Feel Better Soon! 5 Must Dos When You're Sick
Even though you've taken all the recommended precautions, you still wake up feeling congested, sore, and miserable. The common cold or flu may happen to the best of us, but how we treat ourselves once we're sick can be the difference between a seven-day cold or one that lasts for just a few days.
Eating the right foods while you're sick can help aid in a speedy recovery. And, when you're feeling weak and a little out of it, proper nourishment is important for energy levels. Look for easily digestible foods that contain essential nutrients like protein, antioxidants, and vitamins. Probitotics, zinc, and vitamin C are especially helpful in shortening the length of colds and flu.
The exception to the above is if you're dealing with a stomach bug. In this case, it may be hard to keep food down so stick to easily digestible, bland carbs like crackers or toast. Clear liquids like chicken broth may be OK, and, when you feel a bit stronger, try eating a bit of plain yogurt, which can shorten a bug by almost two days.
Take It Easy and Get Plenty of Rest
Not getting enough sleep may be the reason you're sick in the first place. Proper rest is important for boosting the body's immune system and allowing it to fight damage. If you're sick, take things down a notch and rest — the last thing you want to do is overwork an already weakened immune system! Consider cutting back on exercise, calling in sick to work, or skipping a day from school. Let your mind and body relax while your body rejuvenates itself.
Light Exercise (Well, Maybe)
First, figure out your symptoms to see whether or not you should stay in bed. In general, a sickness that causes above-the-neck symptoms — like a headache, congestion, or a runny nose — means you can exercise. Any flu-like symptoms like aches or pains, chest congestion, nausea, or a fever, means you should stay away from your fitness gear until you feel better.
Even if you are OK to exercise, keep things light to avoid overextending yourself. If you have a cold or are congested, exercise at half your regular intensity and gradually increase until you are at 80 percent (reduce intensity if you still aren't feeling well). Yoga may help both migraines and headaches; check out this yoga sequence for relieving tension headaches.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
It's always important to stay hydrated, but this is especially true when you're sick. Between the sneezing, runny nose, hot sweats, and unpleasant trips to the bathroom, your body is losing more fluids than usual. To avoid making symptoms worse, make sure to drink water. Besides water, drink hot tea, broth, and, if needed, electrolyte-replacement drinks.
Know When to Call the Doctor
When you're sick, it's important to check in with yourself to see if your cold or flu symptoms may warrant a visit to the doctor. In general, severe pain or a high fever that doesn't break in a couple of days often mean that you should call your physician. Every illness is different though; check this list to know when cold or flu symptoms have taken a turn for the worse.