Six Steps to Taming Your Cold or Flu

2018-12-12

Six Steps to Taming Your Cold or FluCold and flu season in New York is officially here. Perhaps, as recommended by health departments nationwide, you got a flu shot, and maybe you'll get lucky and avoid getting sick. But if you do catch what's going around, here are six ways to minimize your pain and suffering, and maybe even shorten your illness.

Stay hydrated: Because many cold and flu symptoms can cause dehydration, water is a magic elixir when it comes to getting well. Double up on fluids (herbal tea and sparkling water do count) and stay away from caffeinated drinks, alcohol; soda and other sugary drinks.

Get Real Rest: Whether it's out of guilt or necessity, most of us would rather take a bunch of cold medicine and power through instead of actually calling in sick. But one of the best things you can do is lay low and not expend too much energy so your body can work on getting well. So if you're feeling crummy and especially if you are contagious stay home. And if you do stay home, don't work.

Manage your symptoms: There may not be much you can do to speed up your sickness; but you can at least take steps to make yourself feel a little better. Try a salt water gargle, or tea with lemon, honey, ginger or cayenne (or any combination) to soothe a sore throat; use a humidifier or take a steaming bath or shower to relieve congestion. Essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint can open up the airways and help you to breathe more freely. Finally, a heating pad or hot water bottle, or, alternately, a cool cloth can take the edge off aches, pains, chills or a fever.

Keep your nose clean: Nasal irrigation systems and over-the-counter saline and steroid nasal sprays can relieve pressure, blockages, and other sinus symptoms; and help to flush out bacteria from the nasal passages. You can find a traditional neti pot at your local health food store, or a NeilMed system at most grocery and drugstores.

Use over-the-counter medicine sparingly: Painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, cough suppressants and other over-the-counter remedies can be a lifesaver if you have to work, parent, or just get things done while you're sick. But overtaking these medicines can mask your body's need to rest or, worse, cause damage to your liver and other organs. Always use over-the-counter medication as directed. Remember that it won't get rid of your illness, so use in moderation.

Consult a professional: If you can't breathe, have chest pain or a prolonged fever; or if your illness lasts more than two weeks, you probably want to get in to see a doctor, to be sure there isn't something more serious going on, or to get relief for more severe symptoms.

For any questions about health insurance, call or contact Executive Insurance & Financial Services today.

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