WE GET COLDS MORE OFTEN THAN WE MIGHT REALIZE
Adults suffer an average of two to three each year, and some children get eight or more. They’re costly too. In the United States, a 2012 survey found that colds decreased productivity by a mean of 26 percent. Another survey estimated the total cost of lost productivity to be almost $25 billion each year.
THE BEST COLD MEDICINE IS FREE: REST
When you get sick, your body doesn’t want to do anything other than tackle the virus. If you do ignore the symptoms and go about your normal routine, the cold can have an even more negative impact on your health—and your brain. In a study of nearly 200 people published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, researchers found that those with colds reported poor alertness, a negative mood, and psychomotor slowing—their thought processes were muddied, and their reaction times were slower than those of healthy folks.
TRY NOT TO REST WHILE LYING FLAT ON YOUR BACK
That can make things worse because gravity may cause the congestion in your nasal passages to drip down your throat, making it sore and causing a cough. Coughing while lying flat isn’t very comfortable, and it can keep you awake. Instead, prop yourself upright with pillows to ‘reduce the cough receptor irritation in the back of the throat,’ Dr. Lausier says. This can also help move that mucus along and make it easier for you to breathe.