It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s also the time of the year that we can enjoy the cough, chills, aches, and fevers of cold and flu season. When the plague of cold and flu season hits your home, giving your family quick care to treat the symptoms as soon as they appear is the best way to make it tolerable. If you take your patients to your family care providers or an after hours urgent care as soon as they exhibit signs of the illness, they can be given antiviral medication that will significantly reduce the severity and the course of the flu.
Otherwise, here a few ways to help your flu patient cope with their symptoms, at home:
- Stay hydrated. The flu has the tendency to cause dehydration, especially if the patient is experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. Not only does dehydration make you feel like a train wreck, it has serious and even life threatening implications. Try to have your patient drink lots of water, non-caffeinated tea, or juice to stay hydrated. If your family member is having a hard time holding anything down, encourage them to drink small sips at a time.
Take your sick family member to your family care physicians or even an emergency walk in clinic if they exhibit signs of severe dehydration, such as lack of urination for eight hours, dry mouth and eyes, and shriveled skin.
- Make some chicken soup. Scientific studies have shown chicken broth has medical benefits. It provides hydration, and nutrition when you’re having a hard time holding anything down, the sodium content helps relieves nausea, and the steam creates a vapor that relieve congestion. Plus showing your family quick care with homemade chicken soup might be emotionally therapeutic for them.
- Rest and then rest some more. The best thing you can do to encourage your sick family member’s body to fight off the virus itself is to help them rest as much as possible. When they’re doing chores and moving around, the energy that is needed to fight off the illness is going to physical activity instead. Turn Netflix on, and encourage them not to get off the couch!
- Treat the congestion with steam. A good way to unclog blocked airways is with steam. Taking a hot shower sometimes helps. If the congestion is unbearable, boil a pot of water, while the steam is still coming off, have your patient lean over the steam and drape a towel over their head, making a tent so that all steam fills their lungs up and breaks up the mucus. Have them breath in the steam for about 30 seconds. This treatment can be repeated as much as needed.
Another really easy way to give your family quick care with a steam tent is by putting a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil in the boiling water, to invigorate and further disperse the blockage.
Do you have any great tips for treating flu and cold symptoms at home? We want to hear them in the comment section below.