How To: Survive Cold And Flu Season

By Lynnie | September 25 2012 | 27 Comments


If the chorus of coughs, splutters, sniffles and sneezes in my Twitter feed is anything to go by, then cold and flu season 2012 is upon us good and proper. Not that I needed Twitter to tell me that: I’m just recovered from the cold from hell, which devolved into a rotten sinus infection that seemed to think seriously about taking up permanent residence in my nasal cavities.

Still, as uncomfortable as the whole episode was, at least it didn’t wind up on my chest, and I did actually manage to shake the infection off in record time and feel vaguely human for the duration. Apart from mainlining painkillers and decongestants, a couple of things definitely helped:

Staying home; staying warm
If it is at all possible, stay put and rest up. Nobody likes a hero – and by “hero” I mean someone who lurches into the office of a morning and proceeds to spend the day passing their cold around the cubicles, looking like death warmed up as they hock their lungs up and hover at about 3% productivity when not moaning about how crap they feel. Pop on your thermal socks, your fluffiest dressing gown, add a scarf for panache, and crank the central heating up to 11.

Laying off dairy
I’m going to try and be as not gross as possible here, so let’s just say that if you’re already suffering with congestion, dairy products can be inclined to makes things worse and leave it at that.

Drinking plenty of water
Staying hydrated is obviously important when you’re unwell, but drinking water can also help with congestion as it helps to thin the (look away now if you’re feeling delicate) mucus that’s bunging you up, which is more likely to drain.

Sinus rinsing
This is exactly what it says on the tin. If you suffer with sinus problems and haven’t tried a sinus rinse yet, do yourself a favour: don’t think about how awful dousing the inside of your nose with saline solution sounds and pick one up the next time you’re in the chemist. The relief is immense.

Sleeping on more than the usual number of pillows
While I didn’t find that I was coughing during the day, at night I was keeping the whole house awake with my spluttering. Elevating my head with a couple of extra pillows was a total lifesaver (and not as uncomfortable as I thought.)

Using coated tissues
Despite working my way through an entire multi-pack of tissues in the space of a few days, my nose hasn’t been completely ripped to shreds. Balsam-coated beats loo roll hands down.

Chicken soup
I dunno about you, but when I’m sick I don’t normally feel like eating much other than toast or soup, because everything tastes so bloody disgusting. Now, I didn’t actually get to have any chicken soup this time around, but I did think about it quite a bit and just that made me feel better. I can only imagine how swift my recuperation would have been if I’d got my paws on some!

Have you any tips you’d like to share with the class for avoiding or getting rid of seasonal lurgy?

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27 Replies to " How To: Survive Cold And Flu Season"

  • LauraLou says:

    this is perfect for me. dying with a headcold and throat infection. huge scarf on atm. cosy!

  • fluttergirlie says:

    If you end up with a chest infection or a nasty chesty cough then a hot water bottle on the chest really helps, as does a few tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar in a mug of hot water twice a day or more, and staying warm and lots of rest as well as dosing yourself with echinacae and Vitamin C. Totally cleared my cold + chest infection in about 3 days earlier on this year :)

  • Emer Carley says:

    I second the staying at home advise.
    Last year I had someone in my office insist on coming up with a hacking cough and she took 3 quarters of the team out – one of who started off with her cold and ended up getting swine flu and being out for 4 weeks!!!
    Stay at home if you’re sick people – we no likey your germs!

  • Lynnie Lynnie says:

    fluttergirlie – I will have to get some of this Apple Cider Vinegar stuff. I have seen it recommended for what feels like 50 different uses in the last few weeks, it seems to be a bit of a cure-all.

  • One big tip to kill the virus as fast as possible and to prevent the spread of the infection and RE infecting yourself is – hand washing. Really rigorous handwashing. When you blow your nose, throw out the tissue straight away and if you can, wash your hands. When your’e doing your saline with the sinuses things, wash your hands. Before you eat, wash your hands. I know it sounds simple but it’s actually quite effective!

    Also, if it’s more a headcold than a more serious flu or infection, try not to wallow or mope TOO much. Have a shower and get dressed properly, get some fresh air, even in your back garden, it’ll make you feel better. I always find that the days I spend in my PJs, feeling sorry for myself when it’s something minor are the days I feel really REALLY rotten. Whereas other days if I have something minor wrong with me and I get up and dressed as normal and blow off some cobwebs I don’t feel half as bad. Obviously, don’t go into work and spread things about, but equally a simple stuffy nose is no reason to take to the bed.

  • Beth TV says:

    A scarf for panache; best health advice ever :D

    I am awfully prone to flu’s as I’ve very bad sinuses. Time out is the best thing for it; I swear by sinus rinses as the single best relief for a blocked head. I know it’s not nice sounding but it’s well worth it for the relief it gives for any blocked head.

  • Ladyelvis says:

    I was recently recommended to take sh1t loads of vitamin C tablets when you feel the cold coming on, and I find it lessens the duration and severity. Also a hot whiskey before bed does the same thing, and helps to sweat the cold out of you. I always do those two things and find it very helpful.

  • ZsaZsa says:

    Fresh lemon juice and honey in hot water – tastes yummy and very soothing and comforting. Other then that, loads of Vitimn C, water and hot drinks, keeping warm and rest!

  • Lyddie says:

    Sinus rinse all the way. It changed my life. Can’t praise it highly enough.

  • witchgirl26 says:

    Odourless garlic tabs in the morning starting bout this time of year always seem to help lessen the number of colds I get.
    Second the “hero” thing – you’re not doing yourself or anyone else favours by struggling through. Better one day off now than 3 next week coz you’re flattened.
    The sinus rinse thing is fab too – only got it year before last & really helps. Not as bad as you’d think either but will say it’s an odd sensation.
    I hate chicken soup so I head for chicken noodles instead.
    Vicks inhalers are brill to help you through the day as well.
    Yeah they’re all my go-to’s. Well cept for the sinutab :)

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