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Riley Heruska
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It's no secret that we're in the midst of the sickest time of the year. With the flu circulating North Texas and dozens of nasty bugs popping up, it's no wonder that hundreds of people are missing work and school due to illness. Even if you haven't come down with a debilitating case of the flu, a rough cold can keep you couch-ridden with a box of tissues as your best friend. 

If you're trying to kick a clingy cold to the curb, you can obviously drink plenty of water and get a good amount of sleep, but that's not all you can do. Here are five ways to speed up your recovery process and get back to your normal, healthy life ASAP. 

1. Stay home. Toughing it out and heading back to the office or school before you're ready is bad for everyone involved. Not only will the action drain your body of the energy it needs to fight off the bug, but it will also expose more people to your illness. Do yourself (and your peers) a favor by holing up in your home until the worst of your symptoms have passed. The more rest and alone time you get, the sooner your body will be able to handle your regular routines. 

2. Suck on zinc lozenges. Although some researchers think this might be a case of the placebo effect, a couple of studies have indicated that an increased consumption of zinc can significantly shorten the course of a cold. Sure, zinc lozenges don't exactly taste great and they leave a weird chalky feeling in your mouth, but if they might be able to shorten your illness by a day or two, why not give them a shot? 

3. Soothe your cough with honey. 
If you find yourself staying up all night because you're hacking up a lung, try drinking a cup of hot tea with plenty of honey before you climb into bed. Research has indicated that the honey can coat your throat and therefore calm down your intense coughing fits. Plus, a warm drink can ease sore throats, warm you up, and give you a helpful dose of antioxidants. 

4. Don't skimp on meals. 
Even though the cold might have taken away your appetite, remember that your body needs plenty of fuel to fight off the sickness. Go with classic dishes like chicken noodle soup that are full of substance and good ingredients. 

5. Breathe easier with saltwater. 
Gargling a cup of warm water with salt can soothe a sore throat, loosen up mucus, and ease swelling caused by colds. You can also purchase saltwater nose sprays that help you blow your nose and unclog your head. It's hard to feel like yourself when you're struggling to breathe, so try to open up your sinuses as much as you can. 

How do you handle a cold that just won't go away? Leave other suggestions in the comments below! 

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