With most people, colds, and flu starts with a tickle in the throat and a clouded feeling in the head. Then the body starts to ache. People who get these symptoms are usually coming down to these common illnesses. On average, an adult develops at least 3 colds in each year. Although colds and flu are common, you don’t have to surrender to them.
When it’s the season for getting these illnesses, there are many things you can do to prevent them from happening to you. These include washing hands regularly, getting enough rest, eating healthy foods, and staying well-hydrated. But sometimes, no matter how hard a person tries to prevent the illness from developing, it does. In fact, there’s no proven way to prevent these illnesses from developingcompletely. Fortunately, though, there are some ways to lessen the sick feeling once it starts. Before going to the steps, it’s important to know the earliest signs and symptoms of colds and flu.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Colds and Flu
Colds and flu aren’t the same. One major difference between them is that symptoms of colds emerge gradually while symptoms of the flu appear suddenly. In either case, though, the signs and symptoms are similar. Here are the earliest ones to look out for:
- You might start feeling a tickle in your throat. If it continues to become sore, this may be an early symptom of a viral infection.
- You may also notice that you have a runny nose. You’ll feel watery mucus accumulating in your nose in the beginning. Then, as time goes by, the mucus will become thicker.
- More symptoms you’d experience are sneezes and coughs. This is the body’s way of getting rid of particles which irritate the airways. These include pollen, dust, and even viruses.
- Headaches are also a common symptom. As mucus accumulates in the nose, it blocks the sinuses. This generates pressure which then leads to a dull headache.
- Finally, you may start feeling tired and achy all over. If there’s no reason for these feelings, then it’s a sign of an oncoming cold or flu virus.
People who start experiencing these symptoms are at risk of developing these illnesses. These symptoms indicate that the person may have already contracted the virus and it’s already in the body. Although the sicknesses are already present, there are different steps a person can take to ease the sick feelings.
Drink a Lot of Fluids
Water is vital to the body as it makes the immune system stronger. When the immune system is functioning well, it’s able to defend the body against infections. Therefore it’ essential to stay hydrated, especially when feeling a cold or flu coming on. Drinking a lot of water helps replace any fluids the body loses from blowing the nose frequently or even from sweating.
Water isn’t the only thing a person needs to drink. In general, a lot of fluids must be consumed to stay healthy. Such fluids include fruit juices, sports drinks, and even soups which are broth-based.
When the body is well-hydrated, it means that all systems in the body are hydrated too. Because of this, the respiratory system will be able to thin down the mucus which is accumulating in the body. Eventually, it would be thin enough to cough up then spit out. This is important because when mucus accumulates in the lungs and stays there, it could turn into an infection.
Drinking a lot of fluids will prevent the body from being dehydrated. It will also keep the throat moist, so germs won’t build up there. Fluids lessen congestion, therefore, easing the symptoms of colds and flu. Here are some tips about drinking fluids:
It’s important to drink 8-10 glasses of water each day, especially when experiencing symptoms of colds and flu.
Consider drinking lemon juice. This contains a lot of vitamin C. This lessens phlegm and soothes symptoms. If the amount of phlegmlessens, the chances of infection decreases. If you don’t want to drink lemon juice, at least squeeze some fresh lemon into a hot cup of tea.
Orange juice is also great for people who are experiencing symptoms of colds and flu. It may not be a magical cure, but it’s beneficial, and it provides comfort. It helps boost the immune system too. Since orange juice also contains vitamin C, it will give similar benefits as lemon juice. People who will choose to drink orange juice should choose the fresh kind over the processed ones, which may contain high amounts of sugar.
When it comes to drinking tea to reduce the feelings of sickness, peppermint and green tea are the best choices. They contain elements which can help enhance the defense systems of the body.
Aside from fluids, people can also benefit from inhaling some steam. Taking a hot shower can help clear the airways. It will make the body feel more relaxed and ease the symptoms too.
Eat the Right Foods
When experiencing signs and symptoms of colds and flu, it’s important to eat the right foods. Here are the best foods to eat to lessen the sick feeling caused by these illnesses:
Try consuming some garlic. This food contains allicin, which is an element that’s believed to enhance the body’s immune system and ease symptoms of colds and flu. Some research has even shown that garlic helps the body fight off viruses and prevents the recurrence of colds and flu. Brew a cup of garlic tea by crushing a clove or two of garlic. Then, allow it to steep in hot water for some time. Aside from this, consume dishes which contain a lot of garlic such as garlic toast or chicken soup with extra garlic.
