold and flu medicines, such as Theraflu, will help ease your symptoms. Getting symptom relief during sleep can help you feel better. After all, sleep-deprived people produce fewer virus-fighting cells.4 If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.
There are also at-home remedies you can do to ease your symptoms of a cold or the flu.
Some natural ways to relieve your cold symptoms are:
Drinking more fluids will help you if you have a cold because it can relieve any congestion you have. Water, juice, and tea can think out any mucus build-up you have in your nasal passage and chest.5
Sleep is important when you’re sick because while you’re sleeping, your body uses the time to reenergize itself. Your immune system strengthens while you’re sleep, and that can help you recover from sicknesses like a cold.6
3. Use honey
Putting honey in your warm water or tea can help ease cold symptoms like congestion or a sore throat. Honey has properties in it that help reduce viruses and bacteria.6
4. Eat chicken soup
Not only is chicken soup warm and delicious, but its basic ingredients have properties to weaken your cold symptoms. Chicken soup has anti-inflammatory ingredients that can reduce swelling in your throat and nasal passage.6
- Some of the aforementioned cold remedies might also help relieve symptoms you have from a flu virus. Cultures from around the world have found their own creative ways to relieve symptoms of the flu as well.
- They add different ingredients to their warm tea when sick with a flu virus. Things like ginger, garlic, and lemon have similar relieving effects as honey.7
- Some cultures also use foot baths to let the steam travel through your body from your feet and up.7 This warmth can help loosen congestion in your nose and chest.
- Some people like to use menthol oils, like peppermint, to relieve their symptoms when sick. Additionally, some cultures use shea butter as a way to relieve congestion.7
Hydrate. Drinking more fluids will help you if you have a cold because it can relieve any congestion you have. Water, juice, and tea can think out any mucus build-up you have in your nasal passage and chest.5
1. CDC (2016, May 23). Flu Symptoms & Complications. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/complications.htm
2. MedlinePlus (2017, January 2). Flu. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from https://medlineplus.gov/flu.html
3. CDC (2015, August). The Flu: A Guide for Parents. Retrieved April 24, 2017, from
4. Mayo Clinic (2015, June 9). Lack of Sleep: Can it Make You Sick? Retrieved April 28, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/faq-20057757
5. Cold Remedies. Mayo Clinic.
6. Natural Cold and Flu Remedies. Piedmont Healthcare.
7. Natural Cold and Flu Remedies from Around the World. World Vision.