Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cold Comfort

I still have this stinking, rotten, sniveling miserable cold and I'm about tired of it already. I got it from DH (thanks, Hon) over the Thanksgiving holiday. I've canceled or modified just about everything, but life goes on. At least there are coping strategies that can help lessen the misery a bit. Other bloggers have given practical advice; I'll add a few things I find helps.

First of all, get that Vitamin D from the sun. Go out and sit in the sunshine a few minutes every day if you possibly can; making your own vitamin D is better than a pill any day. Don't forget that other vitamin, too, the one that comes from oranges! Vitamin C, of course. Load up on the citrus fruit. I don't know if either of these vitamins are proven to lessen the length or severity of colds, but they are good for you regardless. Can't hurt!

Secondly, remember that steam is your friend. I feel the absolute worst when I first wake up every day so a nice, long steamy shower is a soothing way to get everything going. I also use my neti pot in the shower and it seems to keep things clear for a while. If you can't do the long steamy shower, try the stick-your-head-over-a-bowl-of-hot-water-with-a-towel-drape trick.

Warm liquids are also helpful. My high school drama teacher taught me the benefits of hot tea with honey and lemon and I swear by it for easing a sore throat. Although milk isn't really recommended (dairy tends to create more mucus and yucky stuff, or so I've heard) I treated myself to a hot chocolate the other day that hit the spot. We've also been eating a lot of soup. I would recommend chicken soup but we're vegetarian so I've chosen not to do that anymore. Ramen noodles are good, but I can't find a vegetarian version that doesn't have soy in it; that may not be an issue for you like it is for me. We make what we call chicken-less chicken soup quite often; it's basically the matzoh ball and soup mix from the grocery (which is vegetarian) with added onions, carrots, celery, and noodles. Liquids in general are a good idea- drink more than you normally do.

I use over the counter medications at night before I hit the hay. You need to talk to a doctor or pharmacist for any advice about particular medications, but I tend to like the one or two ingredient stuff. If you are mixing multiple medications with multiple ingredients you could wind up over dosing on something so you have to be careful.

Cough drops are invaluable but a lot of them contain soy lecithin so I have to read the labels. I like Ricola lemon mint, which is like candy but it does calm down a moderate tickle; DH likes Fisherman's Friend, which is really nasty and super strong. If the Ricolas aren't working I'll take one of his Fisherman's Friends; shudder.

Lotion tissues. I normally hate, detest, and despise lotion tissues, but when my nose is runny and sore I switch to lotion tissues and they are suddenly wonderful! They make it bearable to wipe your nose yet again.

Last but not least, you can always try some spicy food. We went out for Indian last night but I wound up with the least spicy thing on the menu, dadgummit. DH made chili for lunch today and that was about right. A little spice just helps with clearing things out, I find.

While none of these suggestions will shorten or cure your cold, maybe a little self-pampering will help you get through it with more grace. Also remember to get as much rest as possible, take it easy, wash those hands, and toss anything disposable that might be contaminated when the cold is over (like chapstick and toothbrushes). Here's hoping this is advice you won't need this winter!

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