How to Stop a Cold Before It Takes Hold

An hour-by-hour cold-fighting countdown. common cold sickness, health CBS/AP

When you feel a cold coming on, time is of the essence.

There are steps you can take to stop a cold in its tracks - and every hour counts.

On "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," Dr. Holly Phillips of WCBS-TV in New York offered an hour-by-hour cold-fighting countdown:

HOUR 1: DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS

Staying hydrated cuts down on symptoms like a sore throat and stuffy nose, and may help boost your immune system.

HOUR 3: GARGLE WITH WARM SALT WATER

Salt water reducing inflammation and pain in the throat, and clears mucous. The rinse also flushes out bacteria and viruses, which may help whether you're getting a cold or want to prevent one in the first place.

HOUR 5: USE SALINE NASAL SPRAY

Studies suggest using a saline nasal spray right after cold symptoms appear may reduce their impact.
And it can help prevent developing sinusitis after your cold

HOUR 7: TAKE OVER-THE-COUNTER PAIN RELIEVER OR DECONGESTANT

Pain relievers such as Advil, Motrin or Tylenol can fight off achiness. Decongestants, such as Sudafed, help dry up mucous if you need to go to work. But skip the over-the-counter cough medicine. Studies suggest just sipping on tea with honey is as effective.

HOUR 24: REPEAT ROUTINE

If you feel worse or have a fever, start vomiting, or develop an increasingly bad headache, call your doctor -- those are signs you've got something other than the common cold (such as flu or an bacterial infection), and you may need antiviral medication, antibiotics, or other treatment.

  • CBSNews

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