Each year Americans could be hit with an estimated 1 billion colds and 8% of us will get slammed with the flu. That’s a whole lot of cough drops, tissues and sick days.
No worries: We’ve got you covered with the info you need to feel better fast, including doctor-approved natural remedies and products that will make riding out symptoms easier — as well as facts about staying one step ahead of germs so these viruses will know better than to mess with you again.
The first thing is first though, do you have a cold or the flu?
Things typically start with a scratchy throat or runny nose and gradually get worse. Symptoms tend to be mild and include sneezing, nasal congestion, a sore throat, slightly swollen glands, and coughing.
Treatment: Take it easy, rest up and stay hydrated. Pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can provide temporary relief. A cold may last 10 days, but you’re less contagious as soon as you start to feel better.
It hits you fast: You may feel feverish in the afternoon, but have full-body aches by dinner-time. You have all the joy of cold symptoms plus a fever over 100°F, headache, fatigue, chills, and fun stuff like vomiting and diarrhea.
Treatment: You’ll probably need to stay put for three to seven days. Ask your doctor if she recommends Tamiflu, an antiviral prescription. Although you may be tired, you can start to resume your routine when the fever disappears.
What are some good natural remedies to soothe cold and flu symptoms?
There’s an urban legend that drinking hot liquids can prevent you from catching a cold because they send germs into your stomach to die a horrible acidic death. But the fact is hot liquids themselves won’t flush germs out of your system, says Glenn Wortmann, M.D., director of infectious diseases at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC.
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