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Feeling Sick: Tips To Provide When You Are Sick

Feeling Sick: These healthcare provider-approved tips and tricks will help you start feeling better sooner rather than later. Here is what to do when you start feeling sick so that you can feel better as soon as possible.

A tickle in your throat, a cloudy head, an achy body: There is no doubt that you are coming down with something. The average adult gets two or three colds per year, with each lasting an average of seven to 10 days. Symptoms tend to peak within the first three days. However, some symptoms can last up to two weeks.

Common Symptoms at the Beginning of a Cold

Feeling Sick, Colds typically start with a sore throat and runny nose, but you may also have other symptoms, such as:

Body aches




How to Stop a Cold When You Feel It Coming On

There is no way to cure a cold, but there are some steps you can take to help ease your symptoms.

1. Add Honey to Water

Feeling Sick

Feeling Sick, Honey can help alleviate cough. This may be because honey has antimicrobial properties and can help relieve irritation and inflammation in the airway.

Eat one to two tablespoons straight from the jar or stirred into tea or water. While honey is a good option for both adults and children, it should not be given to children under 12 months old, as it can lead to infant botulism.

2. Drink Lots of Fluids

Feeling SickFeeling Sick, Drinking water and juice to stay hydrated can help cut down on symptoms like a sore throat and stuffy nose.

To help prevent dehydration, try to steer clear of alcohol and caffeinated drinks.5 If your throat is too scratchy to gulp anything down, try sucking on ice chips.

3. Engage in Light Movement

Feeling Sick

Feeling Sick, If you’re up for a little activity, light or moderate exercise can help boost your immune system. However, you’ll probably want to tone down your workout a little bit. For example, if you typically go for a run, take a leisurely walk, or enjoy a relaxing yoga session instead.

If you have more serious symptoms such as a fever, cough, chills, or body aches, it’s best to avoid exercise until you are feeling better to allow your body to get some well-needed rest. Consult with a healthcare provider before working out if you have an underlying condition like COPD, asthma, or heart disease.

4. Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods

Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods

Feeling Sick, Focus on eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet to help fuel your immune system and fight off your cold. This means prioritizing protein-packed foods like lean meat, fish, or beans, with a whole-grain side like brown rice, and plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.6

5. Enjoy Hot Soup

Enjoy Hot Soup

Feeling Sick, While you’re sipping on plenty of juice and water, you may want to enjoy some soup, too.

Chicken noodle soup is a soothing option when you are sick. Some research suggests the soup might even have some anti-inflammatory benefits. It also tastes comforting when you’re under the weather.

If you prefer not to eat meat, you can boost your immune system with vegetable soup or lentil soup.

6. Gargle With Salt Water

Gargle With Salt Water

Feeling Sick, If you have a scratchy throat, add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and then gargle it and spit it out. This can help alleviate a sore throat.

You can do this several times a day. However, this remedy is only suitable for people over the age of 6 who can gargle without swallowing.

7. Take a Sick Day

Take a Sick Day

Feeling Sick, If you are able to stay home, it’s best to do so. Your body can fight off the virus better if you’re well-rested, so sleep is your best friend when you’re ill. Staying home will also help you avoid spreading the cold to other people.

If you have to go to work, steer clear of co-workers as best you can—the first few days of a cold are when you’re most contagious. To keep from sharing your germs, wash your hands regularly or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. You may even want to wear a mask, as masks can reduce the spread of not only COVID-19 but other illnesses as well.

If you think your cold symptoms may be due to COVID-19, isolate and get tested. If you test negative, you can end isolation.

If you test positive for COVID-19, follow CDC guidance to determine how long you should isolate. If you have no choice but to be around others, wear a high-quality mask and avoid being around people who are at high risk of COVID-19 complications.

8. Take an OTC Medicine

OTC Medicine

Feeling Sick, Grab a pain reliever like acetaminophen to fight off achiness and possibly even quell a low-grade fever.2 Over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications like Zyrtec and Benadryl might help with symptoms like watery eyes, at least for a day or two.

Meanwhile, allergy medications that contain decongestants, like Claritin D or Alavert D, will help clear your sinuses. Consult with a healthcare provider about which medications—if any—would be best for you.

Keep in mind that children under the age of 2 should not be given any cough or cold medications, as this can lead to severe and potentially fatal side effects. Ask a healthcare provider before giving cold medication to a child between the ages of 2 and 4.

If you are considering giving medication to an older child, talk to a healthcare provider or read and follow the label and its instructions carefully. Opt for child-specific products. Avoid products designed for adults, as they can lead to overdose when given to children.

Using more than one product with the same drug (e.g. a pain reliever with acetaminophen alongside a cold medicine containing acetaminophen) can also lead to overdose, which is another reason it’s so important to read the packaging of each product you use.

9. Try a Nasal Spray

Try a Nasal Spray

Feeling Sick, While more research is needed, using a saline nasal spray right after cold symptoms first appear may reduce their impact by moisturizing dry nasal passages and loosening mucous. Be sure to follow the instructions and warnings on the packaging.

In conjunction with a nasal spray, take a hot shower. The steam can help clear out your nasal passages.

10. When to See a Healthcare Provider

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Feeling Sick, If over the course of a few days, you feel worse, call a healthcare provider. You’ll also want to consult with a healthcare provider if your symptoms last longer than 10 days or if you develop severe or unusual symptoms. These are signs you may have something other than the common cold (such as flu or an infection), and you may need other treatment.

Call a healthcare provider as soon as possible if you are at high risk of serious flu complications and you develop flu symptoms like chills, fever, and muscle or body aches. Your healthcare provider can find out whether the illness is the flu or a cold and can recommend treatment accordingly. High-risk groups include:

Children under the age of 5

People over the age of 65

People with certain medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, diabetes, and asthma)

Pregnant people


Feeling Sick, Colds typically last for around a week, and some symptoms can stick around for up to two weeks. Fortunately, you can help ease your symptoms by taking a day off, drinking a lot of fluids, getting plenty of rest, and getting in some light physical activity if your symptoms are mild. Eating the right foods, taking over-the-counter medication, and following some expert-approved home remedies can also be helpful.

Also Read:

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14 Best Foods For Sick Times

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