How to Survive Cold and Flu Season

When you have a cold or the flu, drink extra fluids. This will thin your mucus, allowing your sinuses to drain more easily. (Image courtesy of

Cold and flu season is upon us. Here are 11 things you can do to stay healthier and feel better faster (via WebMD):

  1. Wash your hands. Many viruses are spread through germs that congregate on your hands, then get into your nose, mouth or eyes. Use real soap and warm water, and wash as often as you can, especially before eating.
  2. Get your flu shot. It’s a myth that the flu shot can give you the flu. Getting it each year can prevent you and your family from getting sick.
  3. Stock up. Make sure you are prepared in the event that you do get sick, so you don’t have to run to the store when you’re not feeling well. Keep any medications you use, like decongestants and pain relievers, on hand, make sure your thermometer’s battery still works, and stock up on tissues and soap.
  4. Pay attention to symptoms. If you do get sick, pay attention to how you feel, so that you can determine whether you have a cold or flu, and respond accordingly. Usually, colds are milder and can come on gradually. Flus generally are more severe and can have a sudden onset.
  5. Get the right medications. When shopping for over the counter medications, make sure you only buy medications that treat the symptoms that you have. Some “all in one” medications may not be right for you if you do not have all of the symptoms they treat.
  6. Skip antibiotics. Colds and flu are caused by viruses, which means taking antibiotics will not help to cure them. (Antibiotics only work for treating bacterial infections.)
  7. Take a sick day. If you’re sick, stay home. Resting will help you to feel better faster, and will prevent you from spreading the virus to other people.
  8. Use disposable items. When someone in your household are sick, you can help prevent the spreading of germs by switching to disposable bathroom cups, and switching from cloth to paper towels until they are feeling better.
  9. Consider natural remedies. One study found that taking a teaspoon of honey worked just as well as medication for soothing coughs. Just don’t give honey to children under 1, as it’s not safe for them. Echinacea is another promising natural supplement for curing colds. Check with your doctor before taking any supplement.
  10. Drink extra fluids. Drinking more helps to thin your mucus, which allows your sinuses to drain more easily. Try water, broth or sports drinks, and avoid alcohol. Hot drinks, like teas, can also help to relive congestion. For children who do not feel like drinking liquids, offer them popsicles.
  11. Ask about antivirals. Some prescription drugs, like Relenza and Tamiflu, can help you to recover from the flu faster, if you start taking them within 48 hours of your first symptoms. These might be right for you if you’re at risk of additional complications from having the flu.



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