LIFESTYLE NEWS - Coughing, runny or stuffy nose, aches or fever? It’s that time of the year and you may have a bad cold or, heaven forbid, influenza (flu).
And yet as bad as your symptoms are, the good news is that more often than not, you’ll probably get better without any serious complications.
Research shows that healthy individuals recover within seven to 10 days, and what you eat and drink plays a part in speeding up your recovery.
But before we get to the bug-busting meals, you may want to know if what you have is flu, or just a really bad cold. Although flu shares many symptoms with a cold, it is different and usually comes on suddenly.
These are just some of the main symptoms that someone who has flu will experience. Often you will feel some or all of them:
- Stuffy nose or runny nose.
- Sore throat.
- Body or muscle aches.
- Diarrhoea or vomiting (these are more common in children).
- Fever or chills (not everyone has these).
With all these symptoms, there’s a good chance you may not feel like it, but eating helps give your body energy to fight illness. The Citizen has rounded up a few dietician-recommended meals and drinks to help you beat the bug.
Flu aches and fatigue mean you may not have the strength to make or eat a whole meal. A glass of low-sodium vegetable juice will help you load up on immune-boosting antioxidants. Choose 100% fruit juice if you have a sweet tooth.
It’s not only a great source of hydration, but scientific evidence suggests it helps clear congestion and inflammation when you’re sick, and the salt in the soup helps reduce soreness in your throat. Add noodles to fill your tummy.
This root vegetable helps reduce fever and can relieve a sore throat. It is lauded as one of the most powerful natural remedies to help bring relief from the symptoms of colds and flu. Add it to your tea or soup to get some relief from stomach ache and nausea.
Whether it’s green, oolong or black tea, you are sure to get some wonderful antioxidants. You can also breathe in the steam to ease your stuffy nose.
A spoonful of honey and a squeeze of lemon in your tea does wonders to soothe your sore throat. Go for decaf or herbal versions if you don’t enjoy caffeine.
Consider combining leafy greens such as spinach and kale in your soups or smoothies to help boost your immune system when you have flu. They are packed with vitamins C and E needed throughout the duration of your illness.
Call the doctor
Flu will generally cure itself with time. However, you should call your doctor if you experience the following:
- Wheezing or shortness of breath.
- Your cough worsens and produces yellow, green, rust-coloured or bloody mucus.
- Your symptoms improve but then seem to get worse again.
- Ear pain and drainage from your ear.
- A temperature of 38°C or higher in an infant less than three months old and 38.9° C or higher in older children or adults.
Remember: During this time of Covid-19, it is important to keep in mind that this virus also shares many similar symptoms to the flu. If you feel it may be more than the flu, it is advisable that you immediately contact a medical expert.