It’s the least wonderful time of the year: cold and flu season. Since it’s socially unacceptable to build a pillow fort and barricade yourself off from the rest of the world, odds are that you’re going to get hit by something. There are about a million products and ideas out there that promise to get you feeling back to your old self in no time.
The truth is, most medications out there just make you “feel it” less so you can get through the day, which is great. But, if you want to know what will actually make you better, look no further:
The only thing that will get you healthy again fast, is rest. It’s not easy in this “always on the go” culture but you have to try. 2 in 5 Americans don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis and this is part of what lowers our immune system, causing us to get sick in the first place. Sleep is critical for all parts of your body to do their job, so it definitely needs to be a priority when we’re feeling less than 100%. Getting extra sleep and just relaxing a bit is exactly what you need to get back to yourself and your busy life as quickly as possible. Take a day off and just rest!
2. Vitamin C
During this season, you should really be taking Vitamin C regularly to combat all the viruses out there. But since it’s too late for prevention, get some in your body now. A great option is a product called Emergen-C which is a high dose of Vitamin C you mix with water and then drink. If you prefer to do things the natural way, citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit offer an excellent source of Vitamin C. Try drinking a glass of orange juice every morning or adding lemon to your water and tea.
Getting some extra moisture in the air will help clear out your sinuses and even soothes some coughing. You can use a humidifier for this and some even allow you to add Vick’s for further relief. You can easily purchase them online or in stores like Target and Walmart. One option is the Ultrasonic Cool Mist humidifier which is super affordable and uses just water to help relieve your congestion and cough. Another great choice is the Ultrasonic Vicks Cool Mist at only $10 more. It actually allows you to control the level of Vicks being dispensed which is awesome. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can always run hot water in the shower and sit with the door closed for a few minutes.
4. Fresh Air
This is good for your breathing and your overall well-being. Illnesses that keep us indoors end up making us more groggy than necessary. Getting outdoors for a few minutes each day is really helpful to get some fresh air and wake us up a bit. If it’s too cold to comfortably spend time outside, opening a window for a while is a good alternative to actually bundling up and heading out.
5. Herbal Tea
Drinking any warm beverage is really helpful for a sore throat but herbal tea offers the added health benefits of whatever herbs you use. Dr. Oz has discussed the benefits of tea for cold symptoms. He says that green tea, garlic, lemons, honey, and peppermint are all great choices to ward off cold and flu. Loose leaf is definitely the way to go for maximum benefit, but anything works. If you’re looking for options, David’s Tea offers a wonderful selection of cold fighting teas on their website. Try adding lemon and honey for soothing relief and an extra Vitamin C boost. Don’t forget the steam coming off the tea is also great for relieving congestion!
Staying hydrated is critical. It’s important at all times, but it becomes especially important when you’re sick. Your body is fighting off the virus and can use all the water it can get. Keep a water bottle handy at all times and try to drink at least the standard “8 glasses a day.” A good way to make sure you’re getting enough is to pick a water bottle with a “schedule.” Amazon sells a great bottle that has time markers on the side to help you make sure that you’re keeping up your intake throughout the day (This would make a perfect DIY project as well)! If you find drinking water a challenge, try getting a bottle that allows you to infuse fruits or vegetables like the ones available at Indigo. The extra vitamins and nutrients will be an added benefit along the way!
The unfortunate reality is that getting over any illness takes time. There are always things you can do to make it more manageable or get rid of it faster, but sick is sick. The best possible option is always prevention. If you’re sick, stay away from others to avoid passing it along if possible. Taking vitamins, eating well, getting enough sleep, bundling up on cold days (no, the cold doesn’t cause illness but it does make you more susceptible if your bodies working so hard to keep you warm), and washing your hands often are just a few ways you can protect yourself.
Featured image via We Heart It.