If someone really close to you catches a cold or flu, chances are you go into caregiver mode. It certainly sucks to see the people we love feeling sick, so we do our best to help them out.
But what happens when you start feeling sick? Do you know how to take care of yourself? Although help from others is great, and might even be necessary at some points, there are things that you can do to help yourself slowly recover!
What happens to your body when you get the flu?
Fever, chills, muscle aches, scratchy throat, and a runny nose are just some of the common symptoms you may feel that accompany the flu. Have you ever really wondered how this actually begins? In order for influenza virus to take over, it must first enter the body. Cold viruses usually only impact the upper airways of the body such as the sinuses, throat, and nose. Whereas flus can take hold in both the upper and lower airways and usually make their way into the lungs, which is why you can tend to feel worse than just a cold.
At this point in time, our immune system kicks into gear! It senses the unwanted guest within the body (flu) and begins to release white blood cells and other chemicals to take out these pesky invaders. The lymphatic system also helps with this process by helping to carry white blood cells throughout the body.
So basically, your body is fighting a battle for you on it’s own! Needless to say, there are things that you should do to help support the immune system and help your recover fully!
5 Ways to Help Yourself When Sick:
Drinking enough fluids is one of the most essential and best things you can do for yourself when you’re feeling sick. Staying hydrated is super important no matter what, but especially if you have a cold or flu. By drinking water, juices, and electrolytes you will be replacing fluids you may have lost while also loosening mucus within the body. It especially helps to drink warm liquids when you’re sick because they soothe the throat and relieve congestion!
Get enough sleep and rest:
Sleeping and resting enough is absolutely essential for recovery when you are sick. Your body actually increases the production of antibodies at this time. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s a bit tough to get proper shut eye when you don’t feel your best. Some of the ways you can help yourself rest when sick with a cold or flu is to take OTC (over the counter) medications, elevate your head with the proper pillows, and moisturize the air.
Eat infection fighting foods:
To give your immune system that extra support it needs while you’re under the weather, eating the right foods can truly help the recovery process. Chicken soup, garlic, honey, ginger, fruits filled with vitamin C, and leafy greens are all amazing options to help you feel better.
Take Vitamin C and Zinc:
Studies show that the combination of Vitamin C and Zinc are important for immune system defence and maintenance of good health. Symptom relief has been shown to be quicker when this vitamin and mineral are incorporated daily and during the duration of a cold or flu.
Too much stress is never a good thing, especially when you’re already feeling under the weather. Stress increases cortisol levels in the body, which can in turn suppress the immune system. When you have a cold or flu it’s best to take the time to rest and give your body the healing that it needs. Take time off work if you can, and remember to lean on the people you love for some extra support if necessary!
For the most part, fighting off a cold or flu will eventually happen in time within healthy individuals. While it’s important to take care of yourself while feeling ill, it’s also important to know when you should consult with a doctor or healthcare specialist. If your symptoms last for 10 days with no improvement, that is usually a good sign to go and speak with a professional. Those who also have more health complications or are vulnerable should speak with a doctor as soon as symptoms begin to appear. This includes if you’re pregnant, have other medical conditions, and if you are 65 years of age or older.