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How to Practice Self Care When You're Sick

By Sara Butler

Cold and flu season is right around the corner. You can anticipate that no matter how hard you try to stay healthy, there's a good chance you'll feel under the weather at some point. When that happens, you need a plan -- a plan that can help you to recover quickly. Here are some self-care tips for sick days you can keep in mind if you ever need them.

When It's a Cold

Nasal congestion, a cough, runny nose, fatigue, and sneezing -- it's probably a cold. The common cold is not serious in most cases, but there are a few things you can do to care for yourself, such as:

  • Take a warm bath or shower - The steam will help to loosen up mucus and help it drain. Gently blow your nose with a tissue as you need to.
  • Stay hydrated - Make sure to drink plenty of fluids when you're sick. Water is great but clear, warm liquids such as herbal tea and chicken broth will also help clear up your stuffy nose.
  • Rest - You should increase the amount of sleep and rest you get while you're feeling unwell.

As mentioned, colds aren't usually serious. But if you have congestion that lasts for more than two weeks, symptoms that don't go away after about 10 days, problems breathing, pain in your face, a cough that produces yellow or green mucus, or a severely sore throat, then you need to seek medical attention. It might be a more serious condition.

A Viral Infection

Viral infections can cause abdominal cramps, fever, vomiting, and nausea. These symptoms can last a few hours or a few days, but generally, it's a miserable illness to have. When this happens to you, care for yourself by:

  • Trying to drink water to prevent hydration but don't eat or drink until your stomach as settled
  • Avoid certain foods until the symptoms pass such as spicy or highly seasoned food, fried foods, fatty food, greasy food, and dairy products
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine until you're better

You should seek help from a medical professional if you have a viral infection that leaves you unable to eat or drink for more than one day, you are vomiting for more than two to three days, you vomit blood, you are experiencing symptoms of dehydration such as lightheadedness, or you have a medical condition that can be severely impacted by lack of food and drink such as diabetes.

Taking care of yourself when ill is important if you want to recover completely and be at your best. So take the time to really care for yourself!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Greenwood Village, Colo.

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