Thursday, January 10, 2013

What Cold Care Really Works?

Although it shouldn't come as a total surprise to me, I have recently discovered that I am taking better care of my kids than I am of myself.  While I'm really happy my kids are so well cared for, I think it's time I cared for my well being a bit more too.

SistersThe second nasty virus of the season that has attacked me is still kicking my butt on day 3 of it.  Thankfully through it all, all three of our kids have remained healthy and strong.  I credit healthy food, and fresh air with sunshine and exercise, with keeping their immune systems so robust.

I, on the other hand, have put off exercise and going outside a lot, always thinking I'll get to it later.  And so here I am angry that I'm sick again, and trying to get rid of a virus which doctors have no cure or help for.

Perhaps from my misery can come some help for others.  I have tried pretty much everything from natural remedies to 4 different over the counter cough syrups, more throat lozenges, cough drops, and  a variety of basic pain medicines.

Everyone's body is different in how it will react to a medication or treatment, and I'm not doling out medical advice here, but here is what did and didn't work for me...

Over the Counter Cough Syrups

With the exception of a dose of children's cough syrup, I found that all the others made me feel much worse.  The kind with an expectorant in them made me cough till I thought my chest would rip apart, and was tasting my own blood.  The kind with a cough suppressant not only didn't stop me from coughing, but left me feeling slightly suffocated, as I couldn't cough the mucus out of my lungs.

Steaming Bowl of Thyme

Steaming hot soupThis is simply taking a bowl of steaming hot water and adding 2-3 teaspoons of dried thyme to it.  Then you make a tent over your head and the bowl and breathe in the steam.   I like to get my face right down in there, maybe 3 inches from the water.  I alternate taking slow, deep breathes through my nose and mouth.  I do this for 10-15 minutes, or until it stops being steamy.

I have found this to be a much kinder alternative to the cough syrup.  It gently loosens congestion, while also making it so that it rarely hurts at all when I cough.  My body notices that it is much gentler and doesn't feel the same harshness I got with the OTC cough syrups.  It also helps loosen nasal congestion.

Throat Lozenges

These are the pill version of the spray that makes your throat numb so that the pain will go away.  My experience with these involved an unpleasant numbness in my mouth, and a small amount of helpful numbness in my throat.  A short time after finishing one my throat started to feel like it was on fire.  Not pleasant.

Ricola Cough Drops

I like these.  They taste good and do help a little bit with coughing.  The downside to them is they do have sugar, which actually aggravates coughs.  I haven't taken them much recently because I'm concerned I'll choke on one while coughing.
vitamin E

Vitamin D

You gotta love vitamin D3!  This vitamin may have more to do with us being healthy than any other vitamin.  I am currently taking 3000 IU's a day, but if you are just starting to take it you should gradually work up to whatever dose you are comfortable with.  Vitamin D3 is a great booster for the immune system!

Fresh Juice

Freshly juiced vegetables and fruit are like a shot of nutrients straight into your body.  The freshness of the juice allows for more nutrients to still be alive, and juicing removes the fiber which normally slows down the absorption, causing some nutrients to get passed by.  I do feel stronger after drinking these.  To keep it simple I've been doing 4 carrots, half a small cucumber, 2-3 stalks of celery, and 1 apple (all organic as I don't want the chemicals to make me even sicker).

Pain Killer

As anyone who's had a severely sore throat will tell you they would give their kingdom to stop feeling that pain.  I choose medications that are anti inflammatory, like Aspirin and Ibuprofen to call the swelling and pain at the same time.  Since it's become hard for me to swallow pills without them getting stuck in my throat, I've been drinking the kiddie version which has worked well for me.  (Consult a pharmacist as to how much you might need to take as an adult, if you want to go with the kiddie version.)

Lime flower...
Photo by nkzs

Hot Tea

Is there anything as comforting as hot tea when you're sick?   My daughter just made me a cup of decaf green tea, with a bit of raw honey in it.  Super immune system boosting by both the green tea and the raw honey.  Wait till the tea has cooled a bit before adding the honey, as heating the honey over 120 degrees destroys the good "raw" benefits.

Eucalyptus Oil

I have found that when the glands in my neck are swollen I get some benefit from rubbing the Eucalyptus oil into my neck.  Simply put a few drops of the oil on your fingers, then massage it into the entire neck for several minutes.  Essential oils can be purchased at health food stores or online at places like www.vitacost.com.


Epsom Salt Bathes


The magnesium in Epsom salt is great for achy muscles.  Add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to the water for even greater benefits.

Gargling with Salt Water

Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup warm water.  Gargle repeatedly for 30 seconds each time.  I had some success with this, but not too much.

Dill Pickles

PicklesYeah, dill pickles sounds random to me too, but hey whatever works!  I don't like dill pickles, but I got the urge to eat one the other night.  My throat hurt so bad I didn't want to swallow.  Strangely enough after I ate the pickle my throat felt a lot better!  I could swallow pain free!!!  After throwing out an inquiry to friends we have decided it was probably the vinegar in the water that helped it feel so much better.  Perhaps the salt in the water didn't hurt either.  Whatever it was I was just happy to swallow pain free again.

Gargle with Vinegar

I have been extra gaggy, so maybe that's why I haven't tried it yet, but friends of mine have found great relief in gargling with white or apple cider vinegar.


That's all for now.  Wishing you all a happy and healthy day!  :)


Other Article You May Enjoy:

Natural Cold Care Remedies
Eucalyptus Leaves

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