No one really likes cold and flu season; we dread it even more should we acquire either one. Terrible.

Sore throat, runny nose, chest congestion, sinus congestion, cough. Ugh, ugh, ugh, and freaking UGH. Oh, and sometimes you can come down with a fever. A cold is never a “24-hour” thing either; instead, we can expect the dreadfulness to stick around for a week, maybe even two. Meanwhile, everyone else avoids us like the plague – and rightfully so.

Here’s the good news: if we learn some basic prevention stuff, we may be able to stave off a cold. You see, a cold is one of those sicknesses that sends us subtle “pre-symptom” signs; if we learn to pay attention to our bodies, we can be effective in preventing it.

So, we have two choices: (a) do some basic preventative stuff and avoid being sick, or (b) enjoy a cold and all of its dreadfulness.

We’ll ALL go with (a).

And here are 10 early warning signs of the common cold, and how you can prevent it:

cold shower showering

1. Your energy levels are depleted.

We can feel when our energy reserves are getting low. This is especially true at the workplace, when our energy levels must maintain equilibrium in order to accomplish anything. If – at the end of the day – you’re completely spent, a cold may be surfacing.

The Solution: Find some way to relax. Chronic stress suppresses the immune system, making it more difficult to ward off any impending illness. A break is in order to correct this.

2. Your throat begins to feel “scratchy.”

Colds are upper respiratory illnesses; as such, it is common for areas of the upper body to feel early symptoms. Obviously, this includes the throat, where a cold virus can cause inflammation of the throat.

The Solution: Gargle with salt water. While it may sound funny, gargling with salt water reduces inflammation and mucus accumulation.

3. You’re blowing your nose more

If you’re beginning to blow your nose more often than usual, it may be a sign of impending illness. The areas surrounding the nose and sinuses are often the first to feel the effects of a cold virus.

The Solution: Take hot showers. A hot shower can be a cure-all for nasal symptoms. The steam that hot water emits reduces swelling into the nasal membranes, which also makes it much easier to breathe better.

4. Pressure in your sinuses

It’s common during the onset of a cold to feel pain around your sinuses. Symptoms include headache, pressure, or watery and tired eyes. This is one of the first symptoms that a cold virus is trying to invade the sinuses.

The Solution: Eat chicken soup. Yes, chicken soup really is good for feeling better. Specifically, the electrolytes, heat, and salt within the soup is terrific for hydration; while the ingredients reduce congestion.

5. Your nose is a bit stuffed up

When you can’t breathe through the nose easily, the nasal passages are susceptible to cold germs. As mentioned, symptoms will often appear around the nose and nasal passageways; it is important to address these symptoms before full onset of a cold.

The Solution: Drink a lot of liquids. Hydrating your body thins out mucus and keeping nasal membranes moist.

6. You’re coughing more

It seems obvious, but we have a way of disregarding something as “harmless” as a simple cough. Noticeably frequent coughing, however, can be a telltale sign of a surfacing cold.

The Solution: Prop yourself up. With pillows, that is. The reason? Lying flat on a surface actually allows congestion in the sinuses to permeate your throat – a byproduct of gravitational pull. So, counteract this natural law and use pillows to keep these areas clear.

7. Your chest is kind of stuffed up

As a cold virus works its way downward, it’s common to feel tightness in the chest. Germs contained within the lungs manifest into congestion of the airways. Oftentimes, this tightness is quite subtle, and can be difficult to “detect.”

The Solution: Get some light exercise. Light exercise is a wonderful in a variety of ways, which includes keeping us healthy. Various studies demonstrate that light exercise can: result in fewer illnesses and reduce illness symptoms.

8. You feel super tired

No real big surprise here. When our bodies are being invaded by germs, our immune system kicks into overdrive. As a result, we feel more fatigued – and even exhausted. Fatigue symptoms can be minor or severe, but it’s essential that they’re addressed.

The Solution: Get plenty of sleep. It doesn’t matter if you feel slightly tired or exhausted…it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our bodies. Consider this study by Carnegie Mellon University: people who got less than seven hours of sleep per night were three times more likely to get a cold.


9. Your sleep is disrupted

When we’re getting sick, viruses have a way of interfering with our regular sleeping patterns. This is hardly surprising, as our bodies have an innate talent for detecting anything wrong. If you’re being woken up frequently throughout the night, it could be sign of an impending illness.

The Solution: Melatonin or Valerian Supplementation. Melatonin helps to regulate the body’s natural sleep patterns by normalizing circadian rhythms – the sleep/wake cycle. Valerian is an herb that has been around for centuries, and has been thought to contain properties that reduce symptoms of sleeplessness.

10. You just feel “off”

Yes, the phrase “You just feel ‘off’” is very abstract. However, it is nonetheless true. As mentioned above, it is very important that we listen to our bodies in order to ward off impending illnesses, including colds.

The Solution: Herbs and/or Vitamins. Vitamin C and Zinc for reducing illness duration; Vitamin D for cold prevention. The herbs Echinacea and Elderberry to strengthen the immune system.

Donvito, T. (n.d.) Cold symptoms: Signs a Cold is Coming. Retrieved November 27, 2016  from
Natural sleep aids and remedies. (2015, September 2). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from WebMD,
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