5 ways to make your cold or flu a little less miserable

While there are no surefire cures that’ll get you back on your feet in a jiffy, here's what you can do to find relief if you fall sick this cold and flu season.
(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Cold and flu season rears its ugly head, relentlessly, every year. While minor compared to some afflictions, this familiar mini-tragedy reduces even the toughest of us to sniveling, sniffing messes at times. While there are no surefire cures that'll get you back on your feet in a jiffy, there are ways to find some relief if you do fall sick this cold and flu season.

Get your nutrients and minerals

You can't expect your immune system to be strong and help you get over your cold or flu if you aren't feeding your body well, so make sure you're eating even though your appetite may be low. Insoluble dietary fibre (also known as roughage — think of many fruits, veggies, legumes and grains) plays a role in helping maintain your immune system according to a study published in the journal Nature. Load your grocery cart (or order that organic produce delivery) with a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables so that you get your daily requirements of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E.

Work out

As long your symptoms are above the neck (as in runny nose, sneezing or a dry cough, for example), you're generally good to go in terms of getting some exercise. Being in fit and (otherwise) healthy condition helps boost your immune system, so rather than put your workouts on hold think about working up a little sweat. Of course, listen to your body—if your chest is congested or your muscles ache, then rest up rather than hit the gym.

Stay home if you're sick

Speaking of rest! Aside from helping to limit the spread of your cold or flu (Health Canada recommends staying at home if you experience flu symptoms until you're no longer feeling ill), everyone from your mom to the Mayo Clinic suggests that resting is the best way to get over a cold. And shortening the length of your illness is the best way to start feeling better ASAP!

Slurp up that chicken soup

Any soup or beverage will do you good when you're down with a cold. But more than just being a comfort food, chicken soup in particular has been found in some studies to be especially beneficial. The combination of ingredients has been seen to be helpful, while another study points to chicken soup being better at boosting the movement of mucus in nasal passages.

Try drinking golden milk

This (downright trendy) super-drink, made mainly of warmed milk steeped with turmeric, is reportedly helpful for relieving cold and flu symptoms. It is believed that turmeric is helpful for colds as it contains a chemical called curcumin that decreases inflammation. While the benefits of using turmeric to feel better aren't backed by a scientific research study yet, at the very least, the hot liquid is hydrating, makes your blood vessels dilate, which gets blood flowing, which in turn helps mucus get flushed out.