As the days get shorter, the season changes, and the temperature starts dropping, we spend more time inside often with family and friends. While this allows us to spend more quality time with loved ones, it also means we are closer to others and share germs more readily. This leaves us prone to getting sick with a cold and sometime even the flu.
The common cold and flu are caused by viruses, and the flu is often preventable by getting the vaccine. Most importantly, antibiotics do not treat viruses, and they do not improve your symptoms either. However, these five tips may help you feel better through your illness.
- Drink warm liquids. Whether it’s warm chicken noodle soup or a cup of tea, the warmth will help to soothe a sore throat, and the steam coming off the liquid may even help loosen some congestion. Be sure to test the temperature first before consuming so you don’t burn yourself.
- Pick up some cough suppressants. Coughing is usually a sign that your body is trying to get rid of any mucus which is good and what we call in the medical field, a productive cough. The issue is when this productive cough turns non-productive, like a dry and hacking cough. Cough suppressants such as cough drops, guaifenesin, or dextromethorphan can be picked up at your local drug store. If you are taking any other medications, though, you may want to double-check with the pharmacist or your doctor and see what may be best for you.
- Over-the-counter pain meds. A sore throat can be debilitating. It hurts to eat, swallow, and talk. You don’t realize how much you do those things until it hurts, and sometime a lozenge just doesn’t cut it. Luckily, there are couple over-the-counter pains medications that may be able to help. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are two of them; however, please touch base with your pharmacist or doctor because in people with certain health conditions, one option may be better than the other.
- Decongestants help relieve sinus pressure. Decongestants often work well for most people, but they do have some side effects that you want to be aware of. Two common side effects include increased blood pressure and inability to fall asleep when taken at bedtime. If you already have high blood pressure or insomnia, you may want to ask your pharmacist or doctor for an option that is best for you.
- WATER, WATER, WATER. Drink plenty of fluids, but mainly, drink water. When you have the cold, your body is going to battle with the virus, and there are casualties on both sides. Most of the time our body eventually wins, but your body needs to get rid of the dead viruses and white blood cells—your body’s soldiers. Water is how our bodies remove that and other toxins. In most people, drinking plenty of water is not an issue; however, for some it may be. If your doctor has told you to watch how much water you drink, ask him/her for additional guidance if you get a cold.
Being sick is no fun and unfortunately, there is no proven way to hasten recovery. However, with these tips above, hopefully those seven to 10 days will be a little less uncomfortable.
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