Kick That Cold to the Curb

by Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. on March 7, 2017

man sneezingI’ve written several posts on how to take care of your voice when you have a cold, but there are some new recommendations. These explain ways to stop or shorten a cold so your voice will not suffer as badly.

Who would think that a probiotic could help when you feel a cold coming on? Well, research is showing that it may. That’s because it regulates your immune system’s inflammatory response. The British Journal of Nutrition is the source for this new information. The article’s authors report that probiotics can shave as much as two days off a cold’s duration and make symptoms 34% less severe. So try popping a pill the first day you feel the cold coming on, but make sure it contains LGG and BB-12.

You may have tried zinc to ward off a cold, and the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology encourages you to keep it up. Zinc may shorten a cold by three days, but you must begin as soon as you have a hint of a cold and continue it until your symptoms subside. They suggest 80 milligrams over the course of a day. The types that dissolve in your mouth are recommended over the spray.

In terms of a spray, saline spray has long been advised for use throughout a cold. This helps keep the nasal passages moist to avoid a sinus infection, and it rinses toxins and germs out of the nose. You can use it as often as three times a day. It’s especially good to use before blowing your nose because it will help clear the congestion.

Another thing I find really helpful for my nose during a cold is Vaseline to soften the area around the nostrils both inside and out. This protects them from damage when you’re blowing your nose.

The last tip that was new to me is that in the early stages of a cold it actually helps to head to the gym for a fairly brisk 30-60-minute workout. It seems that viruses survive only when the temperature of your body is about 98.6 degrees. Upping your body temperature by working out may actually kill off some of the virus (that’s why we get a fever later in the cold process). So don’t be afraid to work out as long as you can breathe easily and don’t have a fever. If your symptoms have really kicked in, you’ll get more help by resting during your normal workout time.

For more basics on how to protect your voice when you have a cold, click here to read a previous post of mine.

As always, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor before starting any new treatment or beginning an exercise program.

You can find additional tips on healthy living in my ebook, Broadcaster’s Survival Guide. An instant download of the ebook is only $4.99.

(Much of this article was based on information in the 12/16 issue of Shape magazine.  Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lomo54/)

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