On average, the cold and flu will last 7-10 days. You can, however, try different remedies and treatment options to expedite recovery. You also need to understand that your diet and lifestyle will also have an impact on how long the cold will stay. If you're currently dealing with flu that won't go away, you may want to go see your doctor and discuss your condition in details.
Flu That Won't Go Away, Why?
Lack of Rest
Taking plenty of rest and sleep is important to get rid of your cold symptoms. You're more likely to experience cold symptoms if you get less than seven hours of sleep every night. Similarly, it will take more time to recover if you don't get adequate rest.
Low on Fluids
Take insufficient amount of fluids and you will have flu that won't go away. You need to understand that fluids will play a part in your healing process. It could be anything, Gatorade, juice, or plain water. A lack of fluid is more likely to cause dehydration, and it becomes even important to drink water and take fluids when you're sick. Your body will lose fluids from drainage, and if you don't increase your fluid intake, you will find yourself fighting with your cold symptoms for several days. Drinking extra fluids will also help flush congestion out of your body – it plays a role in clearing up the mucus trapped in your chest and nose.
Taking Too Much Drying Medicine
It is common to take medications that dry everything up and help you sleep well even with a completely stuffed nose. Just keep in mind that a little drying action may help, but too much of it will make things worse and turn into flu that won't go away. These medications work by taking water out of your mucus, which gives you some relief initially, but it often makes it difficult to clear the sinuses later. Moreover, you shouldn't be using decongestants or nasal sprays for more than four days or it will cause elevated blood pressure, tremors, and constipation.
Treating the Wrong Illness
Sometimes, the symptoms of common cold are not due to cold at all – many other ailments can mimic these symptoms, such as allergies or sinus infections. Allergies usually have the same symptoms as you experience when you catch cold. What you should understand is that if your symptoms show them from the neck up, you're more likely to suffer from flu. These symptoms will get worse after a few days.
These symptoms are usually not that harsh with allergies. Still, they both can cause a runny nose, cough, and sneezing, but you will experience fatigue, muscle aches, and decreased appetite only when you have flu. You may want to take an antihistamine in the beginning, and if your symptoms respond to it, you're more likely to have an allergy attack only.
Flu That Won't Go Away, What Can Be Done?
Self-Care Treatments for Flu
In most cases, you don't have to try anything and let the flu run its course. Just make sure to drink plenty of fluids and get adequate rest. Don't skip meals, even though you won't feel like eating anything. To deal with fever, you may want to take a cool bath or simply consider placing a cool, damp washcloth on your forehead. Having a bowl of hot soup will help a lot with your nasal congestion. Gargling with warm salt water may also prove beneficial if you have sore throat.
You can try OTC pain relievers and fever reducers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to improve your situation. You can also opt for aspirin or naproxen to treat body aches and fatigue. Do keep in mind though that these medications aren't going to shorten the span of the flu. Also, remember that children under the age of 18 should never take aspirin, or it may lead to a serious disease such as Reye's syndrome.
When OTCs don't work, you may have to switch to antiviral drugs to relieve your flu symptoms. These prescription drugs work well to stop the virus from replicating and causing complications. To make these drugs more effective, you need to take one within the first 48 hours of becoming sick.
How to Prevent Flu
Knowing what bugs are going around at the moment will help take precautions to prevent flu, but you can also try the following lifestyle changes to avoid facing any issues.
Consider getting an annual flu vaccine, which is probably the best way to protect you from the flu. Discuss it with your doctor though and avoid a flu shot if you're allergic to egg.
Try some meditation or take up relaxation exercises to reduce stress and reduce your susceptibility to the flu.
Try to stay active and exercise regularly.
Take adequate sleep to provide your body with a chance to restore its energy.
Eat a well-balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruits in it.
Drink no less than 8 glass of water every day.
Never forget to wash your hands after using the bathroom.