Maybe you woke up not feeling well or maybe it snuck up on you slowly as the day progressed. Either way, you know what that feeling means. You are sick. Once you have accepted this fact, your next step will be to figure out what to do next. Here are some simple guidelines designed to help you assess your situation so you can make informed decisions about how to manage your health.

Identify your Symptoms
Once you realize you are sick, a smart first step is to identify the symptoms you are experiencing. What body part or parts are affected? What does it feel like in comparison to how you normally feel? Is it made better or worse when you take certain actions? Do I have a fever? These are all questions that will help you thoroughly understand what your body is going through.

For example, you may be experiencing a cough and some sinus congestion. You may describe the cough as dry or wet depending if it appears to be caused by mucus or fluid in the throat or lungs. Your congestion may appear to focused in the sinus or may accompany a runny nose. Whether or not you have an elevated body temperature may help determine if your symptoms are caused by an illness, such as a viral or bacterial infection, or an allergen. Being able to thoroughly identify and categorize your symptoms will help make sure you plan for the best care for you.

Basic At-Home Care
With the majority of illnesses, rest is often advised. This allows your body to direct more energy to fighting the illness as you limit your other daily activities. Rest does not necessarily require you to sleep for longer than normal, though it may be an appropriate option. It may just mean to avoid any activity that aggravates the condition, such as avoiding allergens when dealing with a respiratory infection.

Actively working to stay hydrated is also wise. If you are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, consuming enough water may help keep mucus thinner. Not only can this make it easier to expel from mucus from the body through coughing up yellow mucus, sneezing or blowing your nose, it may also lessen the feeling of pressure in the chest or sinuses that accompanies the congestion.

Proper hydration also gives you body a better platform on which to fight the bacterial or viral infection, or allergen causing your symptoms. Dehydration can affect your body’s ability to regulate it’s temperature which can be dangerous. If your illness results in diarrhea or vomiting, proper hydration is important to maintain your bodily functions, maintain proper blood pressure and help avoid organ failure. If you are having difficulties keeping down food, adding a sports drink to your hydration plan will help ensure you are replenishing your electrolytes.

Using Over-the-Counter Medications
Depending on your symptoms, over-the-counter (OTC) medications may be appropriate. Cold and flu medicines come in a variety of formulas allowing you to find a version designed to more specifically fight the symptoms you have. This can be especially important if you are selecting a medication to manage symptoms of digestive issues, as selecting the wrong formula may make your symptoms wors