Sick and Tired of Being Sick

This time of year, millions of Americans find themselves caught in the grip of cold and flu season, but is it possible to shorten the stay of these ugly bugs?

This time of year, millions of Americans find themselves caught in the grip of cold and flu season, but is it possible to shorten the stay of these ugly bugs?

Being sick sucks. Period. Anyone who is sick or has just gotten well again will tell you that there is nothing more frustrating than being well and carefree one day and the next you find yourself nursing a scratchy throat and struggling to keep your burning eyes open. We all know the symptoms; stuffy nose, headache, exhaustion, fever, sore throat, itchy or watery eyes… The list goes on. So does the fever.

Even if you’ve taken steps to protect yourself from these ugly viruses, you still aren’t safe. Several recent news stories have reported that up to 40 strains of the flu aren’t even covered by the flu shot. It seems like every season, the “old” strains of cold and flu fall further and further away from the radar in order to make room for their super-steroidal-strong cousins. These new family members are more contagious and stronger, which means they not only stick around longer, but they pack a bigger punch. Is it any wonder that we suffer from the same lingering ailment for three weeks at a time?

While you may not be fortunate enough to be immune to these viruses, you can help to ease your suffering and get better sooner with a few simple tricks.

- Keep track of your symptoms. This sounds almost silly, like on top of everything else, now you need to keep tabs on feeling like crap. The thing is, though, that most viruses peak between 3 and 5 days, so you’re going to want to save your sick days for the third through fifth day of your sickness if you can. This is going to be the time when your fever is the worst and sleep is not only going to be desirable, but more of a necessity. If you have a pretty good idea of when you started getting sick, then you have a better idea of how long and how bad your illness has been for your doctor’s reference if you choose to see them and that can mean the difference between an antibiotic and being told that your flu needs to run it’s course.

- Wash your hands. We should all know this. After all, when your little ones go to daycare or pre-school, the first thing they do is wash their hands. All the tables are washed down with disinfecting wipes or a bleach water mix to kill germs and viruses, so why is it so easy to forget as an adult. It’s important to wash your hands at least five times a day with soap and warm water and you should have some kind of disinfecting wipes at work, so you can wipe down your work space at least once daily. Don’t forget about your phone and computer keyboard, too. Anything that you come in contact with that can hold germs. Keep the pens out of your mouth, too, they not only spread, but hold germs in their crevices. Keep hand sanitizer on hand for when you’re on the run and don’t have time to wash your hands. You can buy sample sizes, which are great for your purse, car or diaper bag for about $1. Give some to your school age children and spouse, too.

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