Secrets to Surviving Sick Days

A cold or flu can strike anytime and getting hit with a bug is not pleasant for anyone. Check out our secrets for sick day care, plus a few immune-boosting tips for keeping bugs at bay!

Feed a cold, starve a fever?

This old wives tale may have stuck around, but if you find yourself forgetting it that’s a-ok. “Starving out” any form of virus doesn’t have much merit, and you’d be missing out on lots of feel-good & immune-boosting foods! Vitamins C and D, Zinc, and probiotics help keep your immune system in top form – think citrus fruits, berries, bell peppers, eggs, fish, lean meats, and fermented foods (such as yogurt, kefir, or kimchi). 


Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Staying hydrated thins mucus, making it easier to cough up and get out of your system (gross, but true). Hydration also helps keep muscle-tension headaches from rearing their ugly heads. Water, herbal teas, juices (in moderation), and even broths are sources of hydration. Broth is a double win, as it is hydrating AND nourishing. If whipping up a pot of chicken soup doesn’t sound so appealing when you’re feeling crummy, consider this easy slow cooker veggie broth recipe your new best friend.

Easing the pain

Unfortunately, being sick can come with dull aches and pains. While these are signs of our bodies fighting off infection, it sure makes being sick even more unpleasant. Utilizing an over the counter pain relief medication will cut the pain out of being sick, though keep in mind that pain relievers won’t actually shorten your sickness time. If you are currently on other medications for blood sugar, blood pressure, etc., check with your care provider before adding anything new to the mix. Always double check any cold or flu meds you are already taking – many often come with pain relievers incorporated, so be careful not to double up! Other feel-good remedies include cool washcloths draped over the eyes and warm showers or baths. Warm water helps relax the body, calms the aches, and temporarily relieves congestion. “Aaaaaahhhhh.”

Slow it down

In a world full of “go,” it sure can be hard to stop. One surefire way to draw out a bug, however, is to not give your body the time it needs to heal. If you are able, give yourself a free pass to have a lazy day (or three). Taking time for rest not only helps to get you well, but also prevents the spread of germs. Try to avoid group environments such as the office, school, or gym during your down time. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor by staying home while you are ill and still contagious – trust us, your coworkers or classmates will thank you.

Struggling to get some solid sleep with the sniffles? Here are some tips to help you drift off soundly.

Try functional foods

Food goes a long way in promoting a robust immune system, but how adding in some functional foods? Herbal remedies, such as elderberry syrup, are thought to help to combat colds and flus while you’re in the throes of illness. Never heard of elderberry syrup? It’s an herbal tonic that some health professionals think might be helpful for flu treatment if taken in the first 72 hours of having symptoms. (There’s real science behind it, too!) Want to give it a try? It is available for purchase here, or you can even make your own! The recipe is simple and will keep in the fridge for 2-3 months, perfect to keep on hand for cold and flu season.

Note: just like any medication or supplement, herbal products may interact with other medications. Check in with your care provider before turning to DIY strategies.

Feeling crummy and not sure what to do? Or maybe you want to support your immune system to help prevent colds in the first place? Chat with us in your Brook app so we can help keep you in top form all season long!

Image of Brook Health Expert Kelsea
Reviewed by Kelsea Hoover, MS, RDN​

on March 10th, 2020. Kelsea is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Health Coaches.