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#1 know when not to treat symptoms
Believe it or not, those annoying symptoms you're experiencing are part of the natural healing process -- evidence that the immune system is battling illness. For instance, a fever is your body's way of trying to kill viruses by creating a hotter-than-normal environment. Also, a fever's hot environment makes germ-killing proteins in your blood circulate more quickly and effectively. Thus, if you endure a moderate fever for a day or two, you may actually get well faster. Coughing is another productive symptom; it clears your breathing passages of thick mucus that can carry germs to your lungs and the rest of your body. Even that stuffy nose is best treated mildly or not at all. A decongestant, like sudafed, restricts flow to the blood vessels in your nose and throat. But often you want the increase blood flow because it warms the infected area and helps secretions carry germs out of your body.
#2 blow your nose often (and the right way)
It's important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head. But when you blow hard, pressure can carry germ-carrying phlegm back into your ear passages, causing earache. The best way to blow your nose: press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other.
#3 treat that stuffy nose with warm salt water
Salt-water rinsing helps break nasal congestion, while also removing virus particles and bacteria from your nose. Here's a popular recipe:
Mix 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water. Use a bulb syringe or nasal irrigation kit to squirt water into the nose. Hold one nostril closed by applying light finger pressure while squirting the salt mixture into the other nostril. Let it drain. Repeat two to three times, then treat the other nostril.
#4 stay warm and rested
Staying warm and resting when you first come down with a cold or the flu helps your body direct its energy toward the immune battle. This battle taxes the body. So give it a little help by resting.
Gargling can moisten a sore throat and bring temporary relief. Gargle with half a teaspoon of salt dissolved in 8 ounces warm water, four times daily.
To reduce the tickle in your throat, try an astringent gargle -- such as tea that contains tannin -- to tighten the membranes. Or use a thick, viscous gargle made with honey or honey and apple cider vinegar. Seep one tablespoon of raspberry leaves or lemon juice in two cups of hot water; mix with one teaspoon of honey. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before gargling.
#6 drink hot liquids
Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion, prevent dehydration, and soothe the uncomfortably inflamed membranes that line your nose and throat. If you're so congested that you can't sleep at night, try a hot toddy, an age-old remedy. Make a cup of hot herbal tea. Add one teaspoon of honey and one small shot (about 1 ounce) of whiskey or bourbon. Limit yourself to one. Too much alcohol will inflame the membranes and make you feel worse.
#7 take a steamy shower
Steamy showers moisturize your nasal passages and may help you relax. If you're dizzy from the flu, run a steamy shower while you sit on a chair nearby and take a sponge bath.
#8 use a salve under your nose
A small dab of mentholated salve under your nose can help to open breathing passages and restore the irritated skin at the base of the nose. Menthol, eucalyptus, and camphor all have mild numbing ingredients that may help relieve the pain of a nose rubbed raw. However, only put it on the outside, under your nose, not inside your nose.
#9 apply hot or cold packs
Around your congested sinuses
Either temperature works. You can buy reusable hot or cold packs at a drugstore or make your own. You can apply heat by taking a damp washcloth and heating it for 55 seconds in a microwave (test the temperature first to make sure it's not too hot.) a small bag of frozen peas works well as a cold pack.
#10 sleep with an extra pillow
Under your head
Elevating your head will help relieve congested nasal passages. If the angle is too awkward, try placing the pillows between the mattress and the box springs to create a more gradual slope.
#11 don't fly unless necessary
There's no point adding stress to your already stressed-out upper respiratory system, and that's what the change in air pressure will do. Flying with cold or flu congestion can temporarily damage your eardrums as a result of pressure changes during takeoff and landing. If you must fly, use a decongestant and carry a nasal spray with you to use just before takeoff and landing. Chewing gum and swallowing frequently can also help relieve pressure.
#12 eat infection-fighting foods
Here are some good foods to eat when you're battling a cold or flu:
Bananas and rice to soothe an upset stomach and curb diarrhea
Vitamin c-containing foods like bell peppers
Blueberries curb diarrhea and are high in natural aspirin, which may lower fevers and help with aches and pains
Carrots, which contain beta-carotene
Chili peppers may open sinuses, and help break up mucus in the lungs
Cranberries may help prevent bacteria from sticking to cells lining the bladder and urinary tract
Mustard or horseradish may helps break up mucus in air passages
Onions contain phytochemicals purported to help the body clear bronchitis and other infections
Black and green tea contain catechin, a phytochemical purported to have natural antibiotic and anti-diarrhea effects.
Remember, serious conditions, such as sinus infections, bronchitis, meningitis, strep throat, and asthma, can look like the common cold. If you have severe symptoms, or don't seem to be getting better, call your doctor.
If you are experiencing a wheezing sound while you breathe or having difficulty in breathing, you are suffering from asthma. It is a medical condition characterized by paroxysmal wheezing respiration dyspnoea. There is no definite way to prevent asthma, but by following a step-by-step daily plan, you can prevent asthma attacks or keep them in check.
Symptoms of Asthma or Asthma Attack
- Chest tightness or chest discomfort
- Breathing discomfort with or without cough
Here are some important measures to follow to prevent asthma:
- You need to strictly follow your asthma action plan. The plan should be laid down after a detailed discussion with your doctor or healthcare team. All the medicines you require to prevent the asthma attacks will be written down for you.
- You should get vaccinated for pneumonia and influenza. This will prevent these conditions from triggering asthma attacks or flare-ups.
- You need to identify the asthma triggers and stay away from them. Several outdoors irritants and allergens from pollen to cold air can trigger asthma attacks.
- You have to monitor your breathing. By recognising the warning signs of an attack like wheezing, slight coughing or shortness of breath, you can prevent an asthma attack. You need to measure and record your peak airflow regularly using a home peak flow meter.
- By acting quickly, you can identify a fatal attack and prevent it from occurring. When the peak flow measurement decreases, you need to take your medicines immediately and abstain from any activity which may have triggered the attack.
- You need to keep taking your prescribed medicines, even if your asthma symptoms have improved. You should not change your medication schedule without consulting a doctor. It is recommended that you to bring along the medicines you take at your doctor’s appointment as he will be able to tell whether you are taking them right.
- If you use your quick relief inhaler a lot, the asthma is not under control. You need to visit your doctor as soon as possible and he/she will make some modifications to your treatment.
- For prevention of asthma, you should use allergy proof pillow covers and mattresses. You must wash your bedding every week in hot water to eliminate dust mites. You may use a dehumidifier for reducing excess moisture to prevent mold.
- Do not allow your pets in the bedroom and on the furniture. Pet dander is a common trigger of asthma and it cannot be avoided by people who own pets.
- You can also fit an air filtration system in your home. It will help in the elimination of asthma triggers such as pollen, dust mites and other allergens.
Doctor suggests immunotherapy for asthma prevention in the form of allergy shots. Immunotherapy aims at altering a person’s immune response by making it less sensitive to asthma triggers. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Pulmonologist.