ADULT SELF-CARE FOR COLDS AND FLUHelp Yourself
You've heard it before: Colds and most flu's are caused by viruses. They can't be cured with antibiotics. So what can you do? You can relieve symptoms and support your body's efforts to heal itself. This information can help. No matter which symptoms you have, always: Drink at least 8 big glasses of water, juice or soup a day; stop smoking and drinking alcohol; and get plenty of rest.Understand a Fever
When your body temperature rises, germs and viruses have a tougher time thriving. A fever is a sign your body is fighting infection.Monitor the fever
Take your temperature several times a day. If your fever is above 38.9°C for more than a day, call your doctor.Take it easy
Relax, recline. Go to bed if you want. Just get off your feet and rest. Also, drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.Treat a Troubled Nose Kindly
Your nose feels stuffy. Then, for no apparent reason, it starts to run. This is your body's way of flushing away invaders.Breathe moist heat
Breathe steam to open blocked nasal passages. Stand in a hot shower or near a boiling kettle or a vapouriser. Be careful not to get burned by the steam.Use sprays, medications
Saline nasal sprays and decongestant tablets help open a stuffy nose. Dry a runny nose or postnasal drip with antihistamines.Soothe a Sore Throat and Cough
Do you have a swollen throat, hoarse voice or cough. These all indicate that your body is fighting infection and working to clear your airway.Reduce irritation
Gargle every 2 hours with 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1/2 cup of warm water. Suck on throat lozenges and cough drops to moisten your throat.Use cough syrup
If coughing is a problem, take an expectorant to loosen mucus. If you have a dry cough, use a cough suppressant.Ease Digestive Problems
Vomiting and diarrhoea are the body's way of rapidly clearing irritants from the stomach and bowels.Sip liquids
Put fluid back into your body. Take frequent sips of clear liquids, such as water or ginger ale. Avoid milk and milk products.Follow the BRAT diet
As your appetite returns, try eating the BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. Avoid fatty or spicy foods for the first few days after your symptoms ease.When to Call Your Doctor
Most cold and flu symptoms can be handled with self-care, but professional help is sometimes necessary. Call you doctor if you have any of the following symptoms. Also, be sure to call or see your doctor if you aren't feeling better after 5 to 7 days.
Fever of 38.9°C or higher for more than a day
Signs of dehydration, including extreme thirst, dark urine, infrequent urination
Spotted, red or very sore throat
Cough and chest painSupplies for Self-Care
Save yourself an emergency trip to the pharmacy by stocking up on self-care supplies. That way you can start taking care of yourself at the first sign of a cold or flu. These are a few of the most useful supplies:
Thermometer to monitor fever
Acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin to relieve head or muscle aches
Decongestants and saline spray to open a stuffy nose
Cough syrup to loosen mucus or suppress red a dry cough
Chicken soup, ginger ale, herbal tea
Good books and magazines, comfortable clothesSuccessful Self-Care
To be successful at self-care, you need to know what you can and can't do for yourself. Sometimes, self-care means calling your doctor or pharmacist. Use the following checklist to help you identify any weak spot in your self-care skills. Then remedy the problem before you get sick!
I understand how to relieve minor symptoms of colds and flu.
I keep self-care supplies on hand.
I know the names and purposes of all the medications I take.
I read the labels on all my medications and use them only as directed.
I keep the phone numbers of my doctor and pharmacist handy.
I know when I should call my doctor.
I can accurately describe my symptoms to my doctor.
Self-care can help you soften the blow of most colds and flu. But with a little preventive care, you can probably avoid some illnesses altogether. Remember these tips to help you stay healthy.
Eat a healthy diet, get enough rest and exercise several times a week.
Wash your hands often throughout the day.
Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes.
Avoid sharing food, utensils, phones and keyboards.