It’s time to start getting those flu shots and pulling out our winter woolies in preparation for the cold and flu season. Here are some tried and tested cold and flu remedies to help you fight off any nasties in the lead up to winter this year.
1. Hydration Station
A super important step, drinking lots of fluids will help loosen congestion and avoid dehydration. Water, tea, and juice, and even icy poles are all wonderful for keeping you hydrated, but avoid coffee and alcohol, which can worsen dehydration.
Adding moisture to the air is a great way to help relieve congestion and soothe dry sinuses and bloody noses. A warm shower or bath will do the trick, but for ongoing relief try a humidifier (just be sure to clean it as directed to avoid bacteria growth).
3. Chicken Soup for the Soul
Part placebo-inducing comforting old wives tale, part actual cold-busting remedy, chicken soup is great to have on hand for when you’ve got the sniffles. If you’re not feeling up to eating much, chicken soup will provide you with some much needed hydration and nutrients (in fact, studies show a bowl of chicken soup may even have a mild anti-inflammatory effect). To up your soup game, try brewing some bone broth – made by simmering chicken, beef, or fish bones and connective tissues for up to 48 hours in order to extract all the nutritional goodness from those less edible, but super nutrient-dense, leftovers.
4. Balance those electrolytes
Electrolytes are minerals including sodium, chloride, and potassium, which help your body run smoothly. You risk electrolyte imbalance and dehydration after losing lots of fluids, such as from vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating, or simply not consuming enough electrolyte-rich foods and drink:
It’s easy to become dehydrated if you have the respiratory flu. Twenty percent of the water we ingest comes from food, and if you’re not eating well you may not be hydrated as well as you should be. On top of that, you may not feel like drinking because you feel so bad. It’s still key to hydrate so you can feel better fast.
Solutions such as Hydralyte are designed to rapidly rebalance electrolytes and treat dehydration, but you’ll also find plenty of these much-needed minerals in sources such as potatoes, avocados, tomatoes, and coconut water.
5. Get your ZZZ’s
A lack of sleep can affect your immune system and heighten your chances of getting sick when exposed to a virus, and in the same way, it can inhibit your body’s ability to recover from illness. Light exercise is generally okay when you’re sick (unless you have a fever, body aches, a cough, flu symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea, or otherwise just aren’t feeling up to a work out), but otherwise, a cold or flu is a great excuse for getting comfy and chilling with Netflix for a couple of days. Your work will still be there when you’re feeling up to it, so make sure you get plenty of rest to let your body recover whenever necessary.
6. Club Med
Over the counter pain medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen are useful for treating symptoms of cold and flu such as headaches, body aches, and fever. Your local chemist will also stock a bunch of cold and flu specific medications (including antihistamines, decongestants, and medicated lozenges) to get you back in tiptop condition. Always make sure to consult your pharmacist or GP before taking any medication.