What to Do When You’re Already Sick

Nobody likes being sick. It’s one of those inevitable things we all have to endure each Winter, but our friends over at Men’s Journal share these helpful tips on how to better manage your health when you get the sniffles. Check them out here.

So you didn’t listen to the experts and got a cold. If you want to get better fast, this is where you need to really pay attention. To start, don’t rush to the doctor, stop blowing your nose, and please, go back to bed. Got it? Good. Now follow these other proven remedies for your cold.

1. Don’t Rush to the Doctor

There’s nothing a physician can prescribe to cure a cold; they’re viral, and antibiotics are effective only against bacterial infections. Yet many will write a script for antibiotics anyway, says Jeffrey Linder, an internal medicine doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “You’re putting a chemical in your body that has virtually no chance of helping you and a very real chance of hurting you,” he says. Side effects of antibiotics include diarrhea, rashes, and an increased resistance to future doses of the drug.

Related: How to Not Get Sick This Year

2. Stop Blowing Your Nose So Hard

“It drives the virus farther up into your sinuses, which is the last thing you want,” says infectious-disease expert William Schaffner. Instead, press your finger against one nostril, blow the other gently, then switch. This also keeps nasal passages from getting inflamed. When you shower, turn up the water temp to allow steam to open up the passages, too. “Cup your hands full of water and inhale the mist into your nose,” Schaffner suggests. “This gets warm moisture up there to help with drainage.” A neti pot filled with warm water and a teaspoon of salt can also help irrigate the nasal passages, says family physician and alternative-medicine researcher Bruce Barrett. Use it twice a day.

3.Chicken Soup. Really. Here’s why.

This time-honored cold and flu remedy is actually backed by hard science. First and most important, chicken soup supplies fluids and electrolytes to help with hydration, says Dr. Evangeline Lausier of Duke Integrative Medicine. And because it’s broth-based and often includes rice or noodles, you get calories that are easily absorbed and metabolized and won’t further stress your gut, she adds. Even the meat helps ¡ª chicken and its broth are rich in the amino acid carnosine, which research shows lowers inflammation and inhibits the flu virus. Fresh herbs and spices pack in more healing power. “Garlic can help your body break down mucus, while ginger can relieve nausea if you have the flu,” Lausier says. And that steaming bowl could be even more effective if it is made by Mom (or a spouse or friend). Research has shown that when patients are doted on by a loved one, they really do improve more quickly.

4. Make Your Drinks Hot

You know to pound fluids when you’re sick ¡ª you’re sweating more (viruses raise body temperature) and losing fluids through a runny nose or constant sneezing. But all those drinks can be even more effective if served hot. Herbal teas or hot water with lemon or ginger may soothe irritated mucous membranes in the nose, throat, and gut. And it’s fine to add a comforting splash of something such as rum, Barrett says. Just avoid red wine and beer; these high-histamine alcohols may make your symptoms worse.

5. Sleep

Battling a virus requires incredible metabolic energy. According to the doctors we consulted, every extra hour you spend sleeping, versus exerting yourself, will help you recover faster.

6. Don’t Dismiss Every Natural Remedy

Elderberry syrup, a centuries-old illness remedy, can shorten flu symptoms by four days, according to a 2004 study in The Journal of Dietary Supplements. As for traditional drugs, decongestants like Sudafed can offer temporary relief, but they won’t speed healing and may raise heart rate and blood pressure or cause insomnia, says Barrett. And beware of nasal sprays like Afrin, which can require a higher and higher dose to produce the same effect ¡ª and once you stop using it, you will be even more congested.

More From Men’s Journal:

The Real Deal on Fighting ColdsWhen You Should Skip Antibiotics4 Tests Worth Getting at the Doctor’s OfficeImage Source: Shutterstock

What to Do When You’re Already Sick

Nobody likes being sick. It’s one of those inevitable things we all have to endure each Winter| but our friends over at Men’s Journal share these helpful tips on how to better manage your health when you get the sniffles. Check them out here.

So you didn’t listen to the experts and got a cold. If you want to get better fast| this is where you need to really pay attention. To start| don’t rush to the doctor| stop blowing your nose| and please| go back to bed. Got it? Good. Now follow these other proven remedies for your cold.

1. Don’t Rush to the Doctor

There’s nothing a physician can prescribe to cure a cold; they’re viral| and antibiotics are effective only against bacterial infections. Yet many will write a script for antibiotics anyway| says Jeffrey Linder| an internal medicine doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “You’re putting a chemical in your body that has virtually no chance of helping you and a very real chance of hurting you|” he says. Side effects of antibiotics include diarrhea| rashes| and an increased resistance to future doses of the drug.

