How to manage cold & flu symptoms

Published October 12, 2022

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No matter how healthy you are, it’s likely you will get a cold or flu at some point. Colds are prevalent, with children getting between five and ten colds a year and adults getting two to four colds each year. Cold symptoms are usually mild and self-limiting.

How to ward off colds and flu?


Good hygiene is a simple, cost-effective way to stay healthy and reduce the risk of catching a bug. Good hygiene involves:

Washing your hands

Wash your hands regularly and properly with soap and water. Handwashing should take between 40-60 seconds and involve soaping and rinsing every surface of your hands. It’s important to wash your hands after touching your nose or mouth, after using the toilet or helping children use the toilet and before handling food. If soap and water is not available use hand sanitiser, for at least 20 seconds.

Respiratory hygiene

When you have an infection, make sure you sneeze and cough into your elbow or tissue (then throw the tissue away immediately and wash your hands) to help contain airborne droplets that can spread the cold or flu virus.

Cleaning surfaces

Clean surfaces such as your computer, phone, remote controls, door handles and communal surfaces like the bathroom sink regularly to get rid of germs.

Keep eating utensils separate

Avoid sharing cups, plates, cutlery and napkins. Wash utensils in hot soapy water and let air dry to remove germs.

Regularly change bed linen and towels

If you can, regularly wash bed linen and towels of the sick people in your home to help remove germs. Also, avoid sharing towels or hand towels with other people and throw disposable tissues and paper towels in the bin immediately after using them.

How to manage cold and flu symptoms

There are measures you can take at home to help manage cold or flu symptoms. These include:


Resting in a warm bed is vital for recovery from cold and flu symptoms. Resting helps your body focus on fighting the infection.

Drinking fluids

Drink plenty of fluids when you are sick with cold or flu to stay hydrated. Water, herbal teas, clear soups and broths all help soothe a sore throat and loosen mucus. Try adding lemon and honey to warm water to help alleviate stuffiness and ease a sore throat.

Eat well

You might not feel like eating with a stuffy head or sore throat, but eating plenty of fruits and vegetables will give you much-needed nutrients to support your immune system. A vegetable broth or juice can also help keep up your fluids when you’re unwell.

Avoid cigarette smoke

Cigarette smoke may exacerbate respiratory symptoms. Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke if possible.

Use a humidifier

Inhaling steam from a hot bath or shower in a closed room can help relieve a blocked nose. Humidifiers can also help.

Soothe your sore throat

If you have a sore throat, try gargling with warm salty water or sucking on a lozenge. Lozenges promote saliva production and can help ease painful throat symptoms.

Herbal support

Herbal medicines can help bring symptomatic relief.


Garlic is used in traditional Western herbal medicine as an expectorant to clear respiratory tract mucous and relieve nasal congestion.  It also helps support healthy immune system function.


Echinacea purpurea can help relieve the symptoms of mild upper respiratory tract infections, reduce the symptoms of common colds and support immune system function.


Vitamin C

Regularly taking vitamin C has been shown to help reduce the severity and duration of common cold symptoms.


There are things we can all do to help stop catching a cold or flu virus, and to help stop their spread. Washing our hands and cleaning surfaces around the home can help stop viral infections and reduce their transmission.


Resting, eating well and staying hydrated can help us manage cold symptoms. You can also find support for common cold symptoms with herbs such as Garlic and Echinacea or nutrients, including vitamin C.



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