Tips to Overcome a Cold or Flu

Unfortunately, the cold and flu come on with little or no warning. While there is no cure for the common cold or flu, here are some things you can do to help recover faster. If you’re following these tips and your symptoms persist for more than 10 days, you should contact your doctor.

Get plenty of rest.

If you’re sick, stay home and take a break from your daily activities until you feel better. Your body will need all your energy to fight off infection.

Drink plenty of water.

It’s important to stay hydrated while sick, and water is your best choice of beverage to help thin mucus, break up congestion and prevent fatigue and headaches. While sick, avoid coffee, alcohol and caffeinated sodas.

Sleep in your bed.

While you may be tempted to just fall asleep on the couch, you’ll be more comfortable and have a better nap or sleep in your bed. To help you breathe easier while lying down, raise your head by using an extra pillow.

Take a hot bath or shower.

Heat can help ease your sore muscles, and breathing in steam may loosen congestion and help relieve your scratchy throat and stuffy nose.

Drink hot beverages.

Having a hot drink like non-caffeinated herbal tea, warm broth or lemon water can help ease your fatigue and sore throat. Mix in a spoonful of honey for cough relief.

Gargle with saltwater a few times a day.

While saltwater doesn’t taste good, it helps to loosen mucus and swelling in your throat. Mix in ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water until it’s dissolved.

Eat chicken noodle soup.

The warm broth will help ease your sore throat, and research shows that it actually helps calm inflammation in your body, thus reducing your aches and congestion. The calories and protein from its ingredients will provide you with the energy you need to fight off infection.

Use a saltwater nasal spray or nasal irrigation.

Available over-the-counter, saltwater sprays add moisture to your nostrils, making it easier to blow your nose. Nasal irrigation gets rid of dry mucus by pouring a saline solution into one nostril and letting it flow out the other, which helps you breathe better.

Take an over-the-counter medicine such as the ones below, and be sure to take them as directed.

  • Cough drops to soothe a sore throat and cough
  • Acetaminophen for aches and fever
  • Expectorant to loosen mucus
  • Decongestant to free up a stuffy nose
  • Antihistamine to stop a runny nose