Tips for feeling better
- Drink lots of liquids, about 8-12 glasses of fluid a day to hydrate your mucous membranes. Water, Juice, Soup, Jell-O, Ice Pops and Herbal Tea are great choices. The steam from hot beverages helps open your airways and soothes your irritated throat. AVOID: Soda, Carbonated Drinks, Caffeine, and Alcohol
- Moisten your airways by taking a steamy shower or using a hot steam vaporizer. Clean the vaporizer daily with a mild vinegar solution so germs are not added to the air.
- Your body may require more sleep than usual. Now is not the time to pull all- nighters! A nap could help you balance late study hours. Try getting to bed earlier. If you feel up to it, mild to moderate physical activity is okay, but be sure to drink more fluids.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough and remember to wash your hands frequently.
- For nasal congestion, try a salt water (Saline) nose spray. Try spraying each nostril several times a day, even as often as every 2 hours if you need to. Try another brand if you feel the one you chose burns or stings.
- Salt water gargles (1/2 teaspoon salt in 8 ounces of warm water) or throat lozenges several times a day can help soothe your scratchy, itchy or painful throat.
Using over the counter remedies
- For fever or aches and pains, Tylenol (acetaminophen) or any brand of Ibuprofen can be taken. Ibuprofen should be taken with some food in your stomach. Be sure to follow the dosing and warning directions carefully. Usually only two tablets are recommended at one time. To prevent Reye’s Syndrome, don’t use aspirin if you are under twenty years old.
- For a stuffy nose, try a medicated nasal spray (oxymetazoline HCl .05%) - Brand Names include Afrin, Vicks Sinex, or Neo-Synephrine. Look for a 12-hour formula. Use 2 sprays in each nostril every 12 hours for no more than 3 days. Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) if needed. Some people may experience sleeplessness, nervousness or dizziness with pseudoephedrine. For dosing instructions and precautions, read the package directions carefully.
- For chest congestion and to thin secretions, try guaifenesin (Mucinex). Guaifenesin should not be used for a cough or chest congestion caused by asthma or wheezing.