We already told you how to prevent getting sick this season and how to avoid catching a cold or flu, but not everyone is so lucky, no matter what precautions you may take. If you’ve got the misfortune to have picked up a cold or flu, here’s how to beat it fast so you can get back to work without getting anyone else in the office sick.
1. Rest. I know, I know, you’re super busy and important. None of that matters when you’re sick, because whatever you’d be doing outside of your bed won’t get done well if you have a cold or a flu. Take a day or two to just sleep and see how much better you feel when it’s over.
2. Stay hydrated. This is especially important if you have a stomach bug or are super-congested: If you have the runs or are puking, you’re losing fluid, and if you’re stuffy and congested, drinking lots of water can thin your mucus and make it easier to breathe.
3. Use a humidifier. Dry air in the winter can be a hot bed for germs, and if you’re already not feeling well, it can make you feel worse — if you’re congested and breathing from your mouth especially, since that can be dehydrating. Get one for your room and stay in bed!
4. Use over the counter medicines. Everyone is different. For congestion, you may need an oral as well as a nasal medication, and saline rinses can help. Lozenges will soothe a sore throat. NyQuil and DayQuil are your friends, too. Just be sure to check with your doctor before you use anything if you’re on any kind of prescription medication, since you don’t want any weird interactions.
5. Drink lukewarm liquids. If you have a sore throat, hot tea or an ice pop may feel better in the short-term, but extreme temperatures can actually irritate your throat more and aggravate hoarseness or a cough.
6. Try a salt-water rinse for a sore throat. It tastes awful, but it works.
7. Avoid dairy. If you’re a mucus machine, dairy can make you produce even more, which can aggravate post-nasal drip and coughing.
8. Take a hot shower. It can help loosen up your mucus and will just feel good when you’re shivering. Extra bonus points if you can finish it off with a towel straight from the dryer.
9. Employ menthol. It can help clear your sinuses — try to find body washes with it for your hot shower, or just dab on some Vicks Vapo-Rub.
10. Sleep with an extra pillow. Elevating your head can make it feel less clogged with mucus if you have a cold or flu.
11. Wash your hands, do laundry, and Lysol everything. Don’t give everyone else your germs! Plus, it just feels nice, doesn’t it?
12. Skip contact lenses. When you’re germy, the last thing you want to do is add germs to your eyes. If you’re sick, stick with glasses until you feel better — and when you do, toss any contact lenses you wore when you were under the weather.
13. Toss your toothbrush when you get better. Your mouth is a cesspool. Don’t risk infecting yourself again!