6 Tips to Relieve a Cold or the Flu
With the arrival of colder weather, you’re more likely to spend more time indoors. And when you’re in closer contact with other people, viruses tend to spread more easily, which explains the spike in cases of common colds and the flu in Fall and Winter.
To reduce your odds of catching a cold or the flu, take a few preventive measures:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
- Regularly clean surfaces that you touch often with your hands, e.g., counters, toilets, computer keyboards, and equipment that you use in your workplace, especially if you share it with others.
- Avoid direct contact with people who are sick and may be contagious.
- Get an annual flu shot to prevent the flu.
If you catch a cold or the flu, here are 6 tips to help you get back on your feet again as quickly as possible and to reduce the risk of infecting others:
1. Hydrate regularly
Staying hydrated on a regular basis helps keep your throat moist, which can soothe coughs and sore throats.
Since your mouth and nose are connected, the heat and moisture given off by warm liquids (herbal teas) can help clear your nasal passages and relieve nasal congestion.
If you have a fever, you can drink water, fresh fruit juice or broth to keep you properly hydrated.
2. Eat enough to satisfy your hunger and soothe your symptoms.
If your body is fighting a virus, you may feel less hungry than usual. Maintaining food intake is essential to ensure the body has the nutrients to fight the infection.
While there are no miracle foods to cure a cold or the flu quickly, certain types of foods can be a good choice, depending on your symptoms:
- If you have a sore throat: cold treats, like frozen pops, or warm liquids such as broth, may soothe a sore throat.
- If you have a cough: have a bit of honey before you go to bed, to temporarily soothe your cough and help you fall asleep (Note: Do not give honey to infants under the age of 1).
3. Get plenty of restWhen you’re laid low by a cold or the flu, your body expends a lot of energy fighting the virus. Don’t hesitate to delegate certain tasks so you can get some rest.
4. Limit your social interactions
If you have the flu, stay home!
The common cold doesn’t usually hit as hard as the flu, and you will likely feel well enough to go about your daily occupations. However, you should still try to keep your social contacts to a minimum, to avoid spreading your infection to those around you.
Regardless of whether you have a cold or the flu, avoid visiting any friends or family who are in frail health (young babies, elderly or ill people) until you are better.
5. Be patient, except in certain situations
Give your body time to fight off the infection. Remember that a cough will likely stick around for a few weeks after your other symptoms have subsided. While it may be annoying, it will clear up with time. There’s no point seeing your doctor to ask for antibiotics—they don’t work on the viruses that cause colds or the flu.
However, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you:
- Have a disease that increases your risk of complications, e.g., lung or heart disease, immune system compromised by a disease or certain medications
- Fever continues to worsen day after day or if it lasts for more than 3 days
- Feel pain that worsens or persists when you breathe
- Symptoms worsen or show no signs of improvement after 7 days
To help you determine whether you should seek medical attention, ask your pharmacist for advice.
6. Take an over-the-counter medication to relieve your symptoms, if needed.
You will find many over-the-counter (OTC) medications at your pharmacy that can help reduce the various symptoms of common colds or the flu, such as:
|Fever, muscle pain or aches||
You can use more than one product if you have several bothersome symptoms. You could also try using an all-in-one product, but use caution. Always make sure not to take other OTC or prescription medications that contain similar ingredients, so you don’t exceed the recommended dose. Read product labels carefully, and don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist for advice. They’re there to help!
* Any drug or natural health product may cause serious side effects or interactions with other medications.
** Read the instructions, warnings and brochures provided by the manufacturer and consult your pharmacist when purchasing medication or natural health products carefully.
*** Always keep medications and natural health products out of the reach of children.
The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.