There’s a lot to love about winter but the onset of the cold and flu season isn’t among them.

That’s why it is important to know how to knock those pesky bugs on the head fast so you can focus on enjoying the footy season, roast dinners and hearty soups, hot chocolates and sitting around the fireplace.

Taking fast, appropriate action at the first sign of feeling unwell goes a long way toward minimising the length of time you feel sick, as well as the severity of the illness.

But what exactly is the right course of action to help you recover from illness fast?

Read on …  

Call your doctor

The pandemic years are a stark reminder that there are some particularly nasty respiratory diseases.

Whatever your concern, it’s always best to be checked out by your GP.

This helps to ensure nothing more sinister has manifested and that you are merely suffering from a common cold or flu. 

Your doctor will then advise you on the best remedies and if necessary prescribe medication to have you back on your feet in no time.


Getting as much quality sleep as possible is one of the most important things you can do to minimise the effects of a winter lurgy and recover from illness as quickly as possible.

That means calling in sick from work and getting some serious rest.

You’ll be fit and firing sooner and no-one at the office wants your germs anyway.

Curling up on the couch with a good book or binge watching your favourite series is one thing but there’s no substitute for sleep.

That’s when your body can really go to work on fighting the viral invaders and sending them packing.

Go to bed earlier, sleep in later and squeeze in a nap or two during the day for good measure.

If you’re suffering from congestion, try the following:

  • take a hot shower before bedtime 
  • use a humidifier or vaporiser to moisten the bedroom air
  • prop yourself up with a second pillow to help keep your nasal passages open.

Drink plenty of water

It sounds logical but most people forget to increase their fluid intake when they are sick.

When fighting a virus, people tend to lose hydration through sweating, vomiting or diarrhoea.

Replacing those fluids is critical to help your body flush out the bad guys.

When it comes to fluid intake, you can’t beat water but soups, broths and cups of tea are also good.

Steer clear of alcohol which will have the opposite effect of dehydrating you.

Eat well

Your body is an engine.

If you put cheap oil in a car motor, you’ll lose performance and the same principles apply when you are trying to recover from illness.

  • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables which are rich in the nutrients that will heal your body.
  • Chicken soup for colds is not just an old wives’ tale. Cooked chicken is a great source of cysteine, an amino acid that helps break up mucus.
  • Curries and spicy foods containing chilli and cayenne pepper also help clear out sinus congestion. And they are choc full of anti-virals and anti-bacterials which make them ideal fodder when you are under the weather.
  • You can supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals and herbs to help give your body a helpful push in the right direction. Think Vitamin C, Vitamin D, echinacea, selenium, zinc, ginger, garlic and turmeric which all boast a vast range of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-viral properties.
  • If you lose your appetite, try to get the nutrients you need by making a healthy smoothie or juice some fruits and vegetables. Your body needs this nourishment to fight your infection.
  • While ice cream and other sugary delights might sound tempting, it’s important to reduce your sugar intake when you are unwell.  That’s because sugar acts as an inflammatory agent. It may also restrict the ability of your white blood cells to ward off infection.

Use over-the-counter medications

There is no shortage of products readily available to ease your cold and flu symptoms. They may also help you stop spreading your germs.

These include:

Pain relievers – to reduce headaches, fevers and muscle aches

Cough suppressants – to ease a painful, dry cough

Decongestants – to reduce sinus pain by helping to open up nasal passages

Expectorants – which help loosen mucus 

Antihistamines – specifically for allergies but may also help relax you when trying to sleep

Be sure to always read directions carefully and throw out boxes of medications that have passed their expiry date. 

Avoid combining medications unless you have checked with your doctor or pharmacist that it is safe to do so.

Gargle with salt water

Doing this at the first sign of a sore throat is a great way to both soothe your pain as well as preventing germs from replicating.

It is also a good habit to get into during the winter months, acting as a shield against developing coughs and colds.

Book an appointment

While all of the above are great ideas to help reduce your symptoms and recover from illness faster, the importance of booking an appointment with your GP cannot be understated.

This should always be your first line of defence against any respiratory disease.

A common cold may be easily dismissed but complications can arise.

Ensure you book an appointment if:

  • Your symptoms last longer than two weeks
  • Your symptoms worsen or you encounter new symptoms, potentially indicating a secondary infection.
  • You have a sore throat or fever higher than 37.8C for longer than three days or if your temperature rises above 39.4C
  • You are suffering intense chest pain or shortness of breath

Don’t delay and book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.