How to Feel Better when You Have a Cold (for Girls)

Three Parts:Alleviating Cold SymptomsGetting Better More QuicklyAvoiding Common Cold Misconceptions

Unfortunately there is no cure for a cold specifically for girls, but there are ways to help speed up your recovery time and to make you feel better while you're ill if you are female and aged between 5 and 12. If you take good care of yourself by getting enough sleep, drinking enough fluids, and eating properly, that cold should be gone in no time!

Part 1
Alleviating Cold Symptoms

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    Sleep. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important ways girls can help get rid of a pesky cold. Your body is already fighting a battle against the cold and trying to get rid of it, which in turn, makes your body more tired.
    • If you can, try to stay home from school or work. If that isn't possible, lighten your load a bit. At lunch time, go to the nurse's office and see if you can rest in there until the end of lunch.
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    Rehydrate. You have to avoid getting dehydrated, which will make it harder for your body to fight off the cold. Drink lots of water, orange juice, and tea. Avoid soda (even the sugar-free kind) and coffee, because the sugar and caffeine will tax your immune system and it will take longer for you to get well. It might pay you to remember tea also contains caffeine. [1]
    • Hot liquids especially can help alleviate your congestion and soothe your inflamed throat and nose. Try hot water with honey and lemon, or a nice soothing mint tea.
    • Avoid milk (and other dairy products) as these contribute to the production of mucus and will make girls feel worse.
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    Gargle to ease your throat. There are different kinds of gargles you can use to help your throat and your congestion. You can buy them at any drugstore, but it's super easy to make one right at home.[2]
    • Try 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt mixed with an 8-ounce glass of warm water.
    • Mix a little honey and apple cider vinegar in an 8-ounce glass of warm water.
    • Steep 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in 2 cups of hot water. Mix in 1 teaspoon of honey and allow to cool to room temperature before gargling.
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    Blow your nose properly. Sniffing your mucus back into your head instead of blowing it can make your cold worse, and can hurt your eardrums, giving you an earache on top of everything else. There is also a right way to blow your nose. Doing otherwise can, again, hurt your eardrum.
    • The correct way is to press one finger over a nostril and blow gently to clear the other nostril. Repeat on the other nostril, both nostrils are cleared. Remember to wash your hands after. This method is not just for girls, it's okay for others to blow their nose this way too.
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    Get over the counter medications. This is only for helping to ease your symptoms. There is no cold medication of any kind that will prevent or treat a cold. Also, cold medication can have unpleasant side effects and worsening of symptoms when you stop taking them. That said, they can help give you some relief, especially at night so you can sleep.[3]
    • Decongestants are used to reduce nasal congestion and usually come as a spray or to be taken by mouth. They only ease symptoms for a short period of time and are usually best to be used at night when you're trying to sleep (and many cause drowsiness, anyway). Do NOT use for longer than 7 days.
    • Painkillers like paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin can help reduce a fever and alleviate pain (like the pressure from your congested sinuses). You really shouldn't take them if you're under the age of 16 Do if you are a girl aged less than 16 don't take them. Make sure to check that it's okay to take the painkiller if you're already taking other cold medication.
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    Get steamy. Since colds thrive in dry conditions, and dry air dries your throat and nasal passages causing a stuffy nose and scratchy throat, getting moisture in your body and home can help ease your cold symptoms.
    • You can run a hot steamy shower and sit in it with the bathroom door closed and breathe in the steam. Adding a little eucalyptus can help open your air passages for a while.
    • Stand over a steaming pot and drape a cloth or towel over your head to trap in the steam. Breathe deep.
    • You can also get a humidifier, just make sure that you clean it properly to avoid mold, fungi, and bacteria.
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    Put hot or cold packs on your congested sinuses. These help alleviate the pressure caused by all the mucus in your sinuses and can help you feel better. Drugstores have reusable hot and cold packs available or you can heat a damp washcloth for 55 seconds in the microwave as a hot pack and use a packet of frozen peas as a cold pack.
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    Put mentholated salve under your nose. Various vapor rubs or menthol rubs like Olbas Oil, Vicks, or Mentholatum can help you breathe more comfortable if you apply a bit directly under your nostrils and they can help alleviate the redness and chapped areas on your nostrils.
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    Elevate your head. This is especially important to do at night, but elevating your head helps drain your nasal passageways of the mucus that's been collecting in them and will help you sleep more comfortably at night.
    • Put extra pillows on your bed, so that you're sleeping propped upright.

