With all the gifts to buy and wrap, flights to catch, and parties to attend, getting sick before the holidays is probably the last thing on your to-do list. It's not the Grinch you have to worry about stealing Christmas, it's catching that nasty winter cold and missing the festivities! So, if you don’t want to spend your time celebrating under a bajillion blankets with only a box of tissues for company, you will definitely want to familiarize yourself with sneaky signs you’re getting sick.
It seems like colds become a lot more frequent in the wintertime. The end of year can be a super stressful time and stress can suppress your immune system. The sudden change in weather, and the plunging temperatures, can make you feel like you’re about to come down with something awful. It’s time to be extra vigilant, and break out that hand sanitizer, because no one wants to spend their vacay laid up, sipping broth instead of eggnog. ‘Tis the season to drink a ton of fluids, take extra vitamins like Zinc and C, and get plenty of rest so you can fight any bug that might come your way. You want to be the picture of health (and hottttttness) when the time comes to kiss your crush under the mistletoe. Thankfully, if you stay aware of these signs this December, you can fend off spending time sniffling like Tiny Tim.
You might have caught a cold if you are experiencing these symptoms:
If your nose has a mind of its own, and people are saying "bless you" so much you'd think the Pope was around, then sorry to tell you, but you probably are coming down with something. Be sure to cover your mouth next time you sneeze because you might be passing the germs along to others with every ah-choo!
Are you hogging the tissues? Do you have a nose as red as Rudolph himself? I hate to tell you, but it's probably not allergies. If your nose is like a faucet and is running clear and watery, then a sore throat and congestion are not far behind. You have cold my friend, and it's time to have that '80s movie marathon and make some soothing tea.
Sore Throat or Coughing
If a steamy shower and a Ricola or two hasn't helped with the hacking, be wary. A sudden acute cough means you're probably gearing up to fight a virus. Coughs are our bodies' way of healing themselves, clearing the upper airways and throat to help with infections brought on by cold or flu. Drink plenty of fluids to help, and break out that humidifier!
Muscle Aches And Pains
If it hurts to move — that tough gym class might not be entirely to blame. If the soreness sticks around for a few days that could be a sign of the flu. Start taking some medicine for the pain, like ibuprofen, drinking plenty of fluids, reducing your stress, and getting lots of sleep and you will probably start to feel better. Phew!
Whether you're wearing so many layers you've basically cocooned yourself, or "Is it hot in here or just me?" is no longer a pick up line, but a genuine concern — then it's probably time to take your temperature. A low fever can go hand in hand with a cold coming on. It's not worth rallying for happy hour if you've got these symptoms, you don't want to push yourself and make things worse.
Sometimes a cool cloth on the forehead or popping some ibuprofen just doesn't cut it when it comes to scaring off a headache. Unfortunately, this pain can be a symptom of the cold and flu, or a sinus infection. Relaxing in a dark room can help ... or there is always stuffing your face with gingerbread (though not as of yet a medically proven treatment)!
Feeling stuffed up can slow you down big time. To clear that congestion before getting on a plane to visit your folks, try using a saline spray for your nose, and inhaling steam two to four times a day. If that doesn't work, a dose of decongestant can help dry you out. You don't want impaired smell and taste to keep you from experiencing those tasty holiday flavors!
If peppermint bark no longer tempts you and the frosted cookies your coworker made hold no appeal — a cold might be on its way. Decrease in appetite can be part of our body's inflammatory response. It may help conserve energy to fight the virus, and can also be affected by a stuffy nose lessening our smell and taste. But, the old adage holds true, we need to "feed a cold," so we consume calories enough to help with the healing process and boost our immune symptom.
Are the winter blues turning into flat out exhaustion? If you'd rather slump around the house in your PJs than going to your friend's karaoke holiday bash — you might be ill. Your body is telling you to slow down so it can fight the infection. The common cold is highly contagious so you are not doing any favors by going into work. Put on your warmest, fuzziest pajamas and take a nap. A little chicken soup wouldn't hurt either, 'cause baby, it's cold outside!
Wishing you a happy healthy holiday season!