How to Make Yourself Feel Better (When You're Sick)

Three Parts:Relieving your SymptomsMaking yourself ComfortableResting and Relaxing

When you're sick, you just don’t feel like yourself. For common, acute (short-term) illnesses like the cold and the flu, there some things you can do to make yourself feel better. While you’ll still have to let the illness run its course, you can at least make things a little more bearable.

Part 1
Relieving your Symptoms

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    Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of healthy fluids when you aren’t feeling well—water, juice, etc. This will help to replace any fluids you lose due to your illness, and ease congestion.[1]
    • The amount of fluids you should drink varies from person to person, depending on things like age, climate, level of activity, etc.; drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water or other liquids a day is often recommended as a general guideline.[2]
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    Drink warm beverages and/or soup. Tea, broth or soup can provide relief from a host of symptoms (including coughing, sore throat, and congestion). The warmth will also provide instant comfort.
    • Caffeinated beverages are not the best choice when you are ill, as they can leave you dehydrated.[3]
    • Try herbal teas instead. Chamomile, for example, has a calming, relaxing effect.[4] Echinacea is also a good, time-honored choice—some research shows it can reduce the severity and duration of a cold.[5]
    • Honey added to tea will soothe a sore throat and act as a cough suppressant.[6]
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    Keep the air moist with a humidifier. If the air is dry, running a humidifier or vaporizer can moisten the air, soothing congestion and coughing.[7] Make sure you keep your humidifier clean — a dirty reservoir or filter can breed bacteria and mold which can worsen your symptoms.[8]
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    Blow your nose properly. If you have nasal congestion, don’t make things worse by trying to clear it improperly. Hold one nostril closed and gently blow the other to avoid causing an earache.[9] Wash your hands afterwards.
    • Hot or cold packs around your nostrils are another way to help relieve congestion, as are saline nasal drops and sprays.[10]
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    Soothe a sore throat. If your illness has left you with an aching throat, in addition to drinking warm beverages, try using additional remedies at regular intervals to ease the pain.
    • You can gargle every few hours. Dissolve ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle to find some relief.[11][12]
    • Over-the-counter throat sprays can also provide some relief. Make sure to carefully follow all package directions regarding how much and how often to use.
    • Cough drops, lozenges, ice chips and even hard candies and popsicles can all soothe a sore throat (just don't give them to small children, as they are a choking hazard).[13]
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    Use a neti pot. Neti pots, also known as nasal irrigation, are a system for flushing out your nasal cavities and sinuses when they are congested.
    • Procedure for use varies according to the particular neti pot, but generally it involves tilting your head, breathing through your mouth, carefully letting a sterile saline solution flow out of the neti pot, in one nostril, and out the other.[14][15]
    • Use distilled or sterilized water (don't just use water straight from the tap) and a sterilized pot.[16] Carefully follow all directions that come with your neti pot.
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    Ease general aches and pains. Over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, cold medicines, etc. can help with pains, aches, fevers, etc. Use as directed and heed all warnings. These medicines may help relieve symptoms and make you feel better, but will not end the illness itself.[17]
    • Check with your child's doctor or a pharmacist before giving medications to children.
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    Take an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts can provide soothing relief from body aches and pains, supply you with much-needed magnesium, and have a detoxing effect.[18]
    • Dissolve the Epsom salt in a warm water bath. Follow package directions for how much epsom salt to use per gallon of water.[19] You can also use a bucket or tub to soak just your feet, if you don't feel like taking a bath.
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    See a doctor if you do not improve. Generally, you do not need to see a doctor if you just have a cold, a mild case of the flu, a sore throat, or some other common illness. However, you should pay close attention to your symptoms and the duration of your illness. You should seek medical advice if you notice persistent symptoms or:[20]
    • A cold lasts longer than 10 days
    • A high fever (above 103 °F or 39.5 °C, or above 100 °F or 38 °C for a baby three months or younger) or a fever lasting more than 3 days
    • Trouble breathing (shortness of breath, nonstop coughing, etc.)
    • Drainage from the ear or eyes
    • Severe pain
    • Stiff neck
    • A rash
    • Signs of dehydration (feeling very weak or dizzy, dry mouth, or decreased urination)
    • If you are ever in doubt, seek medical advice.

Part 2
Making yourself Comfortable

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    Let getting better be your top priority. This means canceling any plans you may have made and letting others (like your parents, family, or work) know that you are sick. The more attention you can give to taking care of yourself, the better the chances that you’ll get well soon.
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    Make a space to recuperate. Go wherever you can be comfortable and rest, like a bedroom or living room. If others are around, make sure they can help you rather than disturb you. Have whatever you need to make it through the illness nearby, which can include: blankets or robes to keep warm, a hot water bottle, books to read or movies to watch, fluids to drink, a bucket (if you feel nauseous), etc.
    • If you have a fever, also keep cool, damp cloths at hand. If you feel hot, place one on your forehead or elsewhere for some relief.
    • Avoid smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke.
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    Take a warm shower or bath. The warmth will help soothe you so you will be primed to get comfortable and rest afterwards. Also, the steam moisturizes and soothes your nasal passages, which will make you feel better if you are congested.[21] After the shower or bath, go back to the space you have set up to recuperate and stay warm by covering up with a blanket or robe. Sit back, relax, and stay comfortable.

Part 3
Resting and Relaxing

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    Get lots of sleep. Take frequent naps when you are trying to feel better. Aim for eight to ten hours of sleep per day while you are sick.[22] This helps your body direct energy toward overcoming the illness.
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    Hold off on vigorous exercise. While you are sick, don’t overdo it with physical activity—only engage in moderate exercise such as yoga or walking. The exceptions to this are if you have respiratory problems (coughing, congested lungs, etc.) or a fever and/or body aches, in which case you are best to avoid any exercise whatsoever.[23]
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    Keep activity to a minimum. Try to avoid doing work, surrounding yourself with stress, doing chores, etc. while you are sick. Your goal should be to get better. Do this, and you have a better chance of returning soon to all the things you need or want to do.
    • If you need to keep your mind busy or are bored while convalescing, try some low-activity entertainment, like watching television or reading a book.
    • If you can, ask others to help you with day-to-day tasks, getting meals, etc., or if there is something else that must be taken care of while you are sick.

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Categories: Alternative Health | Home Remedies