Finding Relief from the Common Cold

I would love to say I had a wonderful holiday weekend, but instead I spent most of it huddled on the couch with a box of tissues and a blanket.  There is a nasty cold going around and I hope you all don’t get it!  Most colds last about a week, but I was able to cut this one down to about three days.  Since I am pregnant I can’t take most cold medicines on the market, so I had to rely on a host of home remedies to feel better.  Since cold season is starting I thought I would share some of our strategies for getting better faster.

1.  Sleep – I learned this one from Tom.  As soon as he feels a cold coming on he takes a 3 hour nap.  It works every time because he almost never gets a full cold.  I absolutely hate taking naps so I resisted this for a long time and suffered for it, but now I have to admit that a nap is a great way to speed up your recovery.

2.  Zinc Lozenges – A few years ago a friend recommended I try taking a few zinc lozenges as soon as I feel a cold coming on and boy do they work!  We start taking them as soon as we feel a little off and it cuts the duration and strength of the cold dramatically.

3. Hot herbal tea – Sneezing and coughing dehydrate you so replace those lost liquids with hot herbal tea.  It gets much need fluids back into your body and the heat helps loosen phlegm and clears your sinuses.

4.  Tissues – At the first sign of a cold head to the store and stock up on the softest anti bacterial tissues you can find.  Toilet paper is too rough for the delicate skin around your nose and after a couple days you will wish you had started with tissues.  Also the anti bacterial ones help keep your family from getting sick too.  Keep a plastic bag handy as well.  A pile of tissues on the floor is the perfect way for your germs to spread to others.

5.  Almond or Olive oil – Even the softest tissues will eventually dry out the skin around your nose.  Lotion will usually sting so coat your sore nose with olive or almond oil instead.  A little goes a long way and its great for your skin.

6.  Spicy food – Nothing clears the sinuses like a little spice.  Save this trick for the last days of your cold and don’t eat anything spicy on an upset stomach.  Tacos with salsa or this Red Lentil Dal I posted last year are my favorites.

7.  Massage – Getting a massage at the beginning of your cold can actually make you feel worse.  However, getting a light massage at the end of your cold stimulates your lymphatic system which boosts your immune system and helps get you back on your feet faster.  Enlist a loved one to give you a rub down, but use light pressure!  No deep tissue until you are all better!

8.  Take a hot bath or shower – The hot water will help with those achy muscles and the steam will moisten your dry nasal passages and clear your sinuses.  A couple nights ago I woke up at 3am very stuffy, sore and miserable so I took a bath.  It helped me relax, soothed my sore body and helped me get a better night’s sleep, which we know is key to feeling better.  Stir 10-15 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil into a cup of epsom salts and dissolve in your bath to soothe your muscles and to help you breathe.

9.  Hand Sanitizer – Ok, so this one doesn’t make you feel better, but it will keep your family from getting sick too.  Constantly blowing your nose is bound to get germs on your hands.  Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer to keep others from getting sick too.

Those are my best tips!  If you have any good tips for getting rid of a cold please leave them in the comments and feel better!

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