This time of year, thousands of Americans are suffering from the common cold. Fevers are a norm, draining sinuses happen each and every day – worse in the chillier temps – and body aches are a regular occurrence. It’s flu season, meaning these symptoms are steadily making their way throughout the population. And while many take precautions to fight off a cold before it can strike, not everyone comes out as a clear winner. Flu shots don’t prevent against every strand, and virtually everyone we come in contact with is spreading some type of germ. Whether or not the germs are bad, when one does strike, it’s less than pleasant.
But can these frequent flu symptoms add to body aches? While some colds specifically come with these additional pains, they can also create and build upon aches over time. To the point that additional symptoms trigger these previous ailments – even years down the line.
However, it also depends on the type of cold. While some symptoms focus their attention toward a dry throat or cough, others look toward achy muscles or swollen joint pains. The latter, however, just may be the worst side effect of all. When already sore joints gain additional pressure, the pain continues to intensify, until everyday movements become a struggle. These levels will certainly reduce as the cold subsides, but swollen joints are difficult to heal completely, especially in colder weather.
How to Ease Cold-Induced Pains
When these symptoms strike, it’s best to nip them in the bud as soon as possible. Combined with proper rest and fluid intake, and you can beat the offending virus in no time. Talk to your doctor, take plenty of vitamins or other immune system boosting substances, or look to other natural cures. Everyone reacts differently to strains of sicknesses, and it’s best to explore different treatment options in order to find the best results. This can mean rest, medicines, or even the foods you eat.
No matter the chosen path for wellness, however, remember to:
- Stay warm – look to hot fluids, warm baths or showers, and plenty of blankets to regulate your body temperature. And the warmer your joints, the lower their chance at becoming inflamed.
- Take cold medicines with pain relief – though many over the counter options are great for stopping a plugged nose, not all relieve head or muscle aches. Remember to opt for this added feature to feel your best.
- Try a steam bath – though the above mentions staying warm, a steam bath will combine heat with the ability to clear one’s sinuses. This can increase oxygen flow throughout the body, which can help reduce pressure on muscles and joints.
- Stay active – though walking or moving throughout the house may be the last activity on your mind, it can greatly reduce pains. By keeping muscles “warm” they have a harder time becoming still or brittle (which causes pains).
- Stretch – an alternative to taking a walk (even when inside the house), stretching loosens the muscles with minimal movement. It’s also an easy way to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing, even when suffering from a cold.
- Check your posture – pains can actually be increased by laying in an awkward position. Be sure you’re back is supported and not cutting off muscles or limbs from circulation. This double check in fluid movement will lubricate the joints and reduce growing pains. [Web MD]
During cold and flu season, it’s common for patients to come down with all types of symptoms – including aches and pains. Whether located in the muscles or joints, this additional pressure can only add to the discomfort that is feeling crummy. The next time these temperature or virus-induced aches come along, remember to follow the above to keep joints and muscles pain-free.