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Cold & Flu Prevention Center

Stop a Cold in Its Tracks

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Gargle with salt water

To combat a scratchy throat add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water. "The salt draws out excess water in your throat’s tissues, reducing the inflammation, and clears mucous and irritants from the back of the throat," notes Philip Hagen, MD, medical editor in chief of Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies. The rinse also flushes out bacteria and viruses, which may help whether you’re getting a cold or want to prevent one in the first place.

Next: Keep your nose clean

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