Winter is on the way and along with Halloween and Christmas, it also brings seasonal colds and bugs.
A balanced diet full of nutritious food and packed with valuable vitamins and minerals is a good starting point. Lots of water, regular exercise and fresh air plus decent sleep all help keep you fit and strong and keep your immune system firing on all cylinders. For those who need it, the flu jab is another way to keep healthy over the winter months as well as always washing your hands.
If you do come into contact with bug and your nose is running, your eyes are sore and everything aches, we have some helpful hacks to get you through the worst of it.
Keeping your temperature stable and body warm is really important when you have a cold. Go for layers of clothing, use a scarf if you have swollen glands and when you go outside, wear a hat and gloves to keep the heat in and chills away.
We know this isn’t always easy, or possible, but resting is one of the best ways to get over a virus. If you can take time off work, even one day, and catch up on some sleep, your body will thank you for it. Don’t try to fill all your time with activities and events as this is one way to add to the stress that lowers your defences and leads to bugs being caught.
Kill the pain
Antibiotics won’t do anything for the common cold, but you can take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, to reduce temperatures and ease tension and aches.
Keep it contained
Colds spread fast, so try to minimise who you give it to. Always sneeze and cough into tissues to help prevent droplets from your nose and mouth entering the air and infecting others. Clean your work surfaces regularly to keep them free of germs, use your own cups, glasses and cutlery and don’t share towels or toothbrushes!
You might not have much of an appetite, but it is important to drink plenty of fluids as this helps break up congestion, prevents dehydration and keeps your throat soothed. Water, sports drinks, herbal teas and cold juice are all good options. Try to steer clear of caffeine loaded drinks as they can contribute to dehydration and will stop you from sleeping, something you need lots of.
If you are suffering with a sore throat that medicine just isn’t touching, gargle salt water gargle. Mix up a teaspoon of salt with half a pint of cooled boiled water and gargle, repeating as necessary. Honey can also really help with sore throats and can be mixed with lemon and hot water.
One of the best things you can do to clear your sinuses, is inhale steam. Vaporisers are available on the High Street or you can simply add a little Olbas oil to hot water, put a towel over your head and breath in the herbal mist.
Go for a rub
Dabbing a simple menthol rub under the nose and on the chest and back can help ease blocked noses. Some people also believe that a little rubbed into the soles of the feet can help sooth coughs and help you breathe more easily – do put socks on for maximum benefit and don’t get it in your eyes.
While your doctor can fix a cold, if you aren’t getting better and are in pain, do make an appointment to check you don’t have an infection.