thermometer, sickWhen you feel sick, you just want relief. Or maybe a time machine to skip ahead a few days till you feel better.

Until we get a magic cure for the common cold--or until we can hit fast forward on our illnesses--we need being sick to be more bearable.

There are ways, thank goodness.

Here are excellent tips I found on the Mercola website about how to treat colds and sore throats.

First, some facts about how you get colds and how they affect us:

  • You get them mainly from hand-to-hand contact. Wash your hands often to avoid getting sick, and when you're sick, wash them to avoid getting others sick. You're more likely to get a cold if you are overtired or physically exhausted, see my story last week, Fight a Cold with More Sleep.
  • Adults get about 6 colds per year before age 30 and 2 after age 30. Kids, however, get 10-12 colds annually.
  • Most colds last between eight and nine days, ugh. But 25 percent of them last two weeks.
  • The common cold is the most common infectious disease in the U.S., causing more absenses from school and work than any other illness.

Now for the good part, here are tips on what to do to feel better:

  • As long as your temperature is below 102 F, you don't need to lower it. A slightly higher temperature may help keep the cold virus from reproducing--and it might make you fight off the cold and feel better faster.
  • Aspirin and acetaminophen should only be taken if you have muscle aches or weaknesses.
  • Chicken soup does help the immune system. It contains a natural amino acid called cysteine that thins the mucus in the lungs, making it easier to get it all out. Homemade is slightly better than canned, and try to make it hot and spicy with plenty of pepper.
  • Rest, take it easy, allow yourself to recuperate and recover completely. (That's easier said than done, but important!) If you exercise regularly, keep doing it, but at a lighter intensity.
  • Wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your nose and eyes.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, at least 8 to 10 glasses a day to help loosen the stuffiness. Put lemon juice in your water or try green tea instead of water. Try to avoid juices that contain fructose--the extra sugar will actually make you feel worse. Or cut the juices with water.
  • If you are way too congested, try an over-the-counter remedy that contains pseudoephedrine. But take it well before bed to make sure that it doesn't keep you awake at night. To sleep better at night use an over-the-counter nose spray. Or if you really feel badly, take an antihistamine at night like Benadryl.
  • Stop drinking milk for a few days. Dairy increases mucus production.
  • Take 500 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C every 2 hours.
  • Call your doctor if your fever is more than 102 F, ear pain develops, you have pain around yoru eyes, you cough up green or yellow sputum.

Often, when I get sick, I find myself surfing CafeMom to find women who are going through the same thing. I always appreciate the advice I get from the private group, The Informed Parent.

Group owner neonds13's has lots of advice, much the same as listed above. But here's another tip she adds, "I firmly believe in not cleaning until you are well again. Why continually clean and re-infect everything you touch when you are sick only to clean it again once you're well?" Rest until you feel better. Now that's some good advice.

Do you have any tips for feeling better when you're sick?