How to help yourself with a cold or flu: 10 life hacks

THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR AND RETURN FROM VACATIONS, WINDOWS closed due to autumn coolness, tightness in transport – all this contributes to the spread of viral infections. It is known that the best way to prevent influenza is vaccination , and for optimal functioning of the immune system, you need a varied and balanced diet and plenty of exercise. If ARVI, including influenza, has already begun, it cannot be cured – you can only observe how the body copes itself. But this does not mean that you cannot alleviate your own condition during a cold and reduce the risk of complications. Here’s how you can do it.       

Take a rest 

Regular activity helps to reduce the risk of colds, but if you are already sick, trying to move ARVI “on your feet” will not help you recover faster. If the temperature is elevated, it is not necessary to additionally increase it by playing sports – this will only harm the body. Back in the nineties, it was discovered that training during the flu can lead to the development of chronic fatigue syndrome – a serious illness, which then has to be fought for years. The best way to help your body recover is through rest and sleep, so take a couple of weekends and lie down. Once the temperature and well-being have returned to normal, a residual runny nose or cough should not be an obstacle to physical activity, and a brisk walk or light exercise will be beneficial .          


Contrary to popular myth, cool air won’t make a cold worse – and if you’re cold, dress warmly or wrap yourself in a blanket. You need to open the windows as often as possible so that the air in the apartment does not stagnate; it is the lack of air exchange in poorly ventilated rooms that leads to the fact that many fall ill with viral infections in the fall. One of the methods of dealing with epidemics and pandemics of influenza is the arrangement of hospital wards in the fresh air, in such hospitals a greater number of employees and patients managed to escape from infection . 


Moist air helps to relieve congestion and discomfort in the eyes. It is not necessary to breathe hot steam – just turn on the humidifier, if you have one, put a wet towel on the battery, or just sit in the shower for a few minutes (it is better not to take gadgets that are unstable to moisture with you, so close your eyes and meditate ). Viruses spread less in humid air – perhaps one of the reasons for the decrease in the frequency of colds in summer is just high humidity.   


As the temperature rises, the body loses moisture, and in a situation of threat of dehydration, it is more difficult to recover from a viral infection. Drink any non-alcoholic liquids: water, tea, coffee, fruit drink or kefir. Warm drinks like tea or chicken broth are believed to help relieve congestion in the airways – and the latter will also serve as a source of energy if there is no appetite or strength at all. Recall that the average recommended volume is 2.7 liters per day for women and 3.7 liters for men, including liquid in drinks and food.  

Do not be afraid of the cold

Cold drinks and food won’t make a cold worse either – but ice cream can relieve a sore throat. Again, it is quite nutritious, but at the same time it is easily digested and does not require cooking – you don’t even need to get a plate; just ask someone to go to the store or order delivery. It’s best to opt for soft ice cream (or frozen yogurt), without chocolate or nuts that can scratch your sore throat. Another way to relieve throat pain is ice cubes. 

Take anti-inflammatory

The flu won’t go away any faster with the medication, but it will be more tolerable. Ibuprofen and paracetamol reduce fever, relieve headaches and muscle pain, and fight inflammation. Most of the pill or sachet drugs that are marketed as a remedy for the treatment of colds actually contain these anti-inflammatory drugs in combination with ingredients for congestion or coughs. These medicines (according to indications and a short course) are safe even during pregnancy.   

Treat symptoms

The fact that a viral infection cannot be treated does not mean that you need to completely abandon medications. A cold is just the case when it is possible and necessary to treat not a disease, but its manifestations. Discomfort from sore throat or sore throat can be relieved by gargling. With a runny nose, vasoconstrictor drops will help (only they must be used strictly according to the instructions) or simply moistening the mucous membrane with saline. For body aches or weakness, it is best to take an ibuprofen tablet and get a good night’s sleep, or if you are cold, dress warmly.

Do not get carried away with traditional medicine

Mustard plasters and cans, rubbing with alcohol-containing liquids to reduce the temperature or inhalation over a hot pot – although these methods bring a certain effect, it is incomparable with their danger . You can lower your child’s body temperature with a warm or cool shower, without putting him at risk of poisoning with vinegar or alcohol. Steam for moisturizing mucous membranes should not be hot, and traditional methods only increase the likelihood of a serious burn. 

Don’t take antibiotics 

Let’s just say it again: antibiotics are useless for a viral infection. Neither the duration of the cold nor the color of the nasal discharge indicate that the infection has become bacterial. You shouldn’t prescribe antibiotics “just in case” either. At least a third of antibiotic prescriptions in recent years in the United States have been superfluous – and in Russia, the rates are probably higher, given the still practiced unproven approaches, self-medication and the availability of drugs without a prescription.   

Don’t spread the infection

A few days of bed rest will benefit not only you, but also those around you – it is better not to show up at work, on public transport or shops. Ventilate frequently, wash your hands, and use disposable handkerchiefs. If you do not have time to get a napkin, sneeze not into your palm, but into the crook of your elbow – otherwise microorganisms from your palm will spread through doorknobs or other objects. Wear a mask if you get sick – it will help keep the infection from spreading. 

local_offerevent_note May 29, 2021

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