Tips for Overcoming the Common Cold

There’s never an opportune time to come down with the common cold. When you have a busy schedule packed full of classes, homework, extra-curricular activities and more, your primary concern most likely is to get better as quickly as possible.

Because a cold is a virus, it can’t be cured with antibiotics. So how do you bounce back quickly? Here are ways you can support your body’s efforts to heal itself:

Remember the basics

Regardless of your symptoms, the best place to start is to drink plenty of water and clear fluids, stop drinking alcohol and smoking, and get plenty of rest.

Treat your nose kindly

Constantly wiping or blowing your nose with a tissue can lead to inflamed nostrils, making it difficult to breathe. Open blocked nasal passages by breathing steam or heated humidified air. You can use a vaporizer, a hot shower or even a pot of boiling water to do the trick, but be careful not to get burned by the steam. You may also want to consider saline nasal sprays and decongestant tablets for a stuffy nose.

Soothe a sore throat and cough

Every two hours, combine a ½ cup of warm water and ¼ teaspoon of salt and gargle. Moisten your throat with throat lozenges and cough drops. Cough medicines are available, but there is no clear evidence proving how well they work. Instead, try acetaminophen, ibuprofen or a similar over-the-counter medication. Remember, the University Health Center Pharmacy offers free 24-hour doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen for UNL students during normal health center hours.

Manage a fever

Take your temperature multiple times during the day. If you have a fever, the best game plan is to relax, lie down, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration, and take acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent such as ibuprofen.

Grab a Cold Care Kit from UHC

These free kits are equipped with a few essentials that can help ease your cold symptoms: A pack of Kleenex, an herbal tea bag, cough drops, hand sanitizer, lip balm, a packet of instant soup and helpful cold care tips cards. Stop by UHC to grab yours today!

Monitor your symptoms

Call a health care provider if you have any of the following symptoms or if you aren’t feeling better after seven days:

  • Fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours or a fever that doesn’t go down with medicine
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Severe or continued vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Signs of dehydration (e.g.: extreme thirst, dark urine, infrequent urination)
  • Spotted, red or very sore throat
  • Shortness of breath

Be proactive

It’s not easy to prevent a cold, but you can prevent the flu with an annual flu shot. The University Health Center provides free flu shots to UNL students. Our walk-in flu shot clinic is open Monday thru Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. You can also schedule an appointment with the Medical Clinic to receive your flu vaccine.

Remember, if your symptoms worsen, give us a call at 402-472-5000.



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