You’ve been sneezing and wheezing all day and, therefore, desperate for some relief, no matter how you get it. Then starts the act of playing the doctor, feeling convinced that you’ll probably stumble upon something that could make the sickness go away in a jiffy. While you could get lucky in the process and find a cure for your nasty cold or cough, you can also end up prolonging your misery.
What sick people don’t realize is that most diseases, such as a cold, are self-limiting. Our bodies are built naturally to get rid of an infection. Cold and flu are just symptoms, but we aren’t getting rid of the actual virus that is causing it. In simpler words, there’s nothing you can do to make the virus just disappear. But, if you aren’t careful, the self-prescribed medicines might cause the symptoms to stay for a longer time, putting you in distress.
Here are four things most sick people do when they are under the weather.
1) Blowing Your Nose Really Hard
Blowing your nose might seem like the obvious, instant fix when the snot is flowing. While it might give you temporary relief, draining the schnoz might cause some long-term problems.
When you blow your nose vigorously, you tend to propel the nasal fluid back into the sinus cavity. This fluid is laden with viruses and bacteria that can cause an infection when it enters your sinuses. If you’re struggling to breathe, go ahead and blow your nose but take care not to squeeze the nostrils while doing so. This could reduce the amount of fluid that finds its way to your sinuses.
2) Overloading On Medicines
So, that one antihistamine was of no help? Why not take another? How about adding a paracetamol to relieve that headache?
Most people do not the actual time a medicine takes to show its effects. Some medicines take 30 minutes to an hour to kick in. But as sick people are impatient to feel better, they feel that popping more pills would be a better idea for faster relief. However, when you overload on these meds, you could develop a whole new set of symptoms or worsen the existing ones. For example, taking too much of a pain reliever such as paracetamol could lead to a skin reaction and its prolonged use could also damage the liver.
3) Taking Leftover Antibiotics From Your Medicine Kit
There are times that the cold medicines didn’t help and you’re left wondering what to do next? Why not take that leftover antibiotic from a previous illness, right?
Wrong. Do you actually know what that an antibiotic does? Do you know that it only works for bacterial infections and not viral ones such a cough or a cold? Besides, a large dose of antibiotics may make it difficult for the doctor to determine the source of infection and even prevent him/her from prescribing the medicine that is right for you.
4) Not Following The Instructions On The Nasal Spray
When you have a blocked nose, a decongestant nasal spray may be good for quick relief, but only for a short duration. When a person gets a cold, the blood vessels in the nose swell up and block the air passage making it difficult for you to breathe.
If you ignore the label, which normally says not to use it for more than three days, you put yourself at risk for something known as ‘rebound congestion’. With prolonged use of a nasal spray, the drug in it could trigger an inflammation and set your nose back to how it was.
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