Part 2
Getting Better More Quickly

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    Eat chicken soup. Chicken soup can do a couple things to help girls get well more quickly. One, it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and two, it speeds up the movement of mucus which eases nasal congestion and can help get rid of viruses. Also, it aids in keeping you hydrated.[4]
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    Eat healthily. Healthy eating is a huge part of getting better more quickly and in staying better once you've gotten rid of your cold. This means avoiding sweets while you're sick: no soda, no candy, no ice cream, no dairy.[5]
    • Sugar is apparently terrible for your immune system. It curbs the immune system cells that attack viruses, which in turn keeps you from getting better quickly and staying better. Sugar can also irritate areas that are already inflamed (like your throat).
    • Try to eat more of the brightly colored fruits and veggies like berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots and garlic.
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    Exercise. Exercise helps boost your immune system which allows it to better fight infections and viruses. Girls who don't exercise are much more likely to get sick (or get a cold) than a those who do exercise. Exercise also releases feel-good chemicals and helps you sleep better, which in turn helps boost your immune system.
    • Even when you're feeling bad because you have a cold, try for at least a 30 minute walk, or some yoga. It will help you get better more quickly.
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    Use a saline nasal spray. Saltwater rinses and nasal sprays break down the mucus that is congesting your nasal passageways and removes virus particles and bacteria from your nose. You can get something like a Neti pot at a health food store, or simply use a bulb syringe.
    • Mix 1/4 teaspoon of salt with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 8-ounces of warm water. Lean your head over a sink and gently squirt the salt water solution into your nostril. Hold 1 nostril closed with your finger while you squirt salt water solution into the other and let drain. Repeat 2 to 3 times on both nostrils.
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    Get rested. Obviously sleep is important to getting over a cold, but try to do calm, quiet, non-taxing things when you're sick. This way your body is less stressed out and more able to deal with getting rid of your cold. Even if you're not taking a bunch of naps, lying down with a book or watching some television can help you feel better.

Part 3
Avoiding Common Cold Misconceptions

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    Don't use zinc. Zinc is one of those things people are still debating over the effectiveness of, but recent studies don't seem to think that it does much for you when you have a cold. Zinc can also have the side-effects of a lingering bad taste and nausea.[6]
    • Do NOT use nasal cold remedies that contain zinc, as they have been linked to permanent loss of smell.
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    Don't use antibiotics. Antibiotics attack bacteria and not cold viruses. They won't help you get better faster and over-use of antibiotics has led to the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
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    Don't use Echinacea medication. While for most people, there is nothing wrong with using Echinacea, there does not seem to be any particular benefit to it either. It seems to be unlikely to help make your cold go away sooner.[7]
    • If you have asthma, however, do not use this. Echinacea medications have been known to make asthma symptoms worse.


  • Try buying a lavender scented pillow. It is very relaxing.
  • Leave your towel and pajamas on a radiator to stay warm (but be careful - radiators still pose a fire risk, even though it is a small one).
  • Cuddling up with a teddy bear or other cuddly friend can be very comforting at any age, child or adult. Just be certain to wash it when you are well again (and, don't take it into the comforting bath with you!)
  • Herbal teas are particularly soothing (peppermint, jasmine etc.). Not only do they taste great, they also give off a lovely scent - if you can smell it through all the mucus you know you're on the mend! In olden days, herbal teas were often used as a cure-all. There are herbal teas available that are meant to help with colds, such as Gypsy Cold Care. While they will not cure you, they can be comforting (they taste really good too!)
  • Get lots of blankets and put them on your bed, couch, or wherever you are resting.
  • It helps to rest a lot, eat soup, and drink some tea.
  • Drink loads of water and blow your nose, don't swallow your mucus.
  • Use lavender sheet/home and linen spray. spray it onto your pillow before bed.
  • Get a hot flannel, not soaking, and put that over your nose while you rest.
  • Massage your sinuses if you have a sinus headache. It helps!
  • Go to the doctor's office or get some sleep.
  • Drink a lot of water, eat some soup and get lots of sleep.


  • Avoid flying if you have a cold. It can make the pressure in your head worse and possibly do damage to your eardrums.
  • Stay home when its time for school or work because you can get other people sick as well.
  • Be careful not to fall asleep in your bathtub; a good idea is to set a (loud) timer to go off when you assume you will get up.
  • If you're a parent and you are sick, get your kids a babysitter to avoid them catching your illness.

Article Info

Categories: Colds and Viruses | Health for Teens and Kids