Doesn't It Make You Sick?

Cold and Flu season is here again and no matter how you try to protect yourself seem like you just can't escape it. The last thing I want is to go to the doctor and hear: "It's just a virus and it has to run it's course". NO...I want to hear: "Oh you poor baby, let me give you some drugs to make it all better". LOL

Well...I've gathered a few tips they may help alleviate some of your symptoms. REMEMBER...if your symptoms persist, or get worse, PLEASE go to the doctor.

Sore Throat
*Gargle Salt Water - Not only can gargling salt water soothe and moisturize your throat, but it also can kill harmful bacteria. Just be careful not to swallow.

*Drink Licorice Tea - You might be able to soothe your throat and make coughs more productive with licorice-root tea. Traditionally used in Chinese herbal medicine, licorice root can make it easier to cough up mucus and clear your chest.

*Humidify the Air Indoors - Humidifiers increase moisture in the air which helps to provide overall comfort, can clear secretions, soothe airways and reduce coughs. Moist air also can assist in minimizing the feeling of having a dry, scratchy throat and aids cilia movement which helps the immune system fight infection.

Runny Nose/Sneezing
*Sneeze Your Way to Health - A good sneeze can kick irritants, and even some infections, out of your nasal passageways at speeds of 100mph or more. Never try to stop a sneeze! Your nose and your body will thank you.

*Blow Your Nose Correctly - A University of Virginia study found that improper nose blowing can damage your hearing. So be sure to blow both nostrils at the same time. Blowing hard, especially through one nostril, is an absolute no-no.

*There's No Need to Over clean - When kids are sniffling, it's smart to keep common areas clean, but don't work too hard. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease found that rhinoviruses (cold germs) can only survive a maximum of three hours on inanimate objects and human skin.

Head Congestion
*Spice It Up to Clear Your Head - Bring on the cayenne! Eating spicy foods can make your nose run, and that's good. A runny nose helps break up congestion and remove irritants.

*Elevate Your Head to Ease Congestion - To ease head congestion while you sleep, slightly elevate your head by using additional pillows. The increased angle will help drain your head and relieve sinus pressure.

*Drink Water; Ease Sinus Pressure - Keep a bottle of water with you wherever you go and take sips throughout the day. The extra hydration will keep your nose moist and help you breathe and rest easier.

*Love That Shower Steam - Sometimes the best way to care for a stuffed-up, achy child is to simply run a hot bath or shower for him. The warm vapors can loosen mucus, clear his head, and make it easier for him to breathe.

*Relieve Infant Sinus Pressure - Next time your child is all clogged up, sit him/her in an upright position for 10 to 15 minutes to promote positive drainage (out the nose, instead of down the throat). Sometimes, especially when the cold's not too bad, this can be a simple and effective way to clear sinuses.

*Know When to See a Doctor - Rule of thumb: If your phlegm is yellow or green, you should go to the doctor because you probably have an infection.

*Know Your Cough - An acute cough lasts less than three weeks and is usually a symptom of the common cold. Only acute coughs should be self-treated. If you've been coughing longer than seven days, ask your doctor for advice.

*Honey Soothes - For temporary relief of a minor cough, sometimes honey does the trick. A 2007 study by Pennsylvania State University found that buckwheat honey works as a natural cough suppressant. However, honey is not recommended for children younger than 2.

*Avoid All Cigarette Smoke - A 2007 Yale School of Medicine study found that the combination of cigarette smoke (even secondhand) and the flu virus can cause significant, even permanent, lung damage.

*Cough Effectively - A common cold symptom is excessive mucus in the chest and lungs. To remove this mucus effectively, National Jewish Health™ recommends a deep coughing technique. Start by taking a deep breath and holding it for two to three seconds. Then use your stomach muscles to breathe out aggressively. Try to avoid short coughs or throat clearing. If done correctly, it's possible to make your coughs more productive.

