Theoretically, the average cold or flu is meant to last three to 10 days. That’s it. But when you’re suffering from endless sniffles, drowning in tissues and have a voice three notches deeper than usual, it can feel like a never-ending curse.
We all know it’s coming too, from the first sneeze, cough or sniffle. Soon there’ll be muscle aches, sore eyes or headaches. We can shrug it off to our friends, colleagues and family (“Who, me? I NEVER get sick.”) but the truth is we’ll be stocking up on cold and flu medication on the way home to beat that bug before it gets unbearable.
When you just can’t kick it, you need an action plan in place to get back to your healthy self as quick as possible! If your cold or flu won’t budge as quickly as you’d like it to, it might be due to these reasons:
You’re Lacking in Fluids
You need to stay hydrated during an illness to flush out your toxins, add moisture to counteract medicine that may dry up your head and help break down congestion. You should stock up on warm fluids such as soup, broth or tea and regular fluids such as water and juice. Steer clear of coffee, other caffeine-related products or alcohol, as they draw out more moisture than they give.
You’re Too Stressed
Stress can wear us down and it can also take a toll on our immune system. Stress reduces the body’s ability to produce cortisol, which helps fight the threat of viruses. While it can be hard for people to switch off when sick, it’s the best action to fight the illness. Hey, maybe even book in a massage if you’re able to last 30 minutes on a table without sneezing!
You’re Not Getting Enough Rest
A regular and adequate sleep pattern keeps your immune system going. If you don’t get at least seven hours of sleep a night, you may be more susceptible to colds and flus. Dozing off when you’re feeling under the weather is pretty common so embrace it! It’s your body doing whatever it can to catch up on that much-needed rest.
You Sugar-Coat Your Sickness
Eating a lot of sugar in one sitting could actually temporarily lower your immune system and extend your recovery time. So if you’re reaching for a block of chocolate while you’re sick on the couch watching Netflix, think again! Sure, it tastes good but sugar is not your ally in the war against sickness. You can always try something naturally sweet, like an apple or berries!
You’ve Been Taking The Wrong Medication
You should always, where possible, explain your ailments to a medical professional who can prescribe the right treatment/s and medicine/s. They’ll know exactly what you need to get better and it will save you a lot of hassle and limit the time you spend with Dr Google.
You’re Still Trying To Keep Up Your Regular Exercise Regimen
Firstly, you should never workout when you have a fever, or if you have symptoms below the neck, like an upset stomach or a phlegmy cough! While it’s best to give your body the rest it needs to bounce back from sickness, if you feel the need to continue your workouts you should always listen to your body. Don’t push yourself; consider lower reps and intensities.
You Reduce The Size Of Your Food Intake
Sometimes when you’re sick the last thing you want to do is eat. You’d much rather sleep, binge on TV and have hot showers. While you might not be able to stomach your regular meals, you should still try and eat the same quantity; your body needs extra calories and whole, nutrient-rich foods to kick that cold or flu to the curb. Perhaps soups, broths, fruit, yoghurt and toast could be your starting point?
You Jump Back Into Work Too Quickly
We get sick days for a reason, and you need to use them! The first three days of your illness are crucial. If you’re at work putting strain on the virus, it will only grow and get worse. Plus, you could make one of your co-workers sick and no one will thank you fort that. Doctors recommend taking the first two or three days off while suffering from a virus.