No matter how vigilant you are about avoiding germs, chances are you’re going to end up with a cold at some point this season. The standard cough, sore throat, and stuffy nose typically subside on their own within a week—but every now and then you get one of those whoppers that seems to drag on forever. If your cold symptoms are overstaying their welcome, or you feel like you’re getting worse instead of better, here’s what could be to blame.
Feeling especially frazzled lately? The stress hormone cortisol can suppress your immune system, which makes it easier to catch a cold and harder to get rid of one. “Relieving stress through yoga, meditation, weight training, or cardio exercise can boost your endorphins, which can have a positive effect on boosting your immune system,” says Vikram Tarugu, MD, a board-certified physician in Florida.