A hot shower, a stroll round the park and a curry: The expert's guide to beating your cold in just 24 HOURS
15:21 GMT, 14 December 2012
When the dreaded lurgy strikes, day in bed can seem like the only option. But with Christmas just around the corner, few of us have the time – or inclination – to put up with a hacking cough or aching muscles for long.
Now, help is at hand from a leading expert. Here, Professor Ron Eccles from the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University tells MailOnline how to beat the bug in just one day…
7AM – TAKE A HOT SHOWER
When you wake up feeling dreadful, chances are you won’t feel like staggering to the bathroom straight away. But a steaming hot shower could be just what the doctor ordered. The hot water can soothe your throbbing limbs while the steam can help clear bunged up sinuses.
8AM – BREAKFAST ON PORRIDGE WITH BERRIES
Diet is essential in helping you on the road to recovery. Reach for the orange juice to build up your vitamin C and throw some antioxidant-packed mixed berries into a large bowl of warm porridge.
Time to take action: Professor Eccles' step-by-step guide should have you fighting fit by the following morning
10AM – STEAM YOUR FACE
During a cold you can end up with a streaming nose, or even worse you become completely bunged up, which causes throbbing head pain. Here, a mixture of over-the-counter medicines and home remedies help.
Tackle the symptoms of colds with over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, paracetamol, cough syrups and lozenges. Look for lozenges with a strong taste such as Covonia’s Double Impact Lozenges.
Strong flavours will promote salivation to help coat and soothe a sore throat. You can also try putting your head over a steaming bowl of hot water for five minutes to help soothe and clear the airways.
MIDDAY – GO FOR A STROLL
You may feel reluctant to brave the cold outdoors, but a gentle stroll before lunchtime can improve your mood and boost your immune system. So don't worry that it will make you worse. If you have a head cold with a runny nose and mild symptoms, you can exercise if you feel up to it.
1PM – SWAP YOUR SANDWICH FOR CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD
At lunchtime, ditch the usual sarnie and crisps for some lean chicken and salad. Protein helps build immune cells and helps to prompt the immune response. People who cut meat out of their diet will often suffer with more frequent and longer lasting colds.
Winter virus: If you can't afford to stay in bed, follow Professor Eccles' step-by-step guide. Drinking herbal teas can help thin mucus and expel it from the body
3PM – PUT THE KETTLE ON
Herbal teas and other hot liquids help thin mucus and expel it from the body. Meanwhile, glugging a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice won’t have an immediate effect but it will increase your Vitamin C levels which is good for recovery and boosting immunity later in the week.
6PM – EAT A CURRY
At dinner time, turn up the heat with a spicy curry or a chilli con carne. Ingredients like ginger, garlic and chilli peppers are renowned for their anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, as well as their ability to clear the sinuses. Plus, they might be the only foods you have a chance of actually tasting. The spices can help get rid of germs from the system and clear the airways.
8PM – SOAK THOSE ACHING LIMBS
End the day by giving those tired and aching muscles a soak in a nice hot bath. A final steam can knock the cold virus on the head by helping to expel it from the body.
10PM – GET EIGHT HOURS SLEEP
It is important for your body to recharge and a good night’s sleep will help you get your strength back as quickly as possible. To keep your immune system in tip top shape, try to establish a regular sleep pattern. Avoid stimulating drinks like coffee and alcohol late in the evening and don't watch TV or do work in bed.