*Vicks™ – Grandmother always rubbed Vicks™ on my chest but did you know to calm coughing at night you should rub Vicks™ on the bottoms of your feet. You can put socks on or not. I don’t but my daughter-in-law does. I was surprised to find that really did work!

Chest Congestion
*Replace Your Toothbrush - If your chest feels congested or if your throat is sore, your toothbrush might be the culprit. Bacteria can form on the bristles and make you sick. So replace your toothbrush at the beginning, middle, and end of an illness.

*Take Your Cold to the Sauna - If it feels like you're coming down with a cold, sit in a sauna for 15 to 20 minutes. Studies have found that the act of sweating helps remove toxins from your body, which could include cold and flu germs.

*Fluids Fight Fever - When you're fighting a fever, try drinking at least 2 to 3 additional ounces of fluid every hour. Water or non-carbonated sports drinks work best. And remember, even if you're not sweating, you still can get dehydrated, which will weaken your immune system and prolong a fever.

*Feed a Fever - Flu symptoms often include a high fever, which can raise your metabolism by 7 percent for every degree greater than 98.6° F. Your body needs food to fuel your immune system, so if you have a fever, try to eat slightly more to stay on the road to recovery.

*Slight Fever? Don't Panic - A Washington University study found that within a 24-hour cycle, it's normal for your core body temperature to lower or rise from the average 98.6° F. So if the thermometer reads a little high (or low), it doesn't necessarily mean you have a cold or flu virus.

*Exercise with a Cold, but Not the Flu - The National Institutes of Health say that, for the most part, it's OK to exercise even if you have a cold. The simple act of sweating helps expel harmful germs. But don't push yourself too hard, especially if you have a fever.

Aches and Pains
*Relieve Aches and Pains with Olive Oil - Based on research published in Nature magazine, olive oil might be a natural treatment for aches and pains. Researchers found that adding 1.75 ounces of olive oil to your daily diet has anti-inflammatory properties equal to about 10 percent of a normal adult dose of ibuprofen. While this might seem small, over time, the medicinal properties could build up to measurably reduce inflammatory pain.

*Use the Right Pain Reliever - There are two primary pain relievers on the market today—non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen. NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, relieve pain by reducing inflammation, making them well-suited for muscle aches, while acetaminophen blocks pain signals, which is ideal for general headaches and fever pain.

*Practice Proper Thermometer Care - Cleaning a glass thermometer with hot or even just warm water can cause an inaccurate reading. It's always best to use cool water.

*Mom Was Right About Chicken Soup - When you have a cold or flu, chicken soup actually can help you get better. A study conducted by the American College of Chest Physicians®1 shows that chicken soup reduces respiratory inflammation caused by colds and the flu.

*Feeling Sick? Don't Spread It - As a general rule, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a flu virus is contagious from one day prior to showing symptoms to five days after the first symptoms have developed. If you have a weakened immune system or are older than 65, you could be contagious for more than seven days.

*Drink Chamomile Tea - According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, chamomile tea contains plant-based compounds that might fight infections due to colds. So the next time you get a cold, drink a few cups to aid your recovery.

*Decrease Stress - Studies show that elevated levels of stress reduce the number of T cells in your body. You need T cells to keep your immune system strong. So if you're feeling under the weather, take it easy. Doctor's orders!

*The Power of Zinc - A study in The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy2 suggests that taking zinc when you have a cold could reduce symptoms by up to half a day.

*Colds Versus the Flu - Colds normally come on slowly and start with a sore throat and sneezing. The flu comes on quickly, and causes muscle soreness, fever, chills, and fatigue.

1 American College of Chest Physicians. New Study Supports Chicken Soup As a Cold Remedy. ScienceDaily. 19 Oct 2000.
2 Al-Nakib W., Higgins P.G., Barrow I., et al. Prophylaxis and treatment of rhinovirus colds with zinc gluconate lozenges. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 20:893-901. 1987.

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