New Delhi: We all know how miserable the cold or flu can be - stuffy nose, runny nose, congestion, sneezing, sore throat, cough, fever, watery eyes, etc.
Colds and flu are highly contagious viral infections of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. These are very common and clear up on its own within a week or two. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the average cold lasts seven to ten days.
But when your cold lasts much longer or keeps coming back, it can lead to other health-related complications. While what you eat and how you go about your day can have a huge influence on how long your sickness will last, it's always safe to visit a doctor about any illness or health issue, including colds and flu.
Here are five things that could be the cause of prolonged cold or the flu:
Eating unhealthy foods that are loaded with sugar can slow down the recovery process. Eat nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables - dark leafy greens, chicken soup, garlic to help speed the healing process.
Low on fluids
It's easy to get dehydrated when you're sick. So, drink plenty of water and other fluids to keep your body hydrated, which will help prevent another infection. Most importantly, the lymphatic system needs enough fluids to flush out toxins from the body. Drinking liquid will also help loosen up the mucus in your nose and head. However, avoid coffee, caffeine and other carbonated beverages.
High levels of stress make people more vulnerable to illness as it weakens the immune system. Cortisol - a hormone released in the body when stressed - can weaken the immune system that defends the body against foreign invaders (viruses).
Smoking is another factor that has been shown to prolong the common cold. It contributes to the mucus build-up in your nasal tract.
Lack of sleep can hugely impact your immune system. Your body needs proper rest, especially, to recover as well as fight off the virus.