This time of year is magical – I love the cooler temperatures (which means there is snow in certain parts of the country! 😍). However, when the temperature drops, everyone seems to come down with a cold. I am fortunate to have a pretty strong immune system and I do my best to wash/sanitize my hands during the day and avoid the sneezing/coughing masses to the best of my ability, but when my husband comes home from a work trip with a cold I know it’s only a matter of time before I catch it too. I amp up my vitamin C intake and add zinc to my daily routine, but just like clockwork (after the typical three-day incubation period post-germ exposure) my throat starts to get scratchy and my nose gets stuffy. At that point all I can do is accept that I now have the cold and do my best to shorten its duration.
During a cold I make sure to continue adding my favorite vitamin C (yes, they’re gummies 🙌🏼) and zinc in to my daily routine which boost the immune system and help it to fight off the sickness. Growing up, my mom used to give my brother and I zinc lozenges when we started to feel a cold coming on. Let me be the first one to tell you that those things tasted TERRIBLE! 😖 We hated them. When I moved to Seattle and caught my first cold, I went to the pharmacy to search for those disgusting zinc lozenges and happened upon Zicam’s quick-dissolving zinc tablets which are actually delicious! (The lemon-lime flavor are my favorite). I can’t recommend these tablets enough – they dissolve quickly and don’t leave the terrible “metallic” aftertaste of the lozenges.
When my throat is feeling raw and sore, the only things that help me are (a) hot tea with honey, and (b) throat lozenges. My favorite tea is Teavana’s “Peach Tranquility” chamomile… it’s so calming and doesn’t contain any caffeine so you won’t have any difficulty falling asleep after drinking it. I like to add honey to my tea when I am sick because not only is it soothing on the throat, but evidence suggests that honey can stimulate the immune system. (Hey, it can’t hurt to try! 🤷🏼♀️)My favorite cough drops/throat lozenges are made by Halls – specifically the sugar free ones in the honey lemon flavor. The honey and lemon flavor combination just tastes so much more “natural” than the other options, and I opt for sugar free only because sucking on real sugar lozenges for an extended period of time is horrible for your teeth (can you tell that my mom is a dental hygienist? 😂).
I also can’t survive a cold, let alone the entire winter season, without my Burt’s Bees lip balm. Sometimes fevers and/or frequent nose-blowing cause a chapped Cupid’s bow and lips — I find that there isn’t anything more soothing on dry lips than that familiar Burt’s Bees peppermint-y tingle.
Other tips for beating a cold:
1. SLEEP: That’s when your body has the best opportunity to defeat an infection. Take the time to nap/sleep as often as you can!
2. TAKE HOT SHOWERS: It’s so hard to peel yourself out of bed when you have a pounding headache and it takes all of your energy just to stand up, but I promise that a nice hot shower will make you feel so much better. Be sure to breathe the steam in deeply to help break up any congestion. On top of being able to breathe (even if it’s just for a short time) you’ll feel totally reborn after scrubbing up — I love this feeling, especially after sweating out a fever!
3. DRINK LOTS OF FLUIDS: Your body is working hard to fight off some nasty germs… the least you can do for it is to stay hydrated and flush out any toxins. Water is the best thing you can give your body, but any beverages with electrolytes (such as Gatorade, Vitamin Water or even Pedialyte) would also work. Adding orange juice or tea is great too, but they shouldn’t take the place of your hydrating beverages. Any time you aren’t sleeping, you should be drinking fluids.
4. USE MEDICINE WHEN NECESSARY: I try not to use medicine unless it’s my only option. At a certain point, if using ibuprofen or a decongestant is the only way for you to bring down your fever or help you get comfortable enough to sleep, I encourage you to use it! This is the case especially if something has been prescribed to you by a physician, such as an antibiotic (be sure to take the full course as directed by your doctor!).
5. HAVE AN AT-HOME SPA DAY: Okay, so this has absolutely no medical benefits, but it will keep you from coming out of your cold feeling like a crusty scab. Apply a mask on your face, buff your nails, use a scrub on any rough patches (elbows, knees, heels…), moisturize all over once you get out of your steamy shower, etc. Even if you can barely function, at least you’re making a little time for self-care so that those sick days aren’t a complete waste because you have had to spend all day in bed.
6. ORDER A MEDICINE BALL: If you can drag yourself out of the house (maybe you’re being forced to go to work or you haven’t quite hit the worst of the cold yet), get yourself to a Starbucks and order a Medicine Ball (now a “Honey Citrus Mint Tea“). Chances are, you barista will already know what that is, but if they don’t just ask for: a grande of half steamed lemonade and half hot water, a Jade Citrus Mint tea bag, a Peach Tranquility tea bag, a packet of honey and an optional pump of peppermint. It is a combo of all of the best things when you’re not feeling well: hot liquid, lemon, mint, chamomile and honey. Enjoy!
If you’re currently suffering from a cold like I am, I hope you get well soon! What tricks have you found for quickly overcoming colds? Let me know in the comments!