Ginger is also a beneficial food in this situation. Studies have shown that this also boosts the immune system and it even supports healthy sweating. When the body sweats regularly, it helps lower the overall temperature. Just like with garlic, brew a hot cup of ginger tea by steeping some slices of fresh ginger in hot water.
Consume a lot of broth-based soups when feeling a cold or a flu virus coming on. Although most people go for chicken soup, basically any kind of soup is fine. Don’t go for creamy soups such as chowders though; they contain too much fat. Broths are ideal and to make them healthier, add some vegetables.
Finally, try eating spicy foods. Chilli contains a chemical called capsaicin. This chemical contains a lot of vitamin C, which is beneficial for symptoms of colds and flu. Chillies can also reduce congestion and swell around the throat and nose. It thins the mucus down, and so the body will find it easier to cough or sneeze it out.
Keep Yourself and Your Surroundings Clean
The next step is to keep yourself and the surroundings clean. When the body and the environment are clean, there’s less risk of infection. This means that the body will be able to recover better and faster. Here are some ways to do this:
Turn on the humidifier. Dry air might make the signs and symptoms worse. A humidifier can help moisten the air to ease a cough and congestion. Before turning it on though, make sure it’s clean and free of molds.
It’s also important to keep the hands clean. To do this, wash the hands frequently. When the hands are dirty, it’s easier to pick up germs which may make the symptoms worse. Aside from this, it might help spread the disease to other people in the environment who are otherwise healthy.
When sneezing and coughing, make sure to cover the mouth and the nose. Don’t use the hands, though. It’s better to use a piece of tissue paper or the crook of the elbow.
Keep hands away from your face. Although you keep washing your hands, you might still meet a surface which is infected. That’s why it’s important to keep the hands away from the face and all its parts.
Finally, it’s important to stay away from other people who are sick. When a person is in the beginning stages of colds and flu, his body is weakened. This means that he is more prone to getting even sicker. Common illnesses and infections spread easily, so it’s best to stay away from people who aren’t feeling well too.
Stay at Home and Rest
It’s a fact that people are most contagious when symptoms of an illness begin and for the next few days after they get sick. Therefore, people who start feeling signs and symptoms of colds and flu should consider staying at home.
Getting enough rest when sick is highly beneficial. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep for a few days already has a significant effect on the body’s immune system. That’s why it’s important to get the required number of hours each night. Too little sleep weakens the immune system, which leaves the body defenseless. And when a person is sick, it’s much worse. He won’t be able to recover quickly without enough shut-eye.
Resting is a great way to lessen the sick feeling. It will help the body shake off the flu or a persistent cold. Remember, feeling tired and weak is one symptom, so the body would need more rest than it usually gets when sick.
However, this is easier said than done. Most people don’t want to miss work even if they’re feeling such symptoms. However, it’s important to remember that people who are feeling sick won’t be able to function productively. Aside from this, people who are sick will be spreading their illnesses around the workplace.
When feeling symptoms of colds and flu, try to aim for 8-10 hours of sleep at night. This will improve the functions of the immune system, therefore make your body strong enough to fight back against the viruses. Some people are unable to sleep this long, especially when feeling sick. In cases like these, try taking short naps throughout the day to give the body a chance to rest.
Finally, drinking medicine can help ease the signs and symptoms of flu and colds. Try taking some antiviral drugs. If the more natural or organic means aren’t working, then it may be time to visit the doctor. The doctor is the best person who can prescribe the right drugs to ease or relieve symptoms. It’s ideal to start taking such medicines within 2-3 days of getting sick.
- Aside from antiviral drugs, saline sprays and drops are also available. These are remedies which can be bought at local drugstores. They help irrigate the nose by flushing mucus out. These remedies ease congestion and reduce bacteria and viruses. This can, therefore, aid in promoting a faster recovery.
- Aside from this, a person can also use decongestants. These remedies may help hasten the recovery process. It’s important to note though, that decongestants may increase one’s heart rate. They might also cause insomnia and feelings of anxiety.
- Pain relievers are also a popular drug people take when feeling symptoms of colds and flu. These kinds of medicines relieve pain and lower fever. There are many kinds of medications and over-the-counter drugs a person can purchase to relieve symptoms and even treat colds and flu.
- Finally, there are also antihistamines. These are best when the nose is runny rather than clogged or stuffy. These kinds of medications may provide more relief while lessening the symptoms of colds and flu. These medicines are more considered as allergy medicines. However, they are more effective at eliminating sneezes.
The key to lessening the sick feeling that comes with colds and flu is to start as early as possible. The longer a person waits to treat the symptoms, the worse the illnesses get. Different people may find that some remedies work better than others. It’s all a matter of trying different treatments and finding out which ones are the most effective.