Flu season is brutal this year! Everyone at work has been sick and rumor is that the cold going around the office lasts for three weeks! Of course with all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I feel behind on sleep, and next thing I knew I was feeling horrible… My body ached, my nose was running like a faucet, and I could not stop coughing. I was hot and then cold and then hot again. It took me half a day to realize that I should probably get some medicine. So I ran to the drug store, and started taking two giant pills every four hours as directed. I kept it up for a few days until I had run out.
But the medicine wasn’t helping me feel any better; I just felt like a zombie. And it was going to get expensive, paying for a new box of pills every few days. So I did some research and asked a family member for tips to alleviate colds.
It’s been two weeks since I got sick, and I am happy to report that I am feeling so much better! Still not 100%, but definitely a solid 75%. My horrible chest congestion has gotten so much better and I no longer feel like a zombie, thanks to some helpful hints. If you’re under the weather, keep reading to find out how to feel better!
Take Epsom salt baths: I’m really big on baths in the wintertime, especially when I am sick. Epsom salt baths actually help detox your body and reduce inflammation. The steam and heat are also great for congestion. In a jar or bowl, mix 3-4 Tablespoons Epsom salts, 3-4 Tablespoons baking soda, and 15-30 drops of your favorite essential oils (Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Peppermint and Lavender are all great for congestion relief). Run a hot bath and add the salt mixture to the water when your tub is ¾ of the way full. Stir to dissolve. Then soak and relax for as long as you want. I would recommend tying long hair back or putting it in a shower cap.
Don’t use cough suppressants: When we get sick, our bodies cough to get rid of mucus in the chest. Suppressants can thicken the mucus and make colds last longer. A better choice is an expectorant that will break up mucus and make it easier to expel from your body. You can check the labels of medications at the drug store to choose what is best for you. I got Mucinex Chest Congestion and took it for about a week until I felt well enough not to need it. I like that the Mucinex doesn’t include acetaminophen, as I don’t like to take that unless necessary.
Calm your cough naturally so you can fall asleep: One night, I was coughing so much that I couldn’t sleep! I was so frustrated, and I figured that I should just take a cough suppressant just so I could get to sleep. But I had another idea that I could try without even getting out of bed. I put some Eucalyptus essential oil on the front collar of my shirt, and it calmed my coughing right down. I thought it might work since it smells just like Vick’s Vapor Rub. I took some deep breaths and fell right asleep for the night. It’s been working great ever since.
Prop up your head: Use as many pillows as you can to elevate your head and promote mucus drainage while you sleep. Laying flat lets mucus to build up overnight, which is unpleasant to wake up to.
Have some tea or soup: Hot broth or tea can speed up movement of mucus, and soothe a sore throat. I like to add lemon and honey, sometimes sliced ginger to my tea when I’m sick. And of course chicken noodle soup is the best. I have two tips for quicker homemade soup when you’re feeling under the weather: use a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking your own, and pulse-chop your vegetables in the food processor for a quick soup. Spicy foods are also great to have when sick; the spices act as decongestants to ease congestion. Try to stay away from dairy products and fried foods during your cold- they can increase mucus production.
Eat pineapple to soothe a sore throat: Pineapples have plenty of vitamin C, and they also contain bromelain, which is an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties. It makes a nice non-dairy dessert to enjoy as well.
Get extra rest and drink extra water: I saved the best for last! Your body needs sleep to heal and strengthen your immune system, and water to help flush out the mucus and toxins. More sleep and more water are the top two things that will help your body overcome a cold in record time.
It seems like my husband has caught my cold, despite my best attempts at keeping my germs to myself. And the saying that men are babies when they’re sick is definitely true. It breaks my heart when he gets sick 🙁 But, I’m going to nurse him back to health in no time! Hopefully he is feeling better soon, and I hope the same for anyone reading this who is suffering from a cold! Let me know if these tips worked for you, and if you have any other go-to remedies for colds!
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(Thrive or Survive does not provide medical advice, only general information. See a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice or treatment of serious conditions.)