So here I sit, on the verge of a cold or possibly the flu, hopefully just a cold. It's that unfortunate time of the year again, when we hear our friends, family and colleagues sniffing and sneezing. It's cold and flu season in the Northeast and other parts of the US. The rest of the world cannot get away from these bugs either. The cold and flu virus spreads faster in the colder seasons because people crowd together indoors. These are ideal environments for the cold and flu viruses. Your body also becomes more susceptible since it has to cope with the additional energy of keeping your body warm during the cold seasons. I'm sure most of you are familiar with cold and flu symptoms, they are listed here.
Symptoms of a cold
- Runny nose
- Slight fever
- Sore throat
- Fatigue - feeling tired and unwell
- Stuffy nose
- Clear mucus, after the first 3-5 days you may get dark mucus. This does not mean you have an infection, just that your body is fighting off the cold virus.
Flu symptoms are much like cold symptoms, but last much longer and are more severe.
- Fever (usually high)
- Muscle aches
- Extreme tiredness
- Dry cough
- Runny nose may also occur but is more common in children than adults
- Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, may also occur but are more common in children than adults
- Chicken soup - the warm soup helps your body rehydrate and keeps it warm from the inside, not to mention if done right, it tastes really good!
- Jell-O - helps soothe sore throat. The water you get from Jell-O is a big plus, and children love Jell-O.
- Coca-cola boiled with minced Ginger. Drink this concoction and you may feel better faster. This helps clear sinus, I learned this one from my dad years ago.
- Cough drops also help soothe a sore throat, as long as it's not infected.
- Drink lots of water, as I wrote about in my previous "Water" post , this can help a healthy person recover much faster.
- Eat Congee/Porridge - this is another way of replenishing the fluid loss during a cold/flu. The plus, you can put just about any ingredient along with it. Sweat and sour porridge anyone?
- Herbal Tea/Medicine - The great thing about herbal remedies is they are taken in mostly liquid form. This helps replenish your water loss, though you may have to get used to some of the tastes. I purchase pre-packaged herbal drinks from Asian supermarkets.
- Flu-like symptoms including aches, pains & fever: Tylenol Cold, Nyquil/DayQuil, Theraflu
- Nasal & Sinus congestion & pressure: Advil cold & sinus, Sudafed 24 hour, Mucinex nasal spray, Afrin
- Sore and/or scratchy throat: cough drops, sore throat spray
- Cough: Mucinex expectorant, Dimetapp cold and cough DM elixir, NyQuil, Robitussin Cough and cold, Delsym cough suppresant
- Blow Your Nose Often -- and the Right Way, which is one nostril at a time!
- Stay Rested - Sleep, you will need it more than usual.
- Gargle - with some salt in your water to help clear your throat.
- Drink Hot Liquids - they help soothes your body and replenish water.
- Take a Steamy Shower - this helps moisturize your nasal passages and helps clear them
- Use a Salve Under Your Nose - Help soothe your skin. Menthol, eucalyptus and camphor all have mild numbing ingredients which help relieve the pain of a nose rubbed raw.
- Apply Hot or Cold Packs Around Your Congested Sinuses
- Sleep With an Extra Pillow Under Your Head - this helps drain your nasal passages.
People may have different reactions to the flu. Most healthy people recover from the flu, and become immune to that specific strain of virus. Healthy adults may be able to infect others 1 day before getting symptoms and up to 5 days after getting sick. So it is possible to give someone the flu before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick. The best protection against the flu is vaccination, this is especially important in young children, older adults and those with asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. A good resource to see how severe the flu is spreading is Google's FluTrends. This gives you a map of the US and how severe it may be in your State, the data is based on the number of searches for the flu on Google. So as more people search for flu info in your State, you know the flu is spreading more rapidly. For those outside the US, sorry I have not found such resource for you yet.
When To See A Doctor
If you are unsure if you should see a doctor or are worried, it's probably a good idea to see a doctor. You can click on the above link for a great chart describing symptoms and what to do.
Above all, get lots of rest and drink lots of liquids. If you want to get a flu shot, you can see your doctor or visit your local pharmacy. You can call CVS for locations at 888.Flu shot Or visit cvs.com if they are near your residence.
Hope you have found this helpful. What are some of your suggestions? Let us know in the comments! Thanks for visiting, follow me on Twitter for additional links to tips and tricks. If you would like to contribute to Frugal NYC in any way, articles, ideas, posts, interesting links, advice, financial assistance, or anything else, feel free to contact me via email. Click here to add this to your RSS reader.