Wednesday, 4 January 2017

FIVE FAVOURITES: How to look after yourself when you're full of a cold or flu

So, I would say this this cold and flu season is definitely in full swing! I've had it, my Mamma's had it, hubby's had it, clients have had it - in fact I think there are very few people out there who have escaped it! Blimey, even the Queen is suffering from it! The worst thing is though, is there's not cure! All we can do is 'rest' as we need to recover. I totally agree with this, but being off work the last couple of weeks has allowed me to experiment with different things to see what helps. Obviously I'm not a Doctor, so please always seek medical advice where necessary. This is only what I have found works for me and so if you have any questions, always check with your GP first.

Here is what I have found to help me (and also others) on the road to recovery...

1 - DRINKS


We all are aware we need to stay hydrated more than anything, but are we hydrating on the right things? 

  • Firstly, you need to drink lots of water. It can be so easy to forget, especially if you're tucked up in bed and not wanting to get out. For me, I found getting a litre bottle of water helped (mainly because it lasted ages so I wasn't back and forth to the kitchen refilling my glass), but also it allowed me to see how much I had drank in the day.
  • Make yourself some hot honey, lemon and ginger tea. I make this by grating some ginger in a pan and adding the juice of half a lemon, cupful of hot water from a recently boiled kettle and a big teaspoon of honey. Bring it up to a nice warm temperature and then strain it through a fine holed sieve. It tastes delicious, helps to soothe your throat and kill some germs too.
  • If you can muster up the energy, either make yourself some green juices full of vitamin c and nutrients or go out and buy some (or better still, send somebody else out to buy them for you!) You need all the vitamins you can get, but make sure your juice is raw and cold-pressed. None of the supermarket ones from a carton, you want something from a proper juice bar if you can. 
  • Ginger shots are another thing I've come to be a fan of. They are seriously hot hot, but the warmth that you get from it actually really soothed my sore throat. Either that or it numbed it anyway ha ha! Definitely worth a try if you're up for it - they can really sort you out.
  • Be sure to avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can really dehydrate your body. Also steer clear of fizzy pop/sodas as these will also dehydrate you and also the sugar make you cough even more.
2 - MEDICATION


There are so many different types of medicines on the market for coughs and colds. There are also some other natural remedies out there to try as well.
  • If you are full of a cold or flu, there is probably a good chance that you have a sore throat as well. If you do, try and treat this with some good cough pastilles. For me, I love a good old 'Locket'. More recently though, I have discovered Stockley's throat and chest lozenges which are miracle workers! They taste very much like aniseed/liquorice and also menthol. They are essentially made mostly out of sugar, but I swear these are the only things that can stop me coughing at 3am!
  • Don't forget a good cough syrup too! Covonia always sorts me out if my cough gets very bad. I have tried quite a few different ones in the last month, but this one has really helped my chest. Then, if it gets unbearable, I upgrade to Benylin. I just find this so strong though I won't take it more than once a day as my stomach can't handle it!
  • Good old fashioned paracetamol is always a great option. For me, it just perks me up a bit when you're under the weather. Get's rid of the headache and stomach ache from coughing so hard. I try and have these only twice a day maximum (only because I'm dosing myself up on so many other things! ha ha!)
  • If your throat gets very painful, maybe try gargling with salt water. I found this helped in the first few days when my throat felt like a grater! It does just take the edge off it a little bit.
3 - FOODS


Food is a bit of a funny one if you have no appetite. You just need something that is going to give you some kind of fuel, because if you don't, you will feel even worse. Plus, you generally need some food in your tummy with all that medication you're probably taking!
  • A nice bowl of soup can be full of goodness. I always like to have some soups in the freezer stashed away incase I'm desperate. A good homemade soup will always help get some nutrients in.
  • Smoothies are nice and easy to drink, plus full of vitamins. Try and make yourself some fresh ones instead of the ones bought off the shelf. Get in as many greens as you can to really build up the vitamin content.
  • If your throat is very 'hot', what worked for me was an acai bowl. This was sooo soothing on my throat as the coolness really helped take the inflammation out.
  • If all else fails, some good zinc and vitamin c supplements are always a good option too.
  • I personally would avoid foods that are quite scratchy such as toast and crisps as they can tickle your throat and trigger a cough. 
4 - ACCESSORIES


What do you mean accessories!?! ha ha! I mean some nice things that you can use to help with the symptoms.
  • Get some nice, soft tissues for that nose. Christmas is over now so no need to be looking like Rudolph anymore!
  • I swear by putting a balm on my nose every time I blow it. This stops the redness and dryness appearing. I've done this for years and it always works. I like to use my Cleansing Beauty Balm. I apply just a small amount on my nose each time I blow it and it never gets as sore.
  • Before bedtime, to help with a blocked nose, I always put some Vicks Vapour Rub on my chest. This stuff is magic and really can help you get a good night's sleep. Some people like to put it under their nose, but I find this area a bit too sensitive for me. I've also heard people putting it on their feet and socking up before bedtime. I tried this and it didn't do anything, but I've heard miracle cures from it.
  • For more of a natural method, fill an oil burner with water and add some drops of essential oils to help you breathe easier. I would recommend tea tree, lavender and eucalyptus. You can also do a steam inhalation with these oils too. I wrote a blog post actually on this here
5 - EXCERCISE


So I wouldn't recommend going for a full cardio workout when you're not well ever. I know some people do this, but it's really not for me at least! So what do I do?
  • I decided to brave a nice gentle yoga practice. I had a nosey on You Tube and found a really nice class that I did and it actually really helped. If you're interested, I have linked it here
  • The other thing is sauna and steam. My hubby is a big fan of this when he starts to get under the weather, he disappears to the gym for an hour or so and comes back a new man!
  • Getting outside and moving can help too. If it's very cold outside then obviously stay in and be warm. If you are on the mend though and you fancy a bit of fresh air then a gentle walk might be good to get some fresh oxygen in you. As much as resting is very important, if we sit in bed for days on end not moving it's not always good for our bodies. Sometimes mucus can rest on our chest as well if we do not move about, plus we can get a bit stagnated. Moving about can help loosen mucus, open our chest and lungs and allow us to breathe properly.
I hope if you're one of the unlucky ones who has been poorly, you are on the mend. If you're one of the lucky ones... stay well!

Thanks so much for reading,


Em x
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