It’s the end of winter. The Ekka has just rolled out of town, and it’s windy. The conditions for your family to catch a cold couldn’t be better.
And while heading to the pharmacist or even your GP will reveal the answer to combatting your cold, sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy to do anything but deal with your symptoms at home.
So, we’ve asked Feras Karem – pharmacist and CEO of Pharmacy 4 Less – to share with us some secrets to tackling your cold at home, including how to tell the difference between a flu and the common cold, and how to get better if you have the latter.
“Cold and flu symptoms vary depending on which you have,” says Feras. “While the main difference is the actual virus you have, the symptoms you’re exhibiting can help you to determine if you have a cold or a flu.”
Flu symptoms tend to come to life throughout the whole body, Feras tells us. They include rapid onset of:
- Fatigue or weakness
- Lower respiratory infections
Common cold symptoms
Common cold symptoms, on the other hand, are mostly above the neck. They include:
- Sore throat, caused by inflammation
- Stuffy throat, caused by inflammation
- Upper respiratory infections
“With the flu, you tend to be contagious one day before and up to two weeks after the onset of symptoms,” says Feras. “With the common cold, you can be contagious about one day before symptoms and for about 5-7 days.”
As such, for your best chance at preventing the spread of germs, Feras recommends staying home from work and having other family members help out with the load where you can for at least five days after you start noticing your first symptoms.
But the question on everyone’s lips is, “How can I get better?”
Feras likes to use an easy-to-remember acronym for getting rid of the common cold – E.R.A.S.E.
“You can erase your cold and flu symptoms by following five simple steps,” says Feras.
- Eat Healthy: Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables which are full of vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system.
- Rest Up: Remember that sleep and rest is important to help stay healthy.
- Anti-inflammatory:Use an anti-inflammatory cold & flu treatment to help relieve cold and flu symptoms.
- Sip Water: Staying well-hydrated will keep the kidneys happy to balance electrolytes and filter waste
- Exercise (Gently): Walk for 30 minutes a day as part of a healthy lifestyle.