How To: Survive Cold And Flu Season


If the chorus of coughs, splutters, sniffles and sneezes in my Twitter feed is anything to go by, then cold and flu season 2012 is upon us good and proper. Not that I needed Twitter to tell me that: I'm just recovered from the cold from hell, which devolved into a rotten sinus infection that seemed to think seriously about taking up permanent residence in my nasal cavities.

Still, as uncomfortable as the whole episode was, at least it didn't wind up on my chest, and I did actually manage to shake the infection off in record time and feel vaguely human for the duration. Apart from mainlining painkillers and decongestants, a couple of things definitely helped:

Staying home; staying warm
If it is at all possible, stay put and rest up. Nobody likes a hero - and by "hero" I mean someone who lurches into the office of a morning and proceeds to spend the day passing their cold around the cubicles, looking like death warmed up as they hock their lungs up and hover at about 3% productivity when not moaning about how crap they feel. Pop on your thermal socks, your fluffiest dressing gown, add a scarf for panache, and crank the central heating up to 11.

Laying off dairy
I'm going to try and be as not gross as possible here, so let's just say that if you're already suffering with congestion, dairy products can be inclined to makes things worse and leave it at that.

Drinking plenty of water
Staying hydrated is obviously important when you're unwell, but drinking water can also help with congestion as it helps to thin the (look away now if you're feeling delicate) mucus that's bunging you up, which is more likely to drain.


Sinus rinsing
This is exactly what it says on the tin. If you suffer with sinus problems and haven't tried a sinus rinse yet, do yourself a favour: don't think about how awful dousing the inside of your nose with saline solution sounds and pick one up the next time you're in the chemist. The relief is immense.

Sleeping on more than the usual number of pillows
While I didn't find that I was coughing during the day, at night I was keeping the whole house awake with my spluttering. Elevating my head with a couple of extra pillows was a total lifesaver (and not as uncomfortable as I thought.)

Using coated tissues
Despite working my way through an entire multi-pack of tissues in the space of a few days, my nose hasn't been completely ripped to shreds. Balsam-coated beats loo roll hands down.

Chicken soup
I dunno about you, but when I'm sick I don't normally feel like eating much other than toast or soup, because everything tastes so bloody disgusting. Now, I didn't actually get to have any chicken soup this time around, but I did think about it quite a bit and just that made me feel better. I can only imagine how swift my recuperation would have been if I'd got my paws on some!

Have you any tips you'd like to share with the class for avoiding or getting rid of seasonal lurgy?

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