How to cope with cold and influenza (flu)

Posted on 2015-04-02 00:40:44

At one time or another you have suffered a cold or flu. Cold and flu viruses can be easily spread when droplets are sneezed or coughed in the air by a sick person. They can also be transmitted when infected droplets are left on utensils and surfaces like door knobs. Usually, the virus gets into the body through the eyes or nose. If you touch your nose or eyes with fingers that have infected droplets, the virus can go into the body. There is no cure for colds and flu since they are caused by viruses. However, there are a few things you can do to ease the symptoms and keep yourself comfortable. Keep yourself hydrated: take plenty of fluids to replace losses caused by runny nose and sweating. Fluids also help unblock stuffy nose and thins built up mucus for productive cough hence you are able to bring out more mucus. Fluids can be in form of plain water (preferably warm), soups like chicken soups, hot tea, and diluted fruit juices. However, you may need to avoid juices made from citrus fruits as they can cause irritation to the sore throat. Fluids help in clearing the sinuses and soothing the throat while at the same time keeping you hydrated. Take enough rest:taking some time off to rest during the first few days of a cold or flu will do you a lot of good. This allows the body ample time to rest and to fight off the infection. Eat well: make sure to eat a well balanced diet that includes an adequate amount of fresh vegetables and fruits. The body is in a better position to fight off infections when it is well nourished. Most people usually have a poor appetite when they have a flu or cold. Therefore, to ensure that your body gets enough, eat small meals at a time as opposed to one large meal. Take a painkiller:Over-the-counter (OTC)painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol can be of great relief when you have a cold or flu as they help take care of fever and aches hence you are able to feel comfortable. Fever is a common symptom of flu that occurs when the body’s temperature goes up in order to fight off the flu virus. Take the painkiller as recommended on the package or consult a doctor if you are not sure. Take a decongestant or an expectorant: a decongestant (oral or nasal) helps you breathe with ease as it reduces the swelling in the nose. For young children, nasal saline drops (containing salt and water) can be used to ease nasal congestion. In case of a productive cough, using an OTC expectorant can help soften the thick mucus so that more of it can be coughed out easily. Do not use antibiotics as colds and flu are caused by viruses thus they will not be effective. Steam inhalation: this is done by placing the head over a basincontaining hot water.Cover your head using a towel, close the eyes and then inhalethe steam deeply while making sure that the hot steam does not get into the eyes. The aim of steaming is to ease congestion in the nose by loosening the thick mucus. This makes it easier to clear the mucus by blowing the nose. Adding menthol, eucalyptus, camphor, or pine into the steaming water can help in clearing the nasal passageways. Gargle salty water: dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and use it to rinse your throat at least every hour. Gargling helps ease soreness and lessens swelling. These remedies will help your cold or flu to get better in a few days. However, see a doctor if the symptoms keep worsening, breathing problems, pain in the chest, earache, or a cough that does not subside with home treatments. By Rebecca Muthoni