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What not to do when you’re recovering from a cold

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So, your cold symptoms are slowly starting to improve. While common sense tells you it’s not the time to go partying, did you know that factors such as late nights, stress, alcohol and even exercise can impact the recovery process? Here are five things to avoid while you’re on the mend.

So you’ve got the common cold...

We know – being told to do nothing for days on end when you’ve got a cold or flu so that your immune system can do its thing is the definition of boring. 

So here’s the real deal: doing literally nothing is probably taking it a step too far, but there are a few things that are worth cancelling for a while until you’re feeling better, like:

Late nights

Watching that final episode might seem harmless – after all, lying on the couch is technically resting – but if it’s getting late, you’d be better off saving it and heading to bed. 

While losing sleep can put a serious dent in your immune system’s strength , the opposite is also true – getting loads of it when you’re sick is like kicking your immune system into top gear. 

So yeah, stop streaming and go to bed. 

Picking that fight

Honestly? You don’t need the stress right now. When you’re stressed out, your immune system starts to do weird things and at the moment, you need it to stay fully focused on helping you get better. 

If you do feel your stress levels rising, do a bit of diaphragmatic breathing – that’s the kind where your belly moves rather than your chest. It’s a research-approved way to lower stress levels and keep a lid on the hormonal changes that stress can trigger, too. 

Having a cocktail

The jury is still a bit confused when it comes to how alcohol impacts the immune system, but some research suggests the effect isn’t what you’d call helpful. 

And then there’s the fact that alcohol interferes with sleep quality, and you’ve just read how important that is. Probably best to stay dry for now. 

Boot camp

You love it, we get it. But boot camp can wait right now. Experts tend to agree that while a bit of gentle exercise might be okay when you’ve got a mild cold, a full-on workout is probably not the best idea.

And it’s a different story when you’ve got the flu – or a cold that gives you a fever. Then, putting some distance between you and your workout gear is pretty much mandatory to avoid making your symptoms even worse. 

Being out in the cold

While it’s not possible to catch a cold simply by being cold (because colds are caused by viruses), once you’ve already got one, cold conditions can put the handbrake on your immune system’s defence forces.

So while you might even enjoy the odd ice bath every now and then, now’s probably not the best time to take the plunge.