We don’t have to worry about mosquitoes this season, but now those other dreaded bugs abound—flu, cold, rotavirus—oh dear!
When you or a member of your family comes down with a nasty virus, it can be hard on everyone. Recovery may also take some time. Once you’re on the mend, how can you help your body recuperate more quickly? The Mayo Clinic and WebMD recommends these steps:
- Eat Simple Foods: If you’ve suffered from the stomach flu or rotavirus, many physicians recommend following the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, apple sauce, and toast. The idea is to eat foods that are easy to digest, so soda crackers, potatoes, and gelatin are also suitable choices.
- Avoid Dairy: Avoid dairy foods (other than yogurt) because the virus that causes the stomach flu can knock out your body’s lactose-absorbing cells that digest milk enzymes. This effectively makes you temporarily lactose intolerant and can lengthen the time your digestive system takes to recover. Also avoid soda, caffeine, alcohol, sugary sports drinks, nicotine, fatty foods, and highly seasoned foods.
- Stay Hydrated: It’s extremely important to stay hydrated. Children can be given rehydration solutions to replace lost electrolytes. Infants should be given plenty of formula or breast milk (you can also talk to your pediatrician for more information).
- Lots of Fluids: Keeping hydrated is also essential when recovering from a cold. Water, juice, tea, warm broth and soup help replace lost fluids. As with the stomach flu, avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Soothe a Sore Throat: Chicken soup has been scientifically proven to help relieve cold and flu symptoms so add this comfort food to your menu. To soothe a sore throat or cough, gargle with warm saltwater or drink warm water with lemon and honey.
- Try Home Remedies: According to mayoclinic.com, there is evidence that taking echinacea when cold symptoms first begin may shorten the duration of a cold and may slightly relieve cold symptoms; zinc lozenges may also help reduce cold symptoms if taken at a cold’s onset. However, zinc nasal spray use is not recommended—some users have lost their sense of smell after using them. Vitamin C may help reduce the duration of a cold, but bear in mind that the acidity in citrus fruits may aggravate a sore throat.
Hopefully these tips will help you and yours if a virus strikes. Hang in there and get well soon!