Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 10:10 am

â??A tickle in your throat, a fuzzy head or aches and pains are the first signs of getting a cold or flu, and it is essential to act quickly when you feel any of these symptoms,â? says Peter Jordan, Principal Officer of Fedhealth.

Stay hydrated

Jordan suggests drinking water as soon as you start experiencing symptoms. Fluids are very important when you have a cold, so make sure you drink lots of water.

â??Staying hydrated cuts down on symptoms like a sore throat and a stuffy nose,â? he says.

Gargle salt water

â??Add half a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water and gargle,â? recommends Jordan, â??The salt draws out the excess water in your throatâ??s tissues, reducing the inflammation, clearing the mucous and irritants from the back of the throat.â?

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Keep your nose clean

Another good suggestion is to use a saline nasal spray to keep your nose clean, as this will reduce the impact of the symptoms.

Hit the honey

â??One or two tablespoons of raw honey also makes for a great alternative to cough medicine,â? says Jordan.

Stay at home

Jordan says that if you can stay at home, rather skip work for a day.

â??Your body can fight off the virus better if you are rested and your colleagues will thank you for not making them sick too.â?

When to call the doctor

â??If you start feeling a fever coming on, start vomiting or have a bad headache, call your doctor. Otherwise keep up the routine for the next few days to make sure that you kick that cold for good,â? says Jordan.

Tips for preventing a common cold

  • Wash your hands often and use disposable items if someone in your family is infected

  • Keep household surfaces clean and wipe them down regularly with disinfectant

  • Dispose of tissues properly

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with adequate sleep, good nutrition and physical exercise

  • Control stress. People experiencing emotional stress have weakened immune systems

  • Keep warm. Shivering depresses the immune system and makes you more likely to catch colds

  • Donâ??t smoke

How to boost your immune system

  • Increase your intake of antioxidants such as Vitamin C, A and E, beta and mixed carotenes and selenium

  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables and drink a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice every day

  • Drink lots of black tea. Research shows that people who drink five to six cups of tea each day seemed to get a boost in that part of the immune system that acts as a first line of defence against infection

  • Eat whole grains and cereals rich in polyphenols to restore the immune system; eating soya will also boost the immune system

  • Take pre- and probiotics to help the gastrointestinal tract and the uptake of important minerals

  • Increase your daily intake of essential nutrients, vitamin A, iron and zinc

  • Laugh. Laughing decreases the amount of stress hormones in your body boosting your mood and immune system

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While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.