Related: How to Not Get Sick This Year

2. Stop Blowing Your Nose So Hard

“It drives the virus farther up into your sinuses| which is the last thing you want|” says infectious-disease expert William Schaffner. Instead| press your finger against one nostril| blow the other gently| then switch. This also keeps nasal passages from getting inflamed. When you shower| turn up the water temp to allow steam to open up the passages| too. “Cup your hands full of water and inhale the mist into your nose|” Schaffner suggests. “This gets warm moisture up there to help with drainage.” A neti pot filled with warm water and a teaspoon of salt can also help irrigate the nasal passages| says family physician and alternative-medicine researcher Bruce Barrett. Use it twice a day.

3.Chicken Soup. Really. Here’s why.

This time-honored cold and flu remedy is actually backed by hard science. First and most important| chicken soup supplies fluids and electrolytes to help with hydration| says Dr. Evangeline Lausier of Duke Integrative Medicine. And because it’s broth-based and often includes rice or noodles| you get calories that are easily absorbed and metabolized and won’t further stress your gut| she adds. Even the meat helps ¡ª chicken and its broth are rich in the amino acid carnosine| which research shows lowers inflammation and inhibits the flu virus. Fresh herbs and spices pack in more healing power. “Garlic can help your body break down mucus| while ginger can relieve nausea if you have the flu|” Lausier says. And that steaming bowl could be even more effective if it is made by Mom (or a spouse or friend). Research has shown that when patients are doted on by a loved one| they really do improve more quickly.

4. Make Your Drinks Hot

You know to pound fluids when you’re sick you’re sweating more (viruses raise body temperature) and losing fluids through a runny nose or constant sneezing. But all those drinks can be even more effective if served hot. Herbal teas or hot water with lemon or ginger may soothe irritated mucous membranes in the nose| throat| and gut. And it’s fine to add a comforting splash of something such as rum| Barrett says. Just avoid red wine and beer; these high-histamine alcohols may make your symptoms worse.

5. Sleep

Battling a virus requires incredible metabolic energy. According to the doctors we consulted| every extra hour you spend sleeping| versus exerting yourself| will help you recover faster.

6. Don’t Dismiss Every Natural Remedy

Elderberry syrup| a centuries-old illness remedy| can shorten flu symptoms by four days| according to a 2004 study in The Journal of Dietary Supplements. As for traditional drugs| decongestants like Sudafed can offer temporary relief| but they won’t speed healing and may raise heart rate and blood pressure or cause insomnia| says Barrett. And beware of nasal sprays like Afrin| which can require a higher and higher dose to produce the same effect ¡ª and once you stop using it| you will be even more congested.

More From Men’s Journal:

The Real Deal on Fighting ColdsWhen You Should Skip Antibiotics4 Tests Worth Getting at the Doctor’s OfficeImage Source: Shutterstock

Can’t Kick Your Sinus Infection? This Can Help

Don’t let your guard down ¡ª cold season is still in full effect. The combination of Winter’s dry air, a turned-up thermostat, and closed windows can wreak havoc on your respiratory system. The best way to combat dry air and reduce your susceptibility to infection is to invest in a humidifier. If you’ve suffered through too many colds, it might be time to see what all the hype is about.

Related: Soothe That Sinus Pain: Apple Cider Vinegar Brew

1. Relieve sinusitis: When the air is too dry, sinuses don’t drain and function properly. According to many ENT experts, adding humidity to the air is generally good for sinus health ¡ª especially if you’re regularly suffering from congestion and sinusitis.

2. Heal faster: Whether it be a cold, asthma, or allergies, a humidifier keeps your nasal passages lubricated, which helps speed up the healing process when you’re under the weather. For people with bad allergies, there are humidifiers that are specially designed to purify the air as well.

3. No more nosebleeds: Another reason keeping your nasal passages moist and lubricated is essential is to prevent nosebleeds. If you’re regularly experiencing nosebleeds due to your dry climate, it’s worth a try. Many people have found that it makes a huge difference.

4. Alleviate snoring: The moisture from a humidifier keeps the throat from drying out and relieves the intensity of that annoying snoring sound. If you or your partner is a snorer, the added bonus is that (at least) one of you will be sleeping more soundly.

5. Support beautiful skin: Soothe dry skin by sleeping with a humidifier on through the night. In the morning, you’ll notice not only that your face looks more supple but also that your hands and lips don’t feel dry and dehydrated.

