Feeling especially frazzled lately? The stress hormone cortisol can suppress your immune system, which makes it easier to catch a cold and harder to get rid of one. “Relieving stress through yoga, meditation, weight training, or cardio exercise can boost your endorphins, which can have a positive effect on boosting your immune system.
You’re skimping on sleep.
It may feel like overkill to turn in early just because you have the sniffles. But you’re probably sleep-deprived to begin with, and your body needs adequate rest to fight off infection efficiently. Getting some extra shut-eye might be the tonic you desperately need. (Here are strategies to sleep better tonight.) Sleep is the body’s way to recharge and rest. I cannot overstate the importance of restful sleep in helping the immune system function better.Aim for a full 7 or 8 hours, ideally every night (but especially when you’re sick).
You’re overdoing the decongestants.
When you’re feeling stuffy, nasal decongestant sprays can bring some temporary relief. But if you overuse them, watch out. It’s safe to take nasal decongestants for three days—but no longer than that, as the nose can become addicted to them and you can end up with permanent nasal inflammation. Talk to your doctor if you need help weaning off.
It’s actually allergies.
Spring isn’t the only time allergies can strike; indoor allergens like dust and pet dander can aggravate your allergies year-round. Many patients have a hard time distinguishing between the two, because they both can cause a runny nose, cough, and sore throat. If your symptoms persist for more than a week or two and you’re not getting any better (or worse), you might be dealing with allergies. See an allergist so you can figure out what’s bugging you and find an appropriate treatment.