It’s not uncommon to come down with a cold virus at some point during the winter season, no matter how much hand washing you do and vitamin C you pop. If you do happen to get sick however, there are some proven ways to help you get better as quickly as possible.

The first thing to know is that taking antibiotics does nothing for cold and flu viruses, because they’re viral infections not bacterial ones. That means that your best defense is keeping your body in peak condition so that your natural immune system can work as efficiently as possible. Treating the symptoms can help you feel less miserable in the meantime while your body handles the infection.

Staying hydrated is very important when you have a cold, and drinking tea is a great way to keep up with that hydration. Herbal teas can also be very soothing to the throat and loosen up congestion with the heat. Not to mention it just feels warming and comforting to drink tea when you’re feeling under the weather. Add some lemon for an antibacterial boost and some honey for extra soothing power.

It can be tempting to drink alcohol when you’re just slightly under the weather, but skip it anyway. Alcohol can be very dehydrating which is the opposite of what you need to be doing. Plus drinking before bed can disrupt the sleep, which brings us to the next point.

You should also make sure that you can get plenty of rest. If it’s possible to call out sick from work than you absolutely should for the first day, which is when you need to get the most rest if you want to kick this thing. Sleep as much as possible, and take advantage of the opportunity to chill out and catch up on your Netflix queue. The more sleep and rest you can get, the more effective your immune defense will be.

That being said, you don’t have to skip the gym unless you have a fever. Just go a little lighter than usual and pay attention to any light headedness or extreme fatigue. Sweating it out can actually feel pretty good. Just be sure to hydrate after so you don’t dehydrate yourself and make the cold worse.

There are a couple reasons why eating chicken soup is suggested when you have a cold, and this is partly because it’s full of salty electrolytes that you need to get healthy. It’s also a warm and comforting meal, and the protein in the chicken is easy on the stomach and gives you the energy boost that you need.  Try to eat as healthy as possible since your body needs all the nutrients it can get.

Another thing you should be sure to do is to continue washing your hands, because just because you are already sick doesn’t mean that you can’t get something else. Plus if you’re at work or out in public it’s just polite as a preventative measure to avoid spreading your cold to everyone else in town.