Down with a flu?

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22 Oct 2014 (Mumbai Mirror): Has the cleaning left you with a cold? Here’s how to get better before Diwali


One of the ailments that the festival of lights brings along is dust-related cold as you go about with your annual cleaning routine. Chances are, you and your colleagues will be struck down with sniffles, coughs and sore throats soon. Here are some tried, tested and scientifically proven ways to get rid of your cold.



Painkillers such as ibuprofen, paracetamol and aspirin are the only medication known to treat colds. They come in a huge variety of forms -and the painkiller based cold remedies often come with other ingredients that are supposed to help. But whether youchoose to take a pill, a capsule, a soluble tablet or a hot drink, the thing that’s doing the most good is the painkiller.



That said, decongestants -taken by mouth or up your nose -can help too, relieving that blocked up feeling and clearing out your sinus cavities.Most cold and flu remedy pills and hot drinks will have some kind of decongestant in them. They can give you a bit of a pick-me-up too, which can be helpful during the day -but a nightmare if you want to go to sleep.



Finally, there’s some recent research that suggests taking zinc syrup, tablets or lozenges could speed up recovery and make the symptoms less harsh.


But it’s not a good idea to take that for a long time, because it can have side effects such as vomiting and diarrhoea.



As with any medication, you should always check the box to make sure anything you’re taking for your cold isn’t going to badly interact with any other medication you’re taking. Some antidepressants can react badly when combined with some decongestants. If you’re in any doubt, check with your doctor.



 Your cold is almost certainly caused by a viral infection, and antibiotics will do absolutely nothing to relieve it. What they might do is give you unpleasant side effects and increase the resistance of bugs to antibiotics, so they might not work when you actually do need them.



Inhaling steam can help loosen the mucus in your nose, making it easier to clear by blowing. If you’re at work and can’t get away with having a bowl of hot water on your desk, chemists sell inhalators.While they’re essentially just big plastic jugs with a mouthpiece - they’re almost as good as a bowl, and much less complicated.


For your sore throat you could suck on menthol sweets or gargle with salt water.


When you’ve got a cold, you sweat a lot and have a runny nose -so if you don’t replace those fluids, you’ll just feel worse. Drink plenty of fluids.Eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables -but that’s pretty much true whether you have a cold or not.


And for goodness sake, wash your hands and sneeze into a tissue. Keep it to yourself.



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