With review and feedback from Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. ENT doctor Mark Abrams, MD (Rock Hill)

You tried so hard to not get sick this winter, but despite your best efforts you still caught a cold. You’re a very busy person who doesn’t like being sick, so of course you want to get rid of it as soon as possible. But did you know that some things may actually make a cold last longer?

Not sleeping enough

Sleep is very important for fighting off illness. While it’s easy for cold symptoms like a cough or congestion to keep you up all night, you should still try to get a full night’s sleep. If you can’t, take naps throughout the day.

Not resting

If you live an active life, you’ll likely try to keep up your energy levels throughout your illness. But your body really needs you to slow down and take it easy. This is why you sleep so much when you’re sick. Exhausting yourself could not just make it take longer to heal, but it could even make your symptoms worse.

Getting stressed

Stress hormones can prevent your immune system from working properly. Relaxing yourself mentally is just as important as resting physically.

Getting dehydrated

Fluids are very important. If you don’t drink enough, it will be tougher for your mucus to thin and your sinuses to drain.

Drinking alcohol

One fluid to avoid is alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates you and would have the same effect as not having enough fluids.


Smoking damages the cells in your lungs. This can make it tougher to fight off a cold. This includes secondhand smoke as well as any smoking you do yourself.

Using too many nasal sprays

While nasal sprays can help, overuse can lead to swelling and long-term stuffiness.

So, what should I do?

Mark Abrams, MD

CEENTA ENT doctor Mark Abrams, MD, recommends the following regimen: In the early stages, double up on vitamin C and use zinc lozenges. Adults can take up to 1,000 milligrams up to twice a day when getting sick. If you’re in the runny nose phase, use Benadryl or an over-the-counter cold remedy as instructed on the package. You could also double up on a nasal steroid spray, like Nasacort or Flonase. If you’re blocked up, use Afrin twice a day for no more than three days, then use pseudoephedrine or Mucinex D if you’re still congested after that. However, people with heart conditions or high blood pressure, or males with prostate enlargement, should avoid using them.

If after a week to 10 days you still aren’t feeling well, or you feel worse, visit a doctor to make sure you don’t have something more serious, like a sinus infection or bronchitis.

Can I come to a CEENTA doctor?

Do you think you have a sinus infection? Do you think you have bronchitis? A CEENTA doctor can help you. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment and we’ll help you make sure whatever illness you have doesn’t last unnecessarily long.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment with Dr. Abrams? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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