Gillespie adds that having a first-aid kit with a thermometer, nasal saline rinses, anti-inflammatory medications, along with a humidifier is also a good idea for keeping yourself comfortable when you’re in the symptomatic stage—the only stage that really comes with significant discomfort.
But most experts agree that when it comes to colds, focusing on prevention (and avoiding these stages altogether) is the best course of action. “Our lifestyle behaviors have major impacts on our immune systems,” explains Gillespie. “We know that people who exercise regularly (even just a daily walk) have fewer colds and flu. Getting adequate sleep is crucial for immune system strength, as is a balanced diet.”
Smith adds that a healthy diet and regular exercise (without over-exercising, which may actually increase susceptibility of sickness) can also shorten the duration of a cold. However, this needs to be a lifestyle that you live before exposure. Once you’re sick, you should prioritize rest over exercise.