Sometimes, no matter how many layers we pile on during winter or how many people with illnesses we avoid, we are still susceptible to colds and influenza – they are highly contagious. We are all aware that there are no medications, remedies or antibiotics that can specifically cure the common cold. Firstly, if you haven’t had a flu jab, have one. If you are currently suffering from a cold or flu, there are multiple suggestions to help ease your symptoms, soothe your aches and pains and assist with speeding up your recovery.

Stay at home and rest.

It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised about how many people feel that they should power through the symptoms and go to work when they have a cold or flu. The best way to ease your symptoms and speed up recovery is to stay at home, keep warm and get plenty of sleep. Plus, this also means you can refrain from passing on your germs to colleagues!

Drink a lot of water.

Not only will this keep you hydrated, but more specifically, it will keep your respiratory system hydrated. Every time you cough, sneeze or sweat, your body loses fluids. Keeping your respiratory system hydrated will help to liquidise any phlegm or mucus and stop you from getting an infection. Steaming your face will also help clear out your sinuses.

Soothe your throat.

No matter whether you have a sore throat, a chesty cough or aching pains in your neck, keeping your throat lubricated and soothed is essential to ease your symptoms. Try throat lozenges and chloraseptic throat spray if your throat is particularly painful through coughing. Many people describe their sore throats as feeling like “razor blades”- if this is the case try drinking hot water, honey and lemon mixed together to help relax painful symptoms.

Blow your nose.

Many people who get the “sniffles” do just that – sniffle the mucus back into the sinuses, which isn’t going to improve symptoms at all. Blow your nose regularly, but gently; blowing too hard can cause ear ache, and the last thing you need is even more aches and pains.

See your GP.

If your symptoms last more than two weeks without improving, or your symptoms start to worsen and you think you may have an infection, visit your GP. They will be able to prescribe the necessary antibiotics to fight any infections you have, as well as painkillers to improve your sore throat and muscles.

Cold and flu are more common in the winter, so ensure you take care of yourself. If you are out and about wrap up warm and carry hand sanitiser with you at all times – use this after washing your hands, or in between washes. Don’t forget to get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day – a regular intake of vitamins will boost your immune system and help to prevent catching a cold.