Falling sick doesn’t just feel bad, it can totally disrupt your life, and often when you don’t have time for it! Unfortunately, sickness can’t always be avoided. Even with our best efforts to dodge illnesses, we might still end up catching a bug, or falling under the weather. The good news is, we can take certain steps to help us recover more quickly. Here is what to do when you’re feeling sick or rundown:
What to do when you feel sick
Understand when you should see a doctor.
First, you should have a good understanding of when you need to take yourself to the hospital or clinic. While it’s true that many mild illnesses only require bed rest, hydration, and good nutrition for recovery, there might be cases where you would need more care and attention. Consult your doctor for better advice on what to do when you feel sick.
Take the day off
The moment you feel yourself feeling under the weather, you should aim to get adequate rest. Don’t force yourself to do more work! Yes, we’re giving you the permission to call in sick at work, skip going to gym, and cancel other activities you have planned. While this can be challenging, by taking time out from your everyday activities, you’re effectively keeping friends, family, loved ones, and colleagues safe from potentially getting sick through you.
Load up on sleep
Good quality sleep can really aid in your recovery (1, 2). Quality sleep allows the body to rejuvenate and power through any sickness. If you’re wondering what to do when you feel sick, remember to get as much shuteye as you can.
Drink plenty of fluids
We tend to lose a lot of water when we’re sick through vomiting, sweating, and diarrhea to name a few (2, 3). It’s important to keep ourselves hydrated, so that our body functions normally while we’re sick. On top of that, we also need to be constantly hydrated to flush toxins out of our body.
Needless to say, you need to make sure you’re eating properly when you feel the slightest hint of falling sick or have already fallen sick. But, what types of food do you eat when sick? Lay off that bag of potato chips. Instead, opt for broth-based soups, aromatic foods, herbal tea, fresh fruits, and even some garlic to fight off sickness (4, 5).
Supporting immunity with supplementation
Besides knowing what food to eat when sick, taking vitamins when you feel under the weather can help provide support for your immune system. However, always consult your doctor before taking any medication or supplements.
Here’s a list of some vitamins and minerals that might be helpful in getting you back up on your feet:
Zinc supports the immune system by playing a role in the development and function of immune cells (6). People suffering zinc deficiency have increased susceptibility to infections (6).
Iron is important for the proliferation of immune cells (7).
*Iron should only be taken if prescribed by your doctor.
Astaxanthin helps modulate immune response, and protects against malignant growths (8).
Ashwagandha supports the immune system by acting as an adaptogen that helps the body's resilience to stress (9). It also improves cell-mediated immunity.
Studies have shown that some strains of probiotics help modulate the immune system. They are of special importance for the intestinal immune system, affecting the growth of immune cells (10).
B vitamin deficiency has been reported to possibly affect the body's immune system. B12, specifically, helps support cellular immunity (11).
Vitamin C supports the immune system by playing a role in the production and function of immune system cells (12).
Vitamin D plays a role in modulating one's immune response. Vitamin D supplementation may help boost various immune cells (13).
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil play a role in the activation of immune system cells (14).
These nutrients and minerals help improve the immune system, aid in energy production, and help keep the body running in tip-top shape.
The first step in answering the question of “what to do when you feel sick” is to prevent your condition from getting worse. You can do this by getting adequate rest and sleep, hydrating, and eating healthy foods. Of course, taking vitamins that support your immune system can also help. If you’re looking for supplementation to help support immune health, Vitable can provide you with a personalised selection. Our vitamin subscription of custom vitamin packs can help you meet your daily vitamin requirements when paired alongside a healthy and well-balanced diet. Vitable also has a vitamin delivery service which you can enjoy - get your monthly pack delivered direct to your doorstep!
Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
- Sleep, Recovery, and Meta Regulation: Explaining the Benefits of Sleep (2015), Accessed on 11/21/2021 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4689288/
- 6 Ways to Bounce Back From Illness (2018), Accessed on 11/21/2021 on https://achs.edu/blog/2018/02/27/how-to-recover-from-illness-faster/
- Cold Remedies: What Works, What Doesn’t, What Can’t Hurt (2021), Accessed on 11/21/2021 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/cold-remedies/art-20046403
- Not Sure What to Eat When You’re Sick? (2018), Accessed on 11/21/2021 from https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/live-well/2018/01/not-sure-what-to-eat-when-youre-sick/
- The Best Foods to Eat When You’re Sick (2021), Accessed on 11/21/2021 frin https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-foods-to-eat-when-youre-sick/
- Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection (1998), Accessed on 12/02/2021 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9701160/
- Iron (n.d.), Accessed on 12/02/2021 on https://research.vitable.com.au/iron
- Astaxanthin decreased oxidative stress and inflammation and enhanced immune response in humans (2010), Accessed on 12/02/2021 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2845588/
- An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda (2011), Accessed on 12/02/2021 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/
- Probiotics (n.d.), Accessed on 12/02/2021 on https://research.vitable.com.au/probiotics
- B Complex (n.d.), Accessed on 12/02/2021 on https://research.vitable.com.au/b-complex
- Vitamin C Plus (n.d.), Accessed on 12/02/2021 on https://research.vitable.com.au/vitamin-c-plus
- Vitamin D and the Immune System (2011), Accessed 12/02/2021 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/
- Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Immune Cells (2019), Accessed 12/02/2021 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6834330/
- Biotin (n.d.), Accessed on 12/02/2021 on https://research.vitable.com.au/biotin