Cough, body aches, sore throat, runny nose– yes, it’s that time of year again. Cold and flu season is here, and after a long holiday season full of travel and excess food, our immune systems are vulnerable. Every year, more than 62 million cases of the common cold are reported in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and as many as 24 million people report suffering from a sore nose.While there are steps you can take to alleviate the discomfort associated with a cold and flu—drink plenty of hot liquids, keep facial tissues on hand at all times and get plenty of rest. Frequently we find ourselves jaded by the newest remedies or we spend extensive amounts of money on prescriptions that run out before we know it. When it comes to the quickly onset cold or flu, we need to go back to the basics for a quick fix. At the first sign of a cold or flu this season, turn to the tips below to help relieve your symptoms and save you time and money too!
1. Sore, scratchy throat?A sore throat can stop you in your tracks, but luckily there are simple home remedies to ease the discomfort. Gargling with a mix of water and salt can help reduce swelling and relieve the discomfort of a sore throat. Using a humidifier at night will help soothe swollen passages and keep the soreness at bay. At work, keep a box of herbal tea at your desk to help coat your raw throat and get you through the day. Don’t have throat lozenges on hand? Pop hard candy. The candy encourages the flow of saliva and will help lubricate your throat and ease the pain.2. Serious case of chapped lips?Provide some relief from harsh winds and dry air by applying petroleum jelly to your lips at night. One simple application before you go to sleep every night will keep your lips moisturized throughout the day. Lip balm, moisturizer or any unscented medicated lotion will work just as well. Staying hydrated is also key: drinking eight glasses of water every day will help keep your body and lips hydrated, and will help prevent dry, chapped lips. When outdoors, protect your lips from harsh weather and wind by covering them up with a scarf.MORE FROM BETTY: Read How to Shop, Live Well And Save This Year3. Suffering from a sore, runny nose?Keep facial tissue on hand at all times. Germs spread easily, and nobody wants to share a cold. According to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, colds are often spread through coughs and sneezes so it’s recommended that you cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Using Kleenex brand facial tissue, the only tissue with Sneeze Shield technology in all of their tissues, can help keep stuff off hands and in the tissue. If you know someone who’s coming down with a cold, you can even send a Kleenex brand Share Pack for free online for a limited time while supplies last. Everyone who sends a Share Pack will receive a free sample of new Kleenex Cool Touch tissue, the only tissue that soothes a sore nose on contact, and they can track the chain of sharing they’ve inspired via an interactive map.4. Experiencing dry, cracked hands?To avoid painful, dry and cracked hands prevalent during the winter months, make sure a bottle of hand relief or moisturizer becomes a staple accessory. You can also use at home remedies, such as an olive oil bath or petroleum jelly, to prevent dry hands. For the olive oil bath, fill a bowl with water and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil, soak your hands for 10 minutes and rinse. For the petroleum jelly, simply cover your hands with petroleum jelly and a pair of gloves before bedtime. Voila!MORE FROM BETTY: Spring Wardrobes for Curvy Figures5.Suffering from a stiff neck?Relax! One of the easiest ways to ease a stiff neck is to lie down and relax the muscles. You can also release tension naturally by keeping pure tea tree oil on hand. Dab a dime-sized amount of tea tree oil on the affected area and massage into the skin. You can also use ice to numb the pain and decrease inflammation or heat to soothe the area and increase circulation. Whether you use ice or heat, be sure to use them for 10 minute increments at a time. Too much of either can cause additional pain.Tell us: do you have tips or remedies you use when you’re sick with a cold?