Cold and flu recovery

Carly Boens (TheLorian)

With cold and flu season approaching, it is important to follow the proper prevention steps to avoid coming down with a common cold or a more severe case of the flu. Especially when life and school are demanding, it can be problematic to become sick and not be able to complete daily tasks. Thus, following the proper prevention techniques can be helpful to maintain health. In the case that one does become sick, there are at-home methods to relieve symptoms and potentially lessen the severity of the illness. On the other hand, while it is recommended to go to the doctor if a sickness lasts for more than a couple of days, it is possible to self-treat for minor illnesses.

Diet is an important component to both preventing and treating illness, and most of the foods are simple to find and inexpensive. Fruits with vitamin C in them are great at boosting immune health. Oranges, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mango, and papaya are all great providers of vitamin C. Ginger is another immune-boosting food, as it has high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger can be cooked fresh, used dried, or found in teas. Bananas are a good food to eat when sick because they contain fast-acting carbs that help restore electrolytes in the body. When someone is dehydrated from being sick, electrolytes are depleted. Bananas can help replenish that loss and promote recovery. Broths also help rehydrate the body and can supply essential nutrients (Healthline, 2021). Proper rest and stress coping methods are also a way to stay healthy. Getting a full night of sleep every night and maintaining a sleep schedule is sometimes difficult, but can be a great step towards staying healthy.

However, since preventing sickness is not always possible, there are ways to lessen the severity of symptoms. Dehydration, congestion, and a sore throat can be some of the more frustrating symptoms of a cold or flu, but also have several treatment methods for at home. Combatting dehydration can help bring down a fever or loosen congestion with water, juice, broth, and lemon water. On the other hand, caffeine, coffee, and alcohol can worsen dehydration and make symptoms worse.

As for a sore throat, gargling warm salt water can relieve the pain. A simple ratio for gargling is to mix half a teaspoon of salt with eight ounces of warm water. It is important to make sure that the water is warm but not hot. Water that is too hot can burn the throat. Additionally, ice chips, throat lozenges, or hard candies can help soothe a sore throat (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Drinking warm liquids can help reduce congestion. Warm teas with honey and lemon juice can be especially helpful to reduce cough as well. Vaporizers can be used at home to help promote breathing. It’s important to make sure that humidifiers and vaporizers are cleaned frequently to prevent bacteria growth and that the water is cleaned every day (Mayo Clinic, 2021).

Overall, while getting a cold or the flu is very likely during the cold fall and winter seasons, there are ways to both prevent them and to lessen the symptoms. When sick, using at-home treatment methods can help reduce pain and discomfort and shorten the duration of the illness. However, if a high fever begins to develop or symptoms persist for multiple days, it is best to seek the advice of a doctor.

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