(Family Characteristics) Another cough and cold season calls for healthy preparation, and while there may not be a foolproof plan to escape pesky germs, taking preventative steps and practicing self-care can help protect your health.
You can get a cold or flu at any time of the year, but they seem more common during the colder months.
“As much as we’d all like a quick cure for the common cold, unfortunately, that doesn’t exist,” said Ian K. Smith, MD. “However, there are many options that can be tried to relieve cold and flu symptoms, including over-the-counter medications. These medications can provide quick and much-needed relief.”
Reduce your chances of getting a serious illness this cold season by following these tips from the experts at Mucinex:
Make handwashing a priority. Preventive measures, such as frequent hand washing, can significantly reduce your chances of getting sick. In fact, washing your hands is such a powerful tool against germs that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention compared it to a “homemade vaccine.” Wash regularly with soap and water for about 20 seconds, especially when handling food, caring for someone who is sick, or after using the bathroom.
Get a flu shot. The CDC recommends getting a yearly flu shot to protect yourself from flu viruses. Ideally, everyone older than 6 months should get one, especially people who are at high risk of complications from the flu due to underlying conditions or other factors.
Make wellness a way of life. Adopting healthy habits every day means your body is better able to fight off potential attacks from germs and fight illness more effectively if you get sick. A well-balanced diet that includes moderate portions from each of the major food groups can help ensure you get the nutrition and nutrients your body needs. Staying physically active can help promote a stronger immune system. Getting enough sleep and making sure you drink enough water can also ensure your body is ready for whatever the season brings.
Stock up on the necessary supplies. If you get sick, the best place for you is your home, where you can nurse yourself back to health. That means keeping essentials on hand, like over-the-counter medications to treat uncomfortable cold and flu symptoms. Be sure to check out last year’s leftovers, as some may be expired. A shopping list to combat symptoms of the common cold and flu should include pain relievers, fever reducers, decongestants, antihistamines, throat lozenges, and cough suppressants, as well as plenty of facial tissues, a working thermometer, a humidifier, and more. Also update your supply of hand sanitizer and disinfectant cleaners and sprays to protect family members in your home.
Relieves bothersome symptoms. When you’re not well, treating your symptoms gives you a break and allows your body to rest so you can get back to feeling better. Cough is a symptom of the common cold, and relieving chest congestion that makes you cough often can make a world of difference. An option like Mucinex Extended-Release Bi-Layer Tablets, with the #1 pharmacist-recommended expectorant, is clinically proven to relieve chest congestion and thin and loosen mucus to make coughs more productive for up to 12 hours. If symptoms persist, contact your healthcare professional.
Do your part to prevent the spread of germs. If you get sick, know that you can take steps to protect those around you. Simple acts like covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and using your elbow if you don’t have a tissue can be effective in preventing the spread of germs. It is also important to wash your hands well and stay away from others to help prevent the spread of your illness.
Find more tips to prevent illness and protect yourself this cough and cold season at Mucinex.
Beat congestion like a pro
When you have a cough, you will try anything to make yourself feel better. Over-the-counter medications, like decongestants, and some lifestyle habits can make a difference.
Nasal decongestants that include the ingredient phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine work by constricting blood vessels, allowing more air to pass freely through the nose. This leads to drier nasal tissues and less mucus dripping down the back of the throat. Reducing postnasal drip means you’ll cough less often and experience less pain and discomfort in your throat.
As decongestants constrict blood vessels, other symptoms such as sinus pressure and nasal congestion also tend to improve. If you take a multi-symptom cough medicine, you can get the benefits of a decongestant plus an expectorant to loosen mucus, a cough suppressant to minimize coughing, and a pain reliever for any sore throat or sinus pain.
Lifestyle habits can also go a long way in relieving cough symptoms on their own or in conjunction with medications.
- Keep hydrated. Drinking plenty of water or other fluids helps thin the mucus in your chest.
- Suck on a pill. Let a lozenge dissolve in your mouth to soothe your throat and relieve a dry, tickly cough.
- Use a humidifier. Dry air can make a sore throat and cough worse. A humidifier can help by moistening the air you breathe.
- Rest. Skimping on rest when you have a cough or cold can make it harder to heal. Allow yourself to relax and sleep as needed.
(Photos courtesy of Getty Images)