THE start of winter has its perks, we get to wear our woolly slippers, drink hot chocolate in bed in front of the telly and there are fewer nagging mosquitoes. However, winter is also the time for colds and flu and when it comes to fighting off these two antisocial gremlins, prevention is definitely better than cure.
“A tickle in your throat, a fuzzy head or aches and pains are the first signs of getting a cold or flu and it is essential to act quickly when you feel any of these symptoms,” says principal officer of Fedhealth medical aid scheme Peter Jordan.
Jordan suggests drinking water as soon as you start experiencing symptoms. “Staying hydrated cuts down on symptoms like a sore throat and a stuffy nose,” he says, adding that is also a good idea to gargle with salt water.
Add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle.
The salt draws out the excess water in your throat’s tissues, reducing the inflammation, clearing the mucous and irritants from the back of the throat. Another good suggestion is to use a saline nasal spray to keep your nose clean as this will reduce the impact of the symptoms.
“One or two tablespoons of raw honey also makes for a great alternative to cough medicine,” says Jordan.
“And, if you can stay at home, rather skip work for a day. Your body can fight off the virus better if you are rested and your colleagues will thank you for not making them sick too.”
Fluids are very important when you have a cold so make sure you drink lots of water.
Also try to eat plenty of protein-packed foods and antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables.
“A hot shower before bed will help you to get a good night’s rest. If you start feeling a fever coming on, start vomiting or have a bad headache, call your doctor.
“Otherwise keep up the routine for the next few days to make sure that you kick that cold for good,” says Jordan.