Everyone has different coping mechanisms when they catch a cold, right? Different “home remedies” or tried-and-true tricks they swear by. After coming back from what’s hopefully my only cold of the season, I thought I’d share mine.
(It should go without saying that this is, like, the furthest thing from medical advice ever. My only medical credentials are watching an awful lot of Scrubs and House (but no ER or Grey’s Anatomy) and having a brother in med school.)
I drink a shit-ton of tea with honey.
I normally drink tea all the time anyway, but the past week or so I’ve legit been chugging it by the gallon. You can see my current stash (that needs replenishing) up top.
I put on the brakes as soon as possible.
As a “grown-up,” I rarely get sick sick — fever, chills, can’t-get-out-of-bed sick. But when I worked in offices, I definitely took a sick day or two each year because as soon as I feel a cold coming on, I prefer to go on the “offensive” — which looks like doing nothing. I believe in taking full rest to let my body do its thing without me interfering with work and other activities. So even though I just had a “slight sore throat and some sniffles,” I’d call in sick, spend the day with Netflix, and I swear I’d kick the cold in just a couple days. But if I decided to soldier through, I’d be a miserable mess for a week or more.
Plus, then I’m not that awful person at the office sniffling and sneezing all over everything.
With my glamorous new freelancer life, that wasn’t really an option, but I did ease up on my to-do lists last week and just focused on getting through the bare minimum.
On the other hand, with my glamorous new freelancer life, I could sleep in a little and baby myself in the morning, because when you have a cold, don’t you always wake up wanting to die and then gradually feel better throughout the day?
If I work out, I bundle up.
I only ran three times last week, and when I did, I wore long pants and long sleeves (unheard of in San Diego). Had it been any colder/wetter I would’ve gone with an extra layer on top, balaclava around my neck, and a hat or headband or earmuffs. I think it’s totally medically precise logic to try to induce a small fever to sweat the crud out. Or something.
And if I run, it’s nice and easy with walk breaks up the hills. No point in forcing my body to expend more energy in my legs than it has to.
Druuuuuugs (but only when absolutely necessary).
Like I said, I try to just let my body do its thing, but sometimes it needs a little boost. Tylenol Cold is my OTC drug of choice most of the time. Especially the PM formula at night. God, it’s glorious.
Also, not actual drugs, but I try to take echinacea pills. When I remember to. Which is not often. Plus, our bottle is pretty old and they probably don’t do anything anyway.
I limit alcohol.
Mainly because most cold meds have either acetaminophen or phenylephrine and neither of those mix well with alcohol. And also because drinking when you’re sick makes you feel even yuckier.
I say “limit” though because sometimes I’m stupid/stubborn and sometimes my kid brother is graduating and I will celebrate with him by imbibing, dammit. (And I skipped all colds meds that day and just suffered through it.)
I turn my shower into a sauna.
The hippie tree-hugger in me hates this, but when I shower, I leave the bathroom fan off and turn the heat up as high as I can stand and turn that room into a temporary sauna. It’s awesome. I swear it loosens up any congestion and gunk in my chest (there’s a pretty picture for ya) and just feels gooooood.
I eat soup and/or chicken and dumplings.
Chicken and dumplings is basically chicken noodle soup with Bisquick dumplings instead of noodles and it’s amaaaaazzzzing.
I get out and run again as soon as I’m feeling at least 75%.
Wooo, I was all sorts of crabby and irritated yesterday morning before I got out for my first run since Thursday. And friends? It was glorious. (then I still totally took a sauna-shower after)
What do you do when you’re sick?
(plain gray t-shirt image from here)