Before you go out and purchase one, learn about the differences between warm- and cool-mist humidifiers.

¡ª Additional reporting by Heather Dale

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

Can’t Kick Your Sinus Infection? This Can Help

Don’t let your guard down cold season is still in full effect. The combination of Winter’s dry air| a turned-up thermostat| and closed windows can wreak havoc on your respiratory system. The best way to combat dry air and reduce your susceptibility to infection is to invest in a humidifier. If you’ve suffered through too many colds| it might be time to see what all the hype is about.

Related: Soothe That Sinus Pain: Apple Cider Vinegar Brew

1. Relieve sinusitis: When the air is too dry| sinuses don’t drain and function properly. According to many ENT experts| adding humidity to the air is generally good for sinus health especially if you’re regularly suffering from congestion and sinusitis.

2. Heal faster: Whether it be a cold| asthma| or allergies| a humidifier keeps your nasal passages lubricated| which helps speed up the healing process when you’re under the weather. For people with bad allergies| there are humidifiers that are specially designed to purify the air as well.

3. No more nosebleeds: Another reason keeping your nasal passages moist and lubricated is essential is to prevent nosebleeds. If you’re regularly experiencing nosebleeds due to your dry climate| it’s worth a try. Many people have found that it makes a huge difference.

4. Alleviate snoring: The moisture from a humidifier keeps the throat from drying out and relieves the intensity of that annoying snoring sound. If you or your partner is a snorer| the added bonus is that (at least) one of you will be sleeping more soundly.

5. Support beautiful skin: Soothe dry skin by sleeping with a humidifier on through the night. In the morning| you’ll notice not only that your face looks more supple but also that your hands and lips don’t feel dry and dehydrated.

Before you go out and purchase one| learn about the differences between warm- and cool-mist humidifiers.

¡ª Additional reporting by Heather Dale

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography

Steer Clear of the Flu With 6 Immunity-Boosting Foods

Steer Clear of the Flu With 6 Immunity-Boosting Foods

You might think that getting sick is random and inevitable| but practicing self care and eating a nutritious diet can help you stave off sickness. Incorporate six common foods into your daily diet u2014 or pick them up at the first signs of a bug u2014 to support your health all year ’round!

| Green Tea

Green tea can help you lose weight and de-stress| but it has also been linked to preventing the flu. In one study| Japanese children who drank green tea six times a week were less likely to catch a bug than their peers.

| Sauerkraut

Fermented foods have been in the news for all their probiotic properties u2014 and their interesting taste! Naturopath practitioner Dr. Holly Lucille also suggests taking a high-quality probiotic supplement since “”89 percent of our immune system”” is driven by having good microflora in your gut that help battle viruses. For vegetarians or vegans who want the “”good”” bacteria in probiotics| sauerkraut is one of your best nondairy options.

Related: You’ll Want to Make Sleep a Priority After Reading This

| Bone Broth

Clinical and holistic dietitian Esther Blum explains that bone broth is rich in glutamine and glycine| two amino acids that “”help repair cells and heal gut inflammation.”” During the colder months| Esther starts each day with a cup of bone broth and calls it her new “”drug of choice.”” She says it has played a major role in keeping her family healthy and flu-free this year.

| Raw Honey

The phytonutrients in raw honey have Can’t Kick Your Sinus Infection? This Can Help

| Citrus

Vitamin C is the ultimate immunity booster. Instead of taking back a supplement| go straight to the source| and eat fresh citrus u2014 and drinking juice isn’t enough! Enjoy slices of oranges or grapefruit instead since it’s the white skin of the fruit that contains the most flavonoids| which have been linked to increase immune system activity.

| Ginger

If the only time you enjoy ginger is when you’re out for Asian food| it’s time to start incorporating this fresh ginger into your regular diet. Beyond adding a ton of natural flavor to your favorite basic dishes| ginger also has major The Next Best Thing to Having Your Mom Take Care of You When a Cold Hits

You Can Officially Stop Buying Antibacterial Soap For Good

With flu season fast approaching, we don’t blame you for taking every precaution against those rotten, make-you-sick-like-a-dog-for-days germs. So you get busy washing your hands every chance you can with antibacterial soap ¡ª it sounds more effective than regular soap, right? Not true. A new study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy has definitively found no difference in the effectiveness of killing germs between antibacterial and nonantibacterial soap.

