Scratchy throat and blocked ears? Runny nose and body aches? The cold and flu season can strike down the best of us. But the more you’re prepared for it, the better you’ll fare.

With that in mind, here are some of the symptoms to look out for, as well as some preventative tips to get you and your family through the colder months.   

Snoring

One of the main culprits of snoring is mucus build up. And one of the most common times you can experience this mucus is when you’re suffering from a cold or the flu.

Congestion in your nose and throat can cause the airways to be blocked. The good news? If you’re snoring because of mucus build up, your situation is only temporary, and there are some easy fixes that can help you out.

The first thing you should do is chat with your local pharmacist or GP. They can best advise you on which over-the-counter medications you or your children can use, such as a nasal decongestant that will help thin and loosen excess mucus.

To help ease the symptoms, you could also try cutting down on dairy for the time being, drinking more water to keep the fluids up, or limiting your caffeine/alcohol intake.  

Blocked ears

If you find yourself hit with a common cold or the flu, there’s a good chance your ears will be blocked too. This means you likely have a Eustachian tube blockage – which isn’t just frustrating, but often painful and unpleasant.

When you have a build up of mucus and wax in your ears, it’s important to look into treatment as soon as you can, otherwise you can risk getting an ear infection.

The first thing you might want to try is a gentle ear wax removal product such as Audiclean. This will help you fight wax build-up and infection and keep your ears in a healthy condition. You can also take over-the-counter medications and pain relievers, but it’s best to chat to your pharmacist first about which ones are right for you.

At home, you can try the Valsalva manoeuvre, which can help relieve pain and stuffiness. Simply take a deep breath, pinch your nose and with your mouth closed, gently attempt to exhale through your nose – until you hear a “pop”. Just don’t exhale too hard!

Another simple and helpful home remedy is inhaling steam through your nose, either in the shower or from a bowl full of hot water. This can help thin and loosen mucus, as well as break down earwax that’s causing clogging.   

Sore throat

Painful, itchy and irritable – a sore throat is one of the main symptoms of cold and flu. Even if it’s not serious enough to see a doctor, it’s still painful and can keep you up all night. Luckily, there are many natural home remedies you can use that will help relieve the symptoms and even speed up the recovery process.

 

Good remedies to start with include:

  • Honey – either mixed in tea or taken on its own
  • Gargling warm salt water
  • Chamomile tea
  • Diluted peppermint oil sprays
  • Gargling baking soda
  • Fenugreek tea
  • Marshmallow root tea
  • Liquorice root mixed with water
  • Gargling apple cider vinegar with water

Prevention is the best cure

Cold and flu viruses are extremely contagious. They can contaminate your nose, hands, fingers, eyes and skin, as well as the objects and surfaces around you. It’s no surprise that picking up a cold or flu is extremely easy.

Fortunately, there are ways you can minimise your chances of getting sick. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Limit your contact with cold sufferers, particularly during the first three days of their illness.
  • Always wash your hands after coming into contact with cold sufferers, and keep your fingers away from your eyes and nose.
  • Keep your distance from people sneezing and coughing in your direction.

If you end up getting sick, make sure you keep your hands clean and cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough. You don’t want people around you, especially kids or the elderly, to get sick as well.

Finally, one of the most important things to consider is getting a flu shot. It’s available every year and can usually be administered by your local GP or pharmacy. You can find out more information about this on the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Stay healthy this cold and flu season

The cold and flu season is harsh and indiscriminate. No matter how healthy you might feel during the colder months, it can still sneak up on you and bring you down.

If you find yourself suffering from any of the above symptoms, it’s best to treat them as soon as you can. Colds and flus are contagious and in this instance, sharing is not caring. Stay at home and get well!

Of course, if your cold and flu symptoms simply don’t give up, it’s best to see your local GP right away.

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