Another cold and flu season has arrived, and it’s nearly impossible not to be affected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults have an average of two to three colds a year, and children have even more. And when one family member catches a cold, it’s likely the rest of the family will follow suit.
While there’s no universal cure for a cold, there are ways to help you feel comforted while you’re sick. Put on your softest PJs, snuggle under the covers and read these tips for staying comfortable this cold and flu season:
- Stay hydrated. Water, juice, clear broth, warm apple juice or warm lemon water with honey can help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration. Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas, which can further dehydrate you when you’re sick.
- Soothe a sore nose. Noses can turn sore and red from tissue blowing, so use a soft, soothing tissue. Those with aloe may feel especially gentle. Don’t use pre-moistened wipes like diaper wipes or ones for removing makeup, as they contain fragrance, detergents, or other chemicals that may further irritate cracked, dry skin,
- Acetaminophen and ibuprofen can ease your aches and pains. If your head hurts, dimming the lights and placing a cool gel mask over your eyes can be extremely relaxing. And if you are feeling chilled, try snuggling with a heated blanket.
- If you have a sore throat, try ice chips, sore throat sprays, or lozenges, to soothe your sore throat pain. And don’t forget the ultimate comfort food for colds—chicken soup—which can help ease sore throat pain. Tea with honey is another good option.
- Try to keep your mind off being sick with family board games, playing cards, coloring books, crossword puzzles and the like. Watch your favorite movie or show, or listen to soothing music.
- Another way to pass the time is to take a relaxing bath. Add some Epsom salts to help with body aches and lavender oil to feel more calm and tranquil.
- Lastly, be sure to get plenty of rest. While eight hours is the recommended amount of sleep for most each night, go to bed even earlier when you’re sick, and be sure to nap throughout the day. Soft cotton sheets will help your body breathe more in bed, especially if you have a fever.
How To Protect Yourself From Future Colds
While most people recover from a cold within 7 to 10 days, it can spread from infected people to others through the air and close personal contact, such as shaking hands, or touching infected surfaces, like door handles or sink faucets.
Here are some tips to avoid catching a cold, whether it’s your first time or third:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash them for 20 seconds and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay away from people who are sick.
- Take zinc supplement to boost your immune system.