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Nip your cold in the bud

According to the Federal Statistical Office, members of the working population are sick three times a year on average. But it's not always necessary to head for the doctor's office, because good prevention, combined with some basic remedies, will see you through virtually any budding cold.

How to prevent colds
  • Hand washing: Wash your hands regularly in order to reduce the risk of catching viruses or bacteria.
  • Sleep: Be sure to get between seven and eight hours of sleep. You need deep sleep in order to recover fully, because this is when your defences regain their strength.
  • Stress: Avoid stress. Long-term stress situations will weaken the immune system and make your body more susceptible to the flu.
  • Exercise: Make exercise part of your daily routine, by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, for example. Furthermore, exercising outdoors will strengthen the immune system and supply the body with vitamin D, which is essential for maintaining bodily functions.
Natural remedies against colds
  • Drink lots of fluids: Drinking warm unsweetened tea is ideal during the cold season because it not only warms the body from the inside but also compensates for lost fluids. Flavours such as ginger, elderberries and linden blossoms stimulate perspiration and help you to fight off pathogens. Drinking sage tea or warm milk with honey helps to loosen phlegm and ease coughing.
  • Balanced diet: Supply your body with plenty of vitamins and minerals, also while you have a cold. You can get vitamin C from kiwis, oranges and grapefruit. Carrots supply you with beta-carotene, and you can get your vitamin E from nuts. Trace elements such as selenium and zinc are found in eggs, cheese, meat and fish. Chicken bouillon, on the other hand, has an antibacterial effect, helps reduce inflammation, and supplies you with plenty of fluids and salt.
  • Nasal douche: A nasal douche is a good alternative to nose sprays. The lukewarm saltwater disinfects the nose, loosens phlegm and helps you breathe deeply.
  • Baths: A flu bath with ethereal oils (e.g. eucalyptus, menthol) relaxes the body and opens up the respiratory tract. In the case of a fever, however, taking a bath is not a good idea because it puts additional stress on the body and will thus delay recovery.
Rule of thumb: If your flu lasts for more than a week, we recommend that you see a doctor, just to make sure it's nothing serious.
 

sante24 – your health advice helpline
The doctors and medical staff of sante24 are there to offer you expert advice – in four languages, around the clock, 365 days a year. Advice is free for anyone insured with SWICA.

 

26.11.2014


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