I Am Not A Doctor, But… Issue 2: The Common Cold

First, a disclaimer:
Now. I suffered from colds a LOT during graduate school – I cought about four or five in a row, one after the other, the winter I was there. It sucked.
But I learned a lot. On at least one occasion, I was able to muscle through the nasty headcold part of the cold and into the not-so-bad chest part in only a couple days. I’m currently muscling through a cold quite nicely.
So, I now present you with Ealasaid’s tips for getting over a cold!

  • Sleep. When I’m sick, I try to get as much sleep as humanly possible. Wrap up warm and go to bed! In grad school I used to get 12+ hrs on the weekends when I was sick.
  • Stay warm. Bugs don’t like it when your body is too warm, that’s why we get fevers. Plus, if your body is working to stay warm, it’s not working as hard on getting healthy. You don’t have to be baking, but you shouldn’t be chilly if you can possibly avoid it.
  • Vitamin C. This is one of the water-soluble vitamins (thispage has more info) so it is nearly impossible to overdose. You can take up to 2,000 mg/day without really hurting yourself (important note: I have read that in high enough doses vitamin C can cause miscarriage, so if you’re pregnant, talk to your doc before loading up). I’ve been taking 1,000mg/day myself (in the big 500mg capsules my nutritionist gives me), largely because I am currently sensitive to orange juice. If you are NOT sensitive to OJ, take less in vitimin form and CHUG orange juice. Seriously. In grad school, I considered it wussy if I didn’t drink at least half a gallon a day.
  • Tea. Not just any tea, though. Echinacea tea works fabulously for me – I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but I love it so I am pimping it here. I like Traditional Medicinals Organic Echinacea Plusbecause it doesn’t taste like stewed daisies, but any echinacea tea will do. In grad school, I used one bag of nastyass echinacea tea and one bag of tasty tea per pot and drank at least a pot (4 cups) a day. Mixing honey in will help with sore throat and mixing lemon juice (just a little!) in will help clear phlegm.
  • Don’t take meds. Seriously. Most regular meds will keep your body from doing some of the things it needs to in order to get rid of the cold. Unless I am unable to sleep from coughing or literally unable to breathe through my nose at ALL, I do not use cough syrups or decongestants while I have a cold. I also avoid painkillers unless I’m fighting a headache (because I get migraines if I don’t treat my headaches). Yeah, it means you feel like ass, but at least you feel like ass for a shorter period, and you don’t have to drink even MORE water to make up for the decongestants drying you out. I am making it through my current cold without cough drops because they have so much sugary crap in them, and instead am drinking lots of Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat, which seems to be helping.
  • Liquids. As you can probably telll, drinking a LOT of liquids while you have a cold is good. You’re coughing a lot, which makes you lose water. You’re generating scads of mucus, which also uses water. Drink OJ, drink herbal teas, drink water. If you’re not peeing really regularly, you’re doing it wrong. :)

If I think of more, I’ll add ’em. Good luck!

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