Keeping yourself healthy during cold and flu season can be challenge enough. For many people, the difficulties posed by this time of year can be significantly compounded by a large household. Once one family member is sick, it is generally only a matter of time before everyone else is, as well. There are several things you can do to prepare for the coughing, chills, and body aches that are characteristic of these unpleasant seasonal illnesses. The first step would be to identify whether you have a cold or the flu.
Think Home Remedies
There are several basic remedies that can be used to relieve cold and flu symptoms easily at home. These include:
- Broth: Vegetable or chicken broth can be prepared using pressed bouillon cubes or dry soup packets. Broth is easy to digest and can be used to tempt a reluctant appetite. The heat will relieve congestion.
- Herbal tea: Non-caffeinated tea mixed with a little honey can be used to sooth a scratchy throat. Caffeinated drinks can dehydrate a sick person and contribute to congestion.
- Water: The best way to stay hydrated is to drink plenty of water. This will thin the mucus compacted in the sinuses and make coughs and nose blowing more effective.
Watch for sales on herbal tea and broth to get prepared for the upcoming cold and flu season. These items are very shelf stable and can be stored for many months without losing quality. Many stores run sales on over the counter cold and flu remedies, so pick up a box or two if you anticipate your family needing them in the next season. If you already have some over the counter medicine, make sure to check the expiration dates. Expired medication does not work as effectively and may even be harmful.
Prevention Makes a Difference
Flu vaccines are highly effective at preventing many strains of the flu virus. You can significantly improve your family’s health outlook by getting a flu shot. Most teens and adults are able to receive this vaccine and many insurance plans cover the shots as preventable care. This is one of the best preventative ways to stay healthy this cold and flu season. For additional tips, check out this infographic discussing the facts vs. fiction of cold and flu remedies.