It’s Funny how no matter how hard I try to prevent it…I get sick. I’m no super human…in fact I’ve had a weak-ass immune system since I was in high school.
It happens to me the same way every damn time.
When I’m flying (or working) too much and not getting enough sleep.
As I mentioned in Part I of this article, sleep and overworking can deplete your immune system and leave you susceptible to catching a cold.
Sometimes it is inevitable. Whether you’re stressed out from a personal situation, overworking, putting off sleep to study for exams and finish projects, the cold bug gets ya.
For the record, I will say this: Once You’re Sick, You’re Sick. Pretty much the only thing you can do is rest, drink lots of liquids and ride it out.
So if you’re a lucky duck like me and you’ve been achy, cranky and snotty…there are a few things you can do to make yourself feel better and possibly shorten your sickness.
Just like anything in the health and fitness world: studies for many of these herbs and remedies are inconclusive. Every one of us is different. Some of this might work for you, and some of it might not. I’m down to try ANYTHING to get rid of a sickness. Here are some of the most popular remedies to help shorten your cold.
Sweat that shit out! Ginger is known for simulating perspiration, which cleanses your bodies systems (ie. Getting rid of the yucky stuff). Ginger is also anti-inflammatory (score!) Feeling a little nauseous? Ginger is the go-to for feeling better, due to it’s anti-nausea properties. So much so, that many chemo patients are giving ginger after treatment.
How to take it: I like to add slices of ginger to my water for a quick dose. Or you can buy ginger chews or add it to your home-cooked meals.
Lemon is not only a tasty way to make your water more enjoyable, it has a lot of healing properties that can help you feel better when you’re sick. Like most citruis fruits, lemon contains vitamin C. Vitamin C aids the body’s immune function.
Just like ginger, lemons are anti-inflammatory which can help soothe a sore throat and irritated membranes. Lemon is also anti-septic (again, like ginger) and can help fight off the cold virus.
How to Take it: Same as ginger, lemon goes best in a beverage. I usually take it with hot water or tea, as well as water.
The best part about essential oils is that it can serve as an alternative to medicine. I wont lie to you…I always, always take cold medicine when I am sick because I CANNOT STAND having a runny or stuffed nose. Although I find it to only be effective about half the time. So, for the first time ever, I’ve decided to give essential oils a try (supplementing with my cold and sinus medication).
Essential oils can help in two ways depending on what oils you use. One can help you relax and sleep better – which we all know is an important part of preventing and getting over a cold. Other types can help fight and soothe symptoms of the common cold. Here’s a breakdown for you:
Peppermint: Decongestant, fever-reducer and headache miracle healer.
Eucalyptus oil: antiviral and reduces fever and respiratory problems.
Tea tree oil: anti-viral.
Chamomile: relives symptoms and sleep aid.
Lavender: sleep aid.
Studies on the actual effectiveness of essential oils are varied. For some people it works, and for others they feel no difference. Give it a try and see if it works for you.
How to Take it: First, do some research and/or check with your doctor to make sure that you are a good candidate for essential oils (some cannot be taken when pregnant or if you’re allergic to certain foods or plants). Essential oil can be diffused, rubbed on, added to hot water and/or steam as well as sniffing it from a cloth or bottle.
Oil of Oregano
It tastes disgusting, but it works. The last time I tried oil of oregano, I had a hard time putting it down. I found that after I started taking it, my cold was gone within four days, which for me is a miracle (I’m legit sick for at least two weeks every time). Was it the oil of oregano? It is said to be anti-viral, anti-bacterial and an anti-inflammatory and has many natural vitamins and minerals that can boost your immunity. Oil of oregano also helps promote sweating, which can help get the bad stuff out of your system.
How to take it: Follow the instructions on the bottle that you buy. I generally add it to my tea or a cup of water. Just prepare yourself for the disgusting taste.
Ya might not want to kiss your boyfriend after this. Chewing on garlic can help open your sinuses up and clear out the yucky mucus. Actually tried this yesterday. I was BLOWN AWAY how my sinuses immediately opened up. Guess grandma was right.
How to Take it: I’ve been reading that the way to go is to eat a small piece of garlic everyday. But, you can easily add garlic to any meals that you cook.
Echinacea can help soothe symptoms and speed up the length of your cold.
This study shows us that Echinacea works minimally for prevention and can also shorten a cold (even if its only by a half-day). Many studies on Echinacea are also inconclusive because there are so many different brands and concentrations sold; it’s difficult to see a pattern in test subjects.
How to Take it: in pill form. Find it in the supplements/vitamin aisle in your local pharmacy.
Take a Steamy Shower
Obviously washing yourself, whether it’s a shower or your hands is so important to stop the spread of germs and stop yourself from contracting a disease. Once you’re sick, a steamy shower can help open up your nasal passages, giving you relief from a stuffy nose.
The only time I crave chicken soup is when I’m sick. There’s some merit to our mamas giving us chicken noodle soup when were sick. The healing properties of chicken soup are shown to be inflammatory. Soup normally has a ton of sodium (electrolytes) and water, which is easily absorbed by the body for that much needed hydration.
How to Take it: This product is usually found frozen or in a powder form. If you have access to a freezer, I prefer the frozen real product.
Any hot liquid opens up the blood vessels increasing blood flow to flush your body out. Hot tea will also soothe sore throats and the whole body in general. Add some honey to your tea to get an extra throat soothing beverage.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar alkalinizes the body. And an alkaline body is a great environment to stimulate the body to kill bacteria.The acidity of ACV will loosen up phlegm in the throat and thins out mucus.
How to take it: The easiest way is to suck it up and take a small shot of it. You can also buy pre-made beverages.
Vitamin D is one of the best preventatives of the common cold. Want to know why? Read part I of this article. Once you’re sick though, Vitamin D is shown to boost the immune system, getting it to work harder to remove the sick virus.
How to Take it: You can buy it in a pill form, liquid or even gummy (my fav form!).
Sleep helps your body fight the infection. Your body does the most fighting when we are sleeping. Therefore sleep deprivation stops your immune system from functioning optimally, making your cold last longer and/or get worse. Getting sleep is the most important thing you can do to fight a cold!
Drinking liquids helps flush out all the toxins and bad stuff in your body.Hydrating your body helps the upper and lower respiratory system secretions from thickening. Making it easier to breathe. Drinking lots of fluids will replenish the fluids you lose from being sick. The body needs to be hydrated to function properly. So drink your tea, water and soup to give your body the best chance to beat a cold quickly!