In both petri dishes and on human hands, the researchers found that triclosan was only effective at killing bacteria if the microorganisms soaked for over nine hours. And since you won’t be washing your hands for that long, you might as well skip the antibacterial soap. It offers people a false sense of prevention against germs, when really the best thing you can do is to use regular soap with warm water and make sure you’re scrubbing every part of your hand ¡ª back, front, and under fingernails ¡ª for at least 20 seconds (sing the ABCs). Plus, antibacterial soap contains triclosan, which studies have found has been linked to antibiotic resistance, impaired muscle function, and an increase in susceptibility to seasonal allergies. Triclosan could even be a carcinogenic. All the more reason to stick to the regular stuff for good.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

You Can Officially Stop Buying Antibacterial Soap For Good

With flu season fast approaching| we don’t blame you for taking every precaution against those rotten| make-you-sick-like-a-dog-for-days germs. So you get busy washing your hands every chance you can with antibacterial soap ¡ª it sounds more effective than regular soap| right? Not true. A new study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy has definitively found no difference in the effectiveness of killing germs between antibacterial and nonantibacterial soap.

In both petri dishes and on human hands| the researchers found that triclosan was only effective at killing bacteria if the microorganisms soaked for over nine hours. And since you won’t be washing your hands for that long| you might as well skip the antibacterial soap. It offers people a false sense of prevention against germs| when really the best thing you can do is to use regular soap with warm water and make sure you’re scrubbing every part of your hand ¡ª back| front| and under fingernails ¡ª for at least 20 seconds (sing the ABCs). Plus| antibacterial soap contains triclosan| which studies have found has been linked to antibiotic resistance| impaired muscle function| and an increase in susceptibility to seasonal allergies. Triclosan could even be a carcinogenic. All the more reason to stick to the regular stuff for good.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Jenny Sugar

You’ll Want to Make Sleep a Priority After Reading This

There are a lot of consequences to not getting enough sleep, and you can now add getting sick to the ever-expanding list, says a new study.

The weeklong study, which appeared in the journal Sleep, measured the effects sleep had on cold prevention. Researchers infected the common cold virus into 164 healthy men and women who were then quarantined. While under supervision, the participants’ sleep patterns were measured using journals and wearable trackers (much along the lines of a Fitbit or Jawbone).

While it’s not completely surprising, the individuals who got less sleep were more likely to get sick. The stats are, however, a bit alarming: 39 percent of participants who slept six hours or less each night came down with colds. While it’s still uncertain as to why this is, researchers seem to think that individuals who don’t get enough sleep show higher signs of inflammation. The takeaway? Sleep is important, so aim to hit an average of seven hours each night. Besides cold prevention, getting enough sleep can curb stress, ward off weight gain, and help with mental clarity.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

You’ll Want to Make Sleep a Priority After Reading This

There are a lot of consequences to not getting enough sleep| and you can now add getting sick to the ever-expanding list| says a new study.

The weeklong study| which appeared in the journal Sleep| measured the effects sleep had on cold prevention. Researchers infected the common cold virus into 164 healthy men and women who were then quarantined. While under supervision| the participants’ sleep patterns were measured using journals and wearable trackers (much along the lines of a Fitbit or Jawbone).

While it’s not completely surprising| the individuals who got less sleep were more likely to get sick. The stats are| however| a bit alarming: 39 percent of participants who slept six hours or less each night came down with colds. While it’s still uncertain as to why this is| researchers seem to think that individuals who don’t get enough sleep show higher signs of inflammation. The takeaway? Sleep is important| so aim to hit an average of seven hours each night. Besides cold prevention| getting enough sleep can curb stress| ward off weight gain| and help with mental clarity.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / THEM TOO

This Is the Next Best Thing to Having Your Mom Take Care of You When a Cold Hits

Having a Thai immigrant mother made my childhood a little different than most of my friends’. In my home, the rice cooker was on 24/7, wearing shoes inside was a huge offense punishable by grounding, and if I was sick, my mom always turned to her expansive cabinet of mystery herbs. When I was younger, my American-born dad would look at her cautiously as she mixed up her treatments. “Why can’t we just give her some Tylenol?” he would insist.

Back then, I hated my mother’s herbal concoctions; most were bitter and came along with too much coddling and detailed explanations of each herb she used. As an adult, I crave the comfort of her blends and all the healing powers that seem to come from them ¡ª?none more so than her fresh ginger-lemongrass tea. It’s a surefire way to clear up congestion or a sore throat, ease aches and pains, and soothe an upset tummy. It also brings along with it the gentle and persistent love that only a mother can provide.

From Michele Foley, POPSUGAR Fitness

Ginger Tea

Notes

For an extra kick of endorphins, add a teaspoon of chili powder to the mix.