We all want to get better really fast when we get sick. Some of our habits may actually make our symptoms worse though.
Some things we should avoid when evading that common cold and flu as we fight our way to recovery are:
- Strive to power through and don’t keep the usual routine. Our body needs energy to fight off that cold or virus so make rest a priority. Stay home from work or school to recover. Not only for your own benefit, but think of those around you that you are spreading those germs to.
- Flu symptoms should prompt you to call the doctor, but not if you are just feeling those run-of-the-mill cold symptoms. An antiviral drugs can help with the signs of flu such as a high fever, body aches and fatigue. Your symptoms can be eased and your illness shortened by 1 or 2 days by beginning an antiviral drug in the first 48 hours.
- Do not skimp on sleep as it weakens your immune system and makes it harder to battle that infection. Those who get less than 6 hours of shut-eye each night are 4 times more likely to get sick than those sleeping at least 7 hours. Hit that bed early and take naps during the day. Use a nighttime cough syrup with a little honey and use that humidifier to help breathe easier.
- Bugging your doctor for an antibiotic will not result in feeling better. Antibiotics will only kill bacteria and these colds and flu are caused by viruses. Plus, nearly 1/3 of antibiotics are unnecessary and can raise your risk of side effect, such as diarrhea and allergic reactions as well as contributing to a global health problem of antibiotic resistance.
- It may be hard to swallow liquids but you need to stay hydrated so that you can thin your mucus and break up congestion. It will fend off your headaches, too, so drink plenty of water or sip a warm beverage like herbal tea or broth. This can help ease cold symptoms such as fatigue or a sore throat.
- You may not have much of an appetite but you need those calories and nutrients that will fuel the immune cells that attack cold and flu viruses to make you get better faster. Even if it’s a bowl of chicken soup as this will actually relieve some of the symptoms.
- Smoking should be avoided as it damages your lungs and irritates your throat that can make your cold symptoms worse. Ditch those cigarettes and keep away from that secondhand smoke.
- Do NOT stress out as this creates a hormone that is hard on the immune system and increases inflammation. This can make your stuffy nose even worse so make an effort to focus on relaxing and recovering and you will be back on our feet before you know it!
Dr Fredda Branyon