The Dos and Don’ts of Having a Cold

The cold is the single most common illness that both children and adults deal with. You’ve probably dealt with it multiple times throughout your life. So how do you handle it? Read on for some advice on what to do if symptoms have you down.

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Do Seek to Relieve the Symptoms.

If you really do have a cold, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • itchy or water eyes
  • headaches
  • mild fever

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And while there is no cure for the cold, there are some things you can do to help relieve those symptoms. A few remedies include:

  • Drink warm drinks such as tea with lemon and honey to relieve a sore throat.
  • Saline sprays or nasal drops to relieve irritated nasal passages.
  • Throat lozenges to ease pain.
  • Drink plenty of water to thin out mucus.
  • Gargle with salt water to fight sore throats.
  • Steam to loosen things up and relieve/clear sinuses.

Don’t Exercise if Symptoms are Below the Neck.

Some people hate to miss a day of their exercise routine. It’s a good attitude to have. However, sometimes sickness can derail your routine. Other times, you might feel sick, but think you could still power through. So how do you know when it’s safe to go ahead and exercise?

The truth is that if you truly have a common cold, exercise probably won’t hinder your recovery. In fact, some people report that exercise make them feel better because the exertion tends to open up their nasal passages a bit. However, it’s probably best to avoid exercise if your symptoms come from below the neck. These symptoms should serve as signs that your body needs some time off. Over-exertion will only lead to exhaustion and hinder your recovery.

Have a fever over 37.5 degrees Celsius? Then you should probably skip that run too. Sometimes rest and recovery is just as important as exercise.

Do Know When to See a Doctor.

While many people tend to see a doctor about symptoms even when not necessary, there are others who would rather not. That’s fine, except it’s essential that you know when it’s necessary to see a medical professional. Failing to see a doctor in some cases could result in more serious issues, or at minimum, lengthening the length of your sickness.

So how do you know when it’s time to see a doctor right away?

  • It becomes difficult to breathe.
  • Your fever is excessively high or won’t go away.
  • You faint or feel faint.
  • You are vomiting.
  • Symptoms last for over a week.
  • You experience chest pain or have trouble breathing.

But what happens if you experience the above symptoms after normal business hours? Should you panic? No. However, that shouldn’t stop you from getting help. You could always see an after hours GP. For more information on finding one, you can click here.

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Don’t Take Old Antibiotics (or Anyone Else’s) to Self-Medicate. 

Never under any circumstances should you attempt to self-medicate with antibiotics. First and foremost, if you followed the doctor’s directions when you were prescribed antibiotics in the past, you wouldn’t have any left over. Of course, that doesn’t keep some people from getting them by other means. You shouldn’t take them without consulting a physician because:

  • They might not be the right solution for the problem at hand.
  • If they are from someone else, you could be allergic and not even realize it.
  • Antibiotics may actually suppress symptoms. So say you take half of what a doctor actually would prescribe, you might begin to feel better but turn up even more sick a week or two later.
  • Chronic abuse of antibiotics can kill the good bacteria in your body.
  • Chronic abuse can cause antimicrobial resistance.

The key here is to only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary…as determined by your doctor.

Do Know the Differences Between Colds and the Flu.

While colds and the flu often have similar symptoms, it’s important not to confuse the two. Yes, they’re both caused by viruses, but the flu is much more serious. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people who have the flu to die if not treated correctly and quickly—especially if they are a senior citizen.

So how can one tell the difference between the common cold and the flu? The flu typically does not mess around—in other words, it usually knocks you off your feet right away. If you have the flu, you want to go to bed almost immediately due to lack of energy. It often starts out with a high fever as well.

On the other hand, the common cold usually starts out slower. Generally you will feel an itch in your throat that slowly turns into a burn. Maybe food will taste a bit off as a result. It’s important to note that cold symptoms will usually stay in the ear, nose, throat region. However, flu symptoms may end up affecting your entire body, including your stomach.

Should you suspect you have contracted the flu, you should seek medical help immediately. For more information about the flu, click here.

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