couple drinking morning tea

The air is starting to chill. The leaves are falling. And the ever intrusive cold is starting to creep in. Unfortunately, when the cold weather sets in it often brings with it the cold season, and what begins as a slight tickle in your throat quickly leads to body aches, congestion, and drowsiness. No thank you.

Seniors generally get far fewer colds than children, who average 6 to 10 a year, but like children, seniors tend to suffer longer when they get a cold. To avoid the hassle and suffering of an impending cold, here are a few tips on what to do when you feel one coming on:

1. Drink water (or other liquids)

Though you may not have much of an appetite when you’re sick, you should be sure to stay hydrated. Liquids can help clean out toxins and reduce symptoms like a sore throat or stuffy nose that are often irritated by dry conditions. Water and tea can help rejuvenate and relax you, and adding lemon or lime and honey to your tea can provide the extra benefits of soothing your throat and providing extra boosts of vitamin C.

2. Get your rest

Rest helps the body to recuperate and gives it time to fight the virus that’s giving you the cold. Try and stay home and rest or sleep if you can. This will keep the cold from spreading to other people and give your body a chance to relax and focus its energy on combatting your cold.

3. Get some fresh air

Going outside and moving around can help your body rejuvenate a bit. Light exercise like a short brisk walk or yoga can boost your immune system and cheer you up. While heavy exercise can be harmful when you’re sick, light exercise is shown to speed up recovery time.

4. Use a humidifier

Though we often associate colds with rainy weather, they’re actually more common during dry spells. Cold viruses thrive in dry environments, and cold dry air can help the virus stay longer than it would in a humid environment. Humidifiers keep the air moist and can help shorten the life of your cold. They can also ease your symptoms by helping your nasal passages stay clear and your throat stay moist.

5. Nasal spray

Keeping your nose clear will help you stay more comfortable (no more sniffling), and it will allow you to clear out congestion and moisten your nasal cavity, flushing out mucus and bacteria. If you don’t have or don’t want to buy a nasal spray, you can easily make one by combining a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of salt and one-eighth teaspoon of baking soda in a saline container.

6. Over-the-counter cold medication

To quickly ease your symptoms, you may want to try an over-the-counter cold medicine. These over-the-counter medicines can help dry up mucus and ease your aches and pains. You should of course be careful when choosing a medicine if you are already taking prescription drugs. You will want to check with your doctor to be sure that it’s safe to use alongside your medications before choosing one.


Colds are a common nuisance, but they don’t have to ruin your fall and winter seasons. You can take steps to prevent them and reduce their symptoms when they hit.