Posted by Cindy Parsons, February 28, 2018 (last updated on November 28, 2018)
While some people seem to be able to go through life without ever getting sick, the majority of us aren't that lucky. Even with yearly flu shots, warm clothing, and over-the-top preventive measures like flu masks, chances are you will still get sick. Lucky for you, catching a cold doesn't have to mean the end of the world, because there are a lot of things you can take and do to make yourself less miserable. Here are five great tips for surviving the cold and flu season.
Take Preventive Measures
While all the preventive measures in the world can't keep you from getting sick, they do help. You don't have to go around spraying everything and everyone with sanitizer, but you can make sure that you're getting plenty of nutrients, staying away from drafts, staying warm, and taking care of yourself. Regular exercise helps to boost your immune system as well, so don't be afraid to work out, go for walks, or even go for a swim in an indoor pool. Another thing to keep in mind is that while vitamin C supplements can help to boost your immune system, studies show that too much can be harmful.
Get Plenty of Exercise
If it's too late for preventive measures and you're already sick, then consider adding exercise to help combat your illness. While you might not feel like getting out of bed, a quick walk, a slow bike ride, yoga, or even a swim can boost your immune system and get your blood pumping. Both of these factors will make you feel better now, and help you get better sooner. Consider easy to moderate exercise rather than high-energy options like running or kickboxing. Why, because you probably don’t have the energy for the latter.
Eat (and drink) Right
Did you know that what you eat and drink can help you get better faster? Consider stocking up on herbal teas like Chamomile, ginger, and mint; all of which you can purchase easily at many grocery stores. You can also skip carbs in favor of lean immune-system-boosting proteins, and spicy foods. People who cut proteins out of their diet tend to stay sick longer, so make sure you include it in yours. The amino acids in spicy foods like peppers, ginger, and horseradish have also been shown to have incredible anti-viral properties that can help you get better faster.
Stock Up On Medicine
All of the tea and honey in the world won’t help you feel better if you're hacking your lungs out. You need cold remedies including an effective medicine for coughs, something to stop a runny nose, and usually a painkiller to combat aches and pains. If you're prone to getting diarrhea, you can also stock up on antidiarrheal pills. There are plenty of cold and flu medicines out there and many of them can be purchased from a local drugstore, or online. If you don't feel like spending big on your cold and flu medicine cabinet, consider a decongestive syrup and decongestive pills to take with you should you have to go to work as your bare essentials.
Related: Flu Shot Pros and Cons
While most bacteria need warmth to survive, so do your antibodies. Try staying warm whenever possible and avoid sudden temperature changes. Avoiding drafts, keeping your heat on, wearing warm clothing, and making sure that you're well bundled up for bed can all help you to recover faster. However, that doesn't mean to keep the windows closed at all times. Airing the house out can get bacteria out of the air so that you recover faster. Last but not least, don't forget that soaking in a hot tub, or in the shower, and applying a hot towel to your face can do wonders for how you feel.
There are no miracle cures for the common cold, but you don't have to suffer through them. In fact, there is a lot of research that suggests exercising, staying warm, drinking plenty of healthy warm beverages and eating a lot of lean protein can help you get better in record time. When you add in getting plenty of sleep, avoiding caffeine and alcohol and making sure you have medicine to help with the symptoms, you'll be over your cold and feeling great in no time!
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About the author
Cindy Parsons is a registered nurse living in Hobart, Australia with her 3 daughters and pet parakeet. She likes sharing health tips and regularly joins medical missions in developing countries.