Rebekah George: There's no actual cure for a cold or flu. But, on the bright side, these viruses do tend to clear up pretty quickly, within 3 to 10 days in most cases. While you can't kill the bugs with medications, you can treat the symptoms, so you feel more comfortable, and prevent complications like bronchitis or pneumonia. First, you need to know, is it a cold or is it the flu?
Cold symptoms are mostly respiratory; sore throat, coughing, sneezing, runny nose. The flu can have these symptoms too, but it's much more likely to produce fevers, and chills along with headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. It comes on more suddenly, and the symptoms tend to be much worse than with a cold.
Knowing the difference is important. If you suspect you have a flu, you can take an antiviral medication like Tamiflu, which may help you feel better a day or two faster when taken within the first 48 hours of getting sick. Tamiflu is available by prescription only. So, if you think it's the flu, call your doctor fast!
Next, be sure to support your immune system. Supporting your immune system is important in good health and bad. But, giving it a boost when you are feeling sick can help you get better faster. You can ensure your body, and immunity runs smoothly by rounding out your plate with plenty of colorful servings of fruits and veggies, plus 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, at the very least.
Also, these chewable tablets are easy to take with you, and contain 14 vitamins and minerals and herbs, including zinc, and Echinacea, which have been shown to help shorten the duration of a cold.
Sip hot tea; all teas contain theophylline which is a natural bronchodilator. Choose the brew you find tasty, and you can even add-in a little honey if you wish. It coats the throat to soothe irritation and is rich in infection-fighting antioxidants.
Take an over-the-counter medication. Hit the pharmacy to find a med that treats your specific aches and pains. A pain-reliever like acetaminophen, or ibuprofen can provide relief from fever and body aches.
For a cough, look for a product that contains dextromethorphan, a suppressant that can temporarily stop cough symptoms. For congestion, look for Guaifenesin, an expectorant that can help dislodge mucus. Those are just a few quick tips to help you bounce back from your next cold or flu.