Top tips to help you survive cold and flu season
Cold and flu season generally lasts between October and April so that means this year’s bout is right around the corner. We’ve some tips to help see you through another season of aches, pains and sniffles.
The first thing to note is the difference between a cold and a flu. A cold is a general term that refers to a mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It’s one of the most common health conditions, with adults generally experiencing two to four colds a year.
Seasonal flu (influenza) is a highly infectious disease caused by the flu virus. It affects lungs and upper airways. Flu patients generally need to stay in bed until symptoms improve.
According to the HSE, flu typically presents with symptoms including extreme fatigue, aching muscles, a headache and a high temperature which causes sweating. Symptoms of a cold are usually much milder and gradually start with a sore throat and a blocked or runny nose.
If you are otherwise fit and healthy, you can manage your cold and flu symptoms at home, although the over-65s and those in at-risk groups should speak to their GPs. Symptoms associated with both cold and flu can last about a week but, if a cough is part of your dose, that can sometimes take up to three weeks to disappear.
It’s important to note that, as both cold and flu are caused by viruses, antibiotics won’t work. Antibiotics work to fight bacterial infections so they can’t treat viruses and can, in fact, do more harm.
The best form of treatment is specific cold and flu medication such as Perrigo Cold & Flu Multi Relief Max Powder for Oral Solution which temporarily relieves common cold and flu symptoms such as minor aches and pains, headache, fever, sore throat, sinus congestion and pressure, nasal congestion and cough.
As well as over-the-counter medication, symptoms of cold and flu can be treated by drinking plenty of water to replace fluids lost by sweating and runny noses. Gargling with salt water can also help to relieve the symptoms of a sore throat and nasal congestion. It’s important to avoid alcohol as this can lead to dehydration and aggravate symptoms.
Rest is also necessary for people with the flu, especially to alleviate the pain of aching muscles and limbs. Patients may need to stay in bed for two or three days after flu symptoms peak.
People with the flu generally tend to have little to no appetite but it’s still important to keep eating to fight the infection. Start off with broths or simple soups, such as chicken soup which has mild anti-inflammatory properties, until the appetite has improved. The term ‘feed a flu’ was coined for a reason, and a healthy diet full of vitamins and nutrients will boost the recovery process.
People with colds generally have a better appetite than those suffering with the flu and can manage more robust food but, like flu patients, should treat their symptoms with healthy eating. A low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Many children will lose their appetite when they have a cold but it should only last for a few days. It’s recommended that children with a cold only eat when they are hungry.
If patients are feeling up to it, light exercise is recommended but be mindful of exerting the muscles too much. People should also stay warm as their ability to regulate their body temperature will be undermined by the illness.
If you would like some additional treatment advice, speak to your local pharmacist who will be able to guide you through the best course of action to treat your specific symptoms.
*Perrigo is an over-the-counter consumer goods and pharmaceutical business offering consumers and customers high quality products at affordable prices. It’s the world’s largest manufacturer of over-the-counter products and supplier of infant formulas for the store brand market. It is headquartered in Ireland.
As a global business, Perrigo is committed to providing quality affordable healthcare products to consumers. Ask your pharmacist about the new Perrigo cold and flu products range or visit the website to find out more.