One of the caveats of self-care when fighting off the flu or a severe cold is to stay hydrated. Any medical professional will advise you to get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids, but do you know which fluids will be the most helpful? Find out why you need to up your game in fluid consumption and which fluids are the most, and least, effective in helping you to feel better.
Maintain Your Hydration
Maintaining an adequate level of hydration is essential at all times, whether you are healthy or battling an illness. According to the University of Missouri, the resulting number when you divide your weight in have represents the minimal number of ounces of water that you should be drinking daily. If you engage in an intense workout session, you need to drink an additional 12 ounces of water for every 30 minutes that you work out to replenish fluid that you lose through sweating. Similarly, your body also loses fluid when you are sick. Feverish sweating, vomiting, diarrhea and watery eyes are common ways that fluid is lost during illness. Preventing dehydration will keep your immune cells battle-ready. Drinking certain fluids can serve double duty by also loosening mucous, soothing sore throats and relieving other pesky symptoms that can keep you from getting the rest that your body desperately needs for recovery.
Strive to partake in oral fluid therapy as frequently as you can throughout the day. Some ideal choices for sipping include the following:
- Herbal teas
- Decaffeinated tea
- Clear soups or bouillon
The warmth of the steam as well as the liquid of hot beverages can be effective in opening up your airway passages. There are plenty of natural additives that you can stir into a mug of hot water or tea that may soothe some of your symptoms. Some of these options include the following:
- Unprocessed honey
- Lemon juice
- Grated ginger
- Peppermint leaves
While these stir-ins won't cure your cold or flu, they can make you feel better enough to get some sleep.
Skip These Libations
Some of your preferred drinks can be counterproductive in your quest to recover quickly. Opt out of these libations while you are fighting off a cold or the flu:
- Coffee and other caffeinated beverages
- Alcoholic beverages
- Sports drinks
- Fruit juice
You may want to chase away and numb your suffering, but think twice about that hot toddy and put down the shot glass. Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it will only dehydrate your body even more. Caffeine is also a diuretic, and imbibing caffeinated or alcoholic libations can exacerbate symptoms like headaches and body aches. Additionally, caffeine will only keep you awake, depriving your body of the healing rest that it needs. Beverages that are high in sugar, including fruit juices that don't contain added sugars, can hinder your immune system for several hours after consumption. Furthermore, the acidity of citrus fruit juices can be painful going down sore throats.
Milk Myth Buster
It is often touted that drinking milk or consuming dairy products can increase mucus production. While the dairy substance can coat your throat and evoke the sensation of feeling like you have more mucus or thicker mucous, studies have not confirmed that drinking milk causes an increase in mucus production, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. If you enjoy a glass of milk before bedtime, and if drinking it doesn't make you feel any worse, don't feel that you must avoid milk while you have the flu or a cold.
Knowing which drinks will be helpful toward keeping you hydrated, aiding your immune system and relieving some of the symptoms that are making you miserable is an important step toward getting well as long as you practice what you have learned and drink up. While you're at it, a bowl of therapeutic chicken noodle soup will be comforting too. Feel better!
Contact a medical office like Milford Hospital for more information and assistance.