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Are You Making Your Cold Worse?

Ugh...you’ve caught another cold! There must be something you can do to get rid of it faster. But be careful. These things can actually make you worse:

  • Antibiotics. These drugs fight bacterial infections but colds are caused by viruses.Taking antibiotics for a cold is useless and can make it harder to fight bacterial infections in the future.

  • Pretending you’re well. Pushing through a cold robs you of time to rest up and get well and risks spreading germs to others.

  • Overdoing over-the-counter (OTC) cold products. Medicated decongestant nasal sprays may provide short-term relief, but overuse can actually make nasal congestion worse.

Here’s a cold, hard truth: There are no magical cures for the common cold. So what should you do?

  • Get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids to help your immune system destroy the virus.

  • Wash your hands often. Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with unwashed hands.

  • Isolate yourself. Stay home while you are sick. Avoid close contact with loved ones, too.

  • Read labels and use OTC cold relief remedies as directed. Pain relievers and decongestants may provide symptom relief, but they won’t shorten your cold.


© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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