Useful ways to treat cold and flu

Imagine working in a high-security building that uses facial recognition technology to keep out intruders. It works well until the intruders figure out how to breach the security system. It does not matter how often the intruders are caught, new intruders will find new ways to infiltrate. The same analogy can be applied to our body’s immune system and the flu virus. The building is our body, the security system, our immune system, and intruders are the virus trying to enter the body.

Whenever a new influenza vaccine is formulated and distributed, more potent viruses develop ways to evade them, making it difficult to treat cold, flu, cough & virus symptoms. So until there is a definitive cure for the infection, it is imperative to take steps to get relief from symptoms and keep the immune system intact. Following are some ways which can provide relief from symptoms and strengthen immunity:

  • Hydration
    Consuming plenty of fluids helps thin your mucus and breaks congestion. It also prevents headaches and fatigue that is caused by dehydration. Keep a glass or reusable bottle in hand, and refill it with water.
  • Salt water gargles
    A salt water gargle soothes a throbbing throat. It eases swelling and loosens mucus. Try sipping non-caffeinated herbal tea, lemon water, or warm broth for better results.
  • Pain reliever for fever and aches 
    Using OTC pain relievers to manage cold, flu, cough & virus symptoms can be beneficial, but overdosing on the same can be dangerous. So, check the label and consult with the pharmacist or doctor for the dosage.
  • Decongestant for stuffiness
    This medicine shrinks blood vessels in the nose so that the airways open up. Overusing decongestant sprays and drops can also cause more congestion. So don’t use them for more than prescribed.
  • Expectorant to thin mucus 
    It can help loosen up the thick discharge, providing relief.
  • Medications to dry up a runny nose
    These medicines block the chemical in the body that causes sniffling and sneezes. Taking a decongestant and an antihistamine together may be more helpful to get some relief from a runny nose.
  • Use a saline spray or flush
    Over-the-counter salt water sprays make nostrils moist, making it easier to blow the nose. It is also recommended to try nasal irrigation. It is the process of gently pouring a saline solution into one nostril. The fluid flows through the nasal cavity and comes out from the other nostril. Nasal irrigation washes away dried mucus, helping the patient to breathe easily. You can also use sinus rinses, bulb syringe, or neti pot. If the patient is doing it by themselves, ensure to make the salt water solution with distilled or cooled, boiled water.

Taking an over-the-counter remedy can help provide relief from cold, flu, cough & virus symptoms. However, it is advised to take them as directed to avoid any side effects.