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It seems that cold and flu season comes out of nowhere with each season. One minute we’re enjoying the warm fall weather, and the next, everyone in the home is sick with a cold or flu. It can be hard to separate the myths from the facts, but there are some tried and tested remedies that have been shown to work best. Let’s take a look.

P.S. Be sure to keep these remedies in mind as you care for your loved ones this season. Elders, especially, can always use some extra TLC.

What is the best way to blow your nose?

To relieve nasal congestion, close one nostril and blow gently with the other. This avoids earaches and sinus irritation, plus it won’t force mucus back into your sinuses. Taking a decongestant can help clear a stuffy nose.

What is the best way to treat a hacking cough?

A dry, hacking cough is a frustrating symptom to have, and it can linger for weeks. The best way to treat this symptom is to suppress the cough with an OTC medication and place a humidifier in your bedroom to add moisture to the dry air. Gargling with salt water can also bring moisture to your throat and relieve inflammation.

Can orange juice make a cough worse?

You may be tempted to drink juice, but steer clear of orange juice if you have a cough. Citrus juices can irritate your throat and the cough, so it’s best to choose a non-citrus juice or stick to plain or flavored water.

Does Vitamin C really work?

Yes! Vitamin C can help shorten a cold, though not necessarily prevent one. Taking too much Vitamin C isn’t good, either, as it can cause stomach irritation. To shorten the length of your cold, take 2,000mg or less.

Should you eat when you’re sick, even if you’re not hungry?

Absolutely. Your immune system needs to build up its immunity, and it will do this through healthy nutrition. Also, you’re losing fluids through sneezing, coughing or a fever, so it’s important to stay well hydrated to prevent dehydration, which is common during illness.

Are tea and chicken soup effective at soothing symptoms?

You bet. Both warm tea and chicken soup keep your strength up and keep the body hydrated. In fact, some research shows that chicken may reduce inflammation. And, the steam from both help clear the nasal passages and offer some real good-for-you feelings that we could all use when we’re sick.