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7 Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Self-Care Tips

7 Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Self-Care Tips
Linda Guerrera

Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, ugh! The signs of an upper respiratory infection!  

It’s that time of the year when it seems as though everyone around you is sick! A cold can not only leave you feeling incredibly miserable, but it can also interfere with your life.  

While there is no cure for the common cold, there are ways to ease the symptoms, prevent reinfection, and speed up healing. Keep reading to learn more about upper respiratory tract infection self-care. 

7 Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Self-Care Tips 

An upper respiratory infection typically resolves independently within a week or two, but those days can make you quite uncomfortable. A virus that causes a sinus, bronchial, or lung infection, etc, can cause so much coughing and congestion that sleeping becomes impossible. The pain of a sore throat and sinus pressure can be downright debilitating.  

So, what’s the best way to get relief and get rid of that cold as fast as possible? We have seven upper respiratory tract infection self-care tips that will help you get on to the road of recovery.  

1. Rest

Whenever your body is fighting something, it is working overtime. This is why it is especially important to get enough rest. Allowing your body to save energy to fight the virus is a very important part of upper respiratory tract infection self-care. Proper rest can help you recover faster and reduce any risk of further issues.   

2. Hydrate

When properly hydrated, mucus is thinned, and congestion is reduced. Hydration makes it easier to clear mucous from your airways and relieves headaches and fatigue, which could be caused by dehydration. Sipping warm fluids can not only help you stay hydrated, they can also soothe sore throats.   

3. Invest in a humidifier

There’s nothing worse for congestion and sore throats than dry air. By humidifying the air or inhaling steam, you can help improve breathing, reduce the stuffiness, and make your throat feel better.   

4. Use a saline spray

Decongestant sprays can harm your sinus passages if used for a long period. However, nasal saline solutions are safe for regular use and do not cause long-term effects. Saline spray or drops moisten nasal passages, clear mucus, and reduce nasal congestion.   

5. Over-the-counter meds

Non-prescription medications can provide specific symptom relief for pain and congestion.   

  • Pain and fever reducers: Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can bring a fever down, relieve body aches, and soothe headaches and sinus pain.   
  • Decongestants: Temporarily narrow blood vessels in the nasal passages to allow you to breathe easier. Decongestants can have a rebound congestion effect and should only be used for a few days.   
  • Cough drops and syrups: A persistent cough can cause fatigue, sore throat, and more. Choose a formulation that is right for your specific type of cough, whether dry or productive.   

6. Saltwater Gargle

A simple yet effective home remedy to soothe a sore throat, kill bacteria, and reduce inflammation is to gargle with salt water. Dissolve a tablespoon of salt in about 6 ounces of water and gargle several times daily.   

7. Herbal remedies

Some people find comfort in natural remedies like honey, ginger, and peppermint:  

  • Honey: Mix some honey with warm water or tea, and you have a soothing elixir to alleviate your sore throat. Honey’s natural soothing properties will ease the pain, and the sweet taste is comforting.    
  • Ginger: Ginger is also great for sore throats. Ginger tea or ginger-infused honey will soothe a raw throat and ease nausea.  
  • Peppermint: Peppermint tea is great for reducing the pain of a sore throat and easing congestion. Peppermint can also boost your energy when a cold has you feeling tired.   

Keep It Clean  

Preventing the spread of a cold or virus is as important as easing the symptoms. Make sure to protect others and reduce any chance of reinfection with the following tips:  

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.  
  • Dispose of used tissues.  
  • Stay away from smoke, tobacco, and other irritants.  
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to support your immune system.   

Remember that while these self-care tips can reduce symptoms and speed up your recovery, they are not a substitute for medical advice. Talk to your doctor if your symptoms are severe, get worse, or last for longer than two weeks. 

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HPFY Linda Guerrera

Linda Guerrera

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Linda Guerrera has been the Digital Content Manager for Health Products For You since 2022. A recipient of the New York State Broadcasters Award for Outstanding Work in Radio, she spent over ...

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