When you have a cold or cough, all you want is for that bugger to be just plain gone. The key to getting over a cold or cough quickly is to treat the symptoms as soon as they start, so your body has a better fighting chance of warding off the icky virus that is making you sick.
The average cold or cough can last up to 2 weeks without treatment, and many people wait a few days before they start treating their symptoms at all. The key to getting rid of a cold or cough faster (and to keep it from turning into something worse, like bronchitis) is to break out the cold and cough medicines at the slightest tickle in the throat or the first sniffle. Too many people wait until they wake up with goopy eyes and a draining throat to start battling their symptoms, and by then it’s turned into a full-blown viral attack.
Get a humidifier to make the air moist, and help you break up all that mucous that is clogging up your lungs and throat. Moist air (even a pot of boiling water on the stove will do, or a steamy shower) helps you fight your cold or cough better and have a greater attack for the virus that is bringing you down. It’s dry air that allows the virus to take over your body and linger longer.
Don’t swallow all that mucous you are coughing up. Blow your nose often and spit out that nasty mucous you are coughing up. If you just swallow it, you’ll be coughing it up again. You want to break up that mucous and get it out of your body. This is your body in action trying to naturally expel the virus from your system, and your body is likely doing a WTF?! every time you swallow what you’ve worked so hard to cough up.
The sooner you start taking cold and cough medicine, the better off you will be, but still pay attention to your illness to make sure it’s actually getting better. If you have been taking cough or cold medicine for 5 days to a week and your symptoms are not improving, get to your doctor for some stronger stuff. Often, since most coughs are viral and colds certainly are, doctors will do little to help, but if your cold or cough has increased to something more serious, like bronchitis or walking pneumonia, your doctor can diagnose it and help you get better more quickly. A stubborn cold or cough can be more serious than you think.
As always, stay hydrated. Fluids help to break up mucous in your body and make mucous thinner so you can expel it more readily, and helps your poor immune system keep up the good fight. Drink water, tea, and juices high in vitamins to stay both hydrated and keep your immunity going strong to ward off your cold and cough virus and help you get better, sooner.
note: Mucinex DM (max strength) is super awesome!!! Worth every damn penny.