Tips for treating a cold or flu

It’s that time of year again and it can seem like everyone is battling with a cold or flu. 

We’ve all got our own recipes and remedies. Bupa’s National Medical Director and GP Dr Tim Ross shares his top tips on how to recover from the dreaded lurgies.

Remedies for the common cold

  • Stay home if you’re sick so you don’t overdo it or spread germs to others.
  • Eat well. The old faithful hot chicken soup is warming and comforting when you’re unwell, but it’s also wise to eat plenty of fresh fruit and veggies.
  • Drink lots of fluids. That means water and lemon tea with honey, and avoiding alcohol which is an immune suppressant.
  • Rest up. A decent night’s sleep will do you the world of good.
  • Stay positive – the mind can be a powerful tool to help you recover.
  • Medicated cough drops  may help relieve a sore throat.
  • Strong menthol lozenges  or even some honey can help with a dry, tickly cough.
  • If your cough or congestion lasts longer than 5-7 days, or is worsening after a few days, you should see a GP.

Coping with the flu

While the symptoms of a cold and flu are similar, a flu is more severe and lasts longer than a cold. As well as headaches, a sore throat, runny nose and cough you may experience fevers, aches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhoea. Try the above tips as well as the following:
  • It’s important to get plenty of bedrest.
  • Over the counter cold and flu medication may help relieve your symptoms.
  • Antibiotics won’t help when you have a flu as it’s a viral infection, however they may be prescribed by a GP if you develop a secondary infection.
  • If you’re having trouble breathing, experience chest pain or if your fever, cough, vomiting or headaches don’t go away it’s important to see your GP.
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