Possible to "flush" a cold out of my system before Thanksgiving?

So Thanksgiving, that amazing holiday of gluttonous feasts, is coming up in just a few days. Yesterday morning I woke up with a goddamn COLD. Not the worst cold in the world, but congestion at the back of my throat, slight sore throat, a little sniffling and sneezing, etc. Goddammit! I hardly ever get colds, and when I do get them, they make it impossible for me to enjoy anything. And I am going to be goddamned if I let this cold interfere with my enjoyment of Thanksgiving. By God, I am going to chase this cold out of my system and ensure that I feel 100% happy and healthy by the time Thanksgiving night rolls around.

How should I go about doing this? Is it even possible, in the way I’ve suggested, to flush a cold out? I already feel a little bit better today, although I have no idea if it’s going to keep improving over the next few days, or get worse.

What can I do to stop it from getting worse? Should I avoid being around other people who might also have colds? Should I change my clothes and shower several times a day so that the germs are not on me for long periods of time? Would it help me to drink a large amount of water?

What would you do in this situation? Is there anything I can proactively do to flush out the cold over the next few days, or at the least, ensure that it doesn’t get any worse?

Your body increases its temperature to fight off infections. I would try to work with this. Get under covers or well dressed to stay very warm. Especially your neck, since that is a cooler place where the cold could be hanging out. Wear a scarf, even indoors (or a turtleneck, I suppose).

Drink plenty of water
get plenty of sleep
don’t drink or smoke, avoid caffeine
take a multivitamin if you have any doubts about how much nutrition you’re getting generally.

Basically just give your immune system every chance to get rid of the adorable little bastards.

You can also take some extra Zinc (evidence is mixed whether it shortens the duration of a cold)

What about kissing my girlfriend? She said she is feeling slightly sick too; should I refrain from kissing her over the next few days? I mean, if we both already have the cold, would we just be furthering our infections by kissing? “Re-contaminating” each other, so to speak?

If you’ve got the same virus, you’ll give her as many copies as she gives you, so it’s a wash. If they’re different, get it over with now. (I’ve recently read that here is some interference one virus gives you against getting another, so maybe you’ll get immunity to the second before it can infect you.)

Properly treated, you can get rid of a cold in seven days.

Without this treatment, it will hang on for a week.

Zinc lozenges; Zicam or Cold-Eeze. For me, if I use them as directed, they cut the duration of the cold in half and significantly reduce the severity of the symptoms. Many people find the taste of zinc pretty gross (I eventually developed an aversion to the taste), so the Zicam RapidMelts are your best bet. I work with small children, and I am never without a supply in my medicine cabinet.

I’d refrain from kissing the GF, if you’re trying to maximize your chances of beating the cold.

Don’t take the risk she has another strain or that her similar strain might be a mutant strain with a new type!
Plus, any other bacteria or such in her mouth that is introduced into yours is precious resources that your own guys could be using to fight off your cold!

I’d be careful with zinc lozenges. There hasn’t been any testing that has proven them effective and zinc based nasal sprays have been pulled off the market for permanently destroying people’s sense of smell. The FDA has no jurisdiction over this type of medication.

Best bet is sleep, and drink plenty of HOMEMADE chicken soup. I don’t know if it actually helps a cold, but cooking up a pot in my kitchen and smelling it simmering always makes me feel not so bad about having a cold.

There are over the counter medications that will help relieve some of the symptoms – at least temporarily. I wouldn’t take them right now. Let your body get over the cold a bit, and take them on Thanksgiving to help reduce your fever and stuffiness. Don’t take an antihistamine.

Take a decongestant instead. Pseudoephedrine based ones seem to work the best, but you can’t simply run into a store to buy them any more. You have to go to a pharmacy, sign a statement that you are an upstanding citizen, swear on a bible, and cross your heart and hope to die that you’re just buying them for your cold and not trying to brew up something illegal. After that, you get a certificate of good standing and have the privilege of being able to buying a single box of real Sudafed. The stuff on that they actually put on the shelf isn’t as good.

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but…

Neti Pot.

Seriously has worked wonders for me. It’s just salt and water, very benign. But it clears your sinuses extremely well.

I see what you did there… :wink:

I take a lot of vitamin C, and it pretty much always works for me, but some people don’t believe in that.

Realistically, if there was an established, reliable method for significantly shortening the duration of colds, don’t you think most people would use them every time (not just when they had an important holiday coming up)?

If you’re congested, take hot showers. Hot as you can stand. For me at least, breathing in all that steam makes me feel better, at least temporarily. Don’t think it’ll make your cold go away faster but it’ll make you feel a bit better.

Last cold I had I tried those Cold-Eze zinc lozenges. Tasted pretty bad and my cold still lasted a week or so, no different than normal for me. I was trying everything I could to feel better quick - I had big plans a few days after onset too - and I was upset to find nothing helped. Good luck though.

I do the opposite of myskepticsight, I take cold showers in the summer and barely lukewarm showers in the winter since I can remember. The result, my family can be ill with the cold or flu while I get a mild case or not get ill at all, despite being in the same room for hours. Apparently, there are studies that show that cold showers help fight illness. If I do feel congested and it’s cold outside, I go outside and breathe deeply.

I don’t know about resolving a cold sooner, but I think it helps prevent 'em. I’ve been taking 1000mg a day for the past week and a half (and 1800mg of Echinacea w/ golden seal) because some coworkers were under the weather, and I’m now the only one in the house that hasn’t had a miserable cold for the past week. Turns out that everyone has the a cold, not the flu like I worried since we still can’t get vaccines here yet, but I’m happy to avoid that cold too since the state health department says that it’s awful enough that 60% of people tested for the flu over the past couple of weeks have had that instead.

I realize that the scientific reviews behind this are mixed, at best, but hey, you’ve got nothing to lose: the hubby and I have had good results from taking mega-doses of both zinc and vitamin C at the first signs of a cold.

ETA: Even if the zinc and vitamin C don’t work, by Thursday you should be starting to feel better anyway!

Feel better soon!

Unless you can speed up time, the advice sevenwood has given is the absolute truth. No getting around it.

Fiddling with treatments may occupy your time and maybe even make you feel better. But it is a virus and must run it’s course.

The best action to take when you get a cold or flu is to provide yourself with something to read, a comfortable place to lie, and a sympathetic friend.

Then wait a few days until you feel better.

The is a problem with zinc lozenges is that you can’t conduct a proper study with it.

It does appear to help, but you can’t prove it.

First of all you have to suck the zinc lozenge, if you swallow it whole it’s not gonna work (if indeed it does)

This is where the issues come in.

To properly test something you need a double blind study where neither the patient nor doctor knows who is getting the correct meds and who’s getting the placebo.

Zinc lozenges have a definate taste to them, and no one, to date, has come up with an acceptable way to make the placebo taste just like a zinc lozenges so you can’t tell which is which. The participants are always able to tell if they are getting the zinc lozenge or the placebo.

So thus, you can’t have a true double bind study.

You have to remember in any study of meds between 20% and 35% of a control group get better with the placebo.

The cold is gone now anyway, but thanks for the advice everyone.