Colds can make you feel miserable with aches and pains in muscles to a runny nose, stuffed up head, chills, post-nasal drip to coughing with phlegm, tiredness, watery eyes, sinus pressure, headache, chills to a scratchy throat or even a low-grade fever. This year we even have cold and flu season worse heading into colder weather now that COVID-19 is back with strong vengeance. With that said, here are some ways to distinguish between the two as well as how to shorten a cold.
Both colds and COVID-19 are caused by viruses unlike an allergy that may contribute to post-nasal drip, stuffiness, sinus pressure, watery, itchy eyes and throat irritation as well only without the fever and a clear color of the phlegm instead of the thicker, yellowish variety.
COVID-19 symptoms can last anywhere from about a week too nearly an entire month unlike a cold that usually runs its course within two weeks. Another interesting thing about COVID-19 is that you don’t have the same types of nasal symptoms as you expect from a cold such as a stuffy nose, but probably more of a loss of smell. You also can probably count on a fever, which lasts longer than one when having a cold along with shortness of breath.
However, if your fever is higher than 101.3 F or persists for more than five days, then you need to see a doctor for an examination. He may want to do some tests, particularly for COVID-19 since it is the only way to determine if that is the cause of the problem.
Now that you have the basics on how to recognize the symptoms of each, here are a few ways of how to shorten a cold for speedier recovery. You definitely want to keep some zinc lozenges or syrup around and not zinc tablets. According to various studies, zinc if taken 24 hours after experiencing cold symptoms can help the duration and severity of typical cold symptoms.
The strength is 13.3 mg of elemental zinc per lozenge used in one of the studies, but the actual dosage and amount necessary still needs further research. These zinc lozenges may taste bad or even nauseate some individuals. Therefore, some companies try to disguise the taste by incorporating citric or tartaric acid to help improve the flavor. While this sounds appealing, those two ingredients to enhance that bad flavor also can lessen the effectiveness of what help the zinc can provide. My advice is to check the label to avoid those specific ingredients and you’ll be better off.
There still needs to be more studies on this, but zinc in this form seems to do what the pill form cannot with fewer side effects. The problem with zinc gluconate in pill form is that taking too much could cause kidney failure, copper deficiency, anemia to affecting the nervous system adversely. You also want to steer clear of using any zinc nasal spray because people have lost their sense of smell using this form.
Apparently, the reason for zinc to be so effective in how to shorten a cold is due to its mineral that can stop the cold’s strain of the virus, being the rhinovirus from grabbing onto the lining of the throat or nasal passages. It has been shown to help prevent it from multiplying.
Vitamin C tablets also can help for how to shorten a cold. They have an antihistamine like effect for helping clear congestion and deal with the runny nose or post-nasal drip. I learned this valuable lesson years ago from my own allergist for help with allergies and colds in general. Another good thing to note about vitamin C is that it is a water-soluble vitamin that won’t build up in your system. He recommended a dosage of 250 mg four times a day through the entire winter as a preventive.
What else that helps in how to shorten a cold is a plug-in vapor pouch or a vaporizer to distribute congestion relieving vapors such as menthol or eucalyptus oil for better breathing.
Something that surprised me was discovering that taking a walk can actually help the body better fight the cold with how it revs up the immune system that is under attack. It also can clear a congested head because of a deeper way that you breathe as you stroll. The only problem is you don’t want to do this in the cold weather or if you have chest related systems just during warmer weather for colds. Your own body has to be the guide on what feels right to you in regard to trying a mild form of exercise such walking. Never attempt this if you have a fever, body aches or stomach related symptoms just above the head cold issues.
Everyone can agree that colds are horrible. What I shared wasn’t intended to diagnose, only provide helpful information on how to shorten a cold. You also may find it beneficial to read my earlier post on cold prevention.