How to get rid of a cold: 9 expert tips for getting over a cold quickly


1. Avoid junk food

As the saying goes, you need to feed a cold – but it’s essential you choose the right foods. Although it’s undoubtedly tempting to reach for something comforting, junk foods like pizza or chocolate, will just lower your immune system and make you feel worse. Dr Adam Simon from Push Doctor says:

High-fat diets have been shown to slow down your immune system’s response to infection, which will make it harder to fight off colds.

Instead, drink plenty of water and aim for foods that are healthy and nutritious. Dr Simon adds:

You need the nutrients provided by a balanced diet to help your recovery, so, hot soups, fresh fruit and lots of vitamin-rich vegetables.

2. Get some rest

It may sound dull, but try to get an early night. Tv doctor and Superdrugambassador Dr Pixie McKenna says:

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“We all underestimate the power of sleep. It affects how we function on a day-to-day basis, our appearance and most notably our immune system. If you feel a cold coming, on make sure you’re in bed early – getting at least eight hours of sleep a night.”

3. De-stress

Your stress levels will also impact your recovery time. Dr McKenna adds:

“Stress lowers your immune system. Reduce your stress levels by working from home, taking a day off to recover or prioritising the more important things while leaving more stressful jobs for when you’re feeling better.”

Woman on sofa
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4. Ditch the cigarettes

While you should aim to quit smoking for your general health anyway, lighting up when you’re fighting an infection is a particularly bad idea according to Justin Jones, professional head of physiology at Nuffield Health.

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“Smoking increases the production of a number of stress hormones that suppress immune function. It also increases the body’s exposure to harmful “free radicals” that counter our antioxidant defences.”

So, ease off the cigarettes to feel better faster, and check out the NHS’ top tips on quitting smoking for good.

5. Take vitamin C

Many of us reach for a glass of orange juice once we feel a cold coming on, but will vitamin C really help? Well, a 2013 study of 11,000 adults by the University of Helsinki showed that taking 200mg of vitamin C did reduce the duration of a cold once it had started – by an average of 8%.

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Studies have also shown that vitamin C works as an antihistamine and is anti-inflammatory, so can help with a runny noses, and aches and pains.

Remember that vitamin C is found in fresh fruit and vegetables, including kiwis, broccoli and tomatoes, and there are also loads of supplements you can try, such as Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin C