Photographed by Heather Talbert.
Flu season peaks in February in the U.S., so now is the time to really focus your energy on staying healthy. Luckily I’ve gathered a few tips for stopping that cold or flu as soon as you feel it coming on. Getting sick is unavoidable sometimes, so here are a few things you can do to speed up your recovery.
1. Prop yourself up with pillows. Keeping your head elevated at night helps your nasal passages stay open. So if you’re feeling a bit congested, grab a couple of extra pillows and sleep so you’re almost sitting up straight. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and able to breathe better.
2. Take a hot shower. Whether you’re coughing or sneezing, the steam from a hot shower or humidifier will loosen up the congestion in your head and chest. Studies also show that very humid air can be toxic to viruses.
3. Drink up. As you probably know by now, staying hydrated is a key to feeling better. If you’re already feeling sick, drinking lots of liquids will thin congestion and keep your throat moist. If you’re tired of plain old water, try hot tea, clear chicken or vegetable broth, or infused water for some added flavour. Click here to find out how much water you should be drinking each day and be sure to amp it up even more if you feel under the weather.
Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
4. Get a good night’s sleep. It might seem obvious that getting enough sleep is important for staying healthy. But, just how important is it? Studies show that people who get less than seven hours of sleep on average are three times more likely to get a cold than those who snooze for eight hours or more. (Yep, you read that right.) So, if you feel a cold or flu coming on, make sure you’re getting plenty of shut-eye.
5. Take a "mega dose" of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is proven to shorten the duration of a cold or flu once it’s started. So, if you feel a sickness coming on, pop an Emergen-C, airborne, or other mega-dose of Vitamin C.
6. Gargle with salt water. If you have a sore throat, salt water will help ease the pain naturally. Not only does the salt help reduce inflammation in your throat, but the rinse also flushes out bacteria and viruses. Try adding a half a tablespoon of salt to eight ounces of warm water.
Photographed by Erin Phraner.
7. Eat immunity-boosting foods. Eating these 10 foods on a regular basis will help prevent illness before it even starts. So, if you’re set on staying healthy this cold and flu season, chow down on yogurt, garlic, chicken soup, mushrooms, and other immunity boosting ingredients.
It goes without saying that if you’re really sick you should see a doctor. But, the nice thing about these seven remedies is that they’re all natural.