They're unpleasant, can keep you awake at night and really wreak havoc on your schedule. Having a cold isn't pleasant at the best of times but here are my top tips that I use when I'm feeling under the weather that help me, and my patients out the most.
Get Quality Rest
There's a reason your body feels so fatigued when it's sick - it needs extra rest in order to be able to recover properly. Do what your body tells you to do and take a nap, or go to bed early, or if you can swing it sleep in and take a day off work. Taking one day off to rest is a lot better than dragging yourself through the week because you can't keep up with the demands of daily living. So here it is: I give you full permission to rest when you feel sick.
Staying hydrated is a huge deal when you're sick. Your body is in the process of using a fair amount of water to coat mucus membranes, causing a heck of a lot of stuffiness and congestion. Dehydration can only worsen this situation, causing the mucus to become thicker and more difficult to expel. And when you've got a moist environment, like a stuffy nose, it's a breeding ground for bacteria to proliferate and potentially lead you down a wormhole of feeling ill for longer than is ideal. Clear fluids are best, like pure water or broth. Stay away from mucus-producing liquids like dairy, orange juice and sugary beverages. Aim for half your body weight in ounces daily, or a general 2-3 litres to help you stay hydrated.
A simple trick to hydrate your congested sinuses, steam inhalations are easy to do and don't take too much time. Simply pour boiling water into a bowl, add in a couple drops of eucalyptus essential oil (as your antimicrobial), tent your head with a towel over the bowl and take in a few deep breaths. Keep at this for a couple minutes to help break up the congestion so you're better able to get it out and breathe easy again. Do this once to twice daily while you're feeling under the weather.
If you're into neti potting (which I admittedly am not) then go for it. It's a great way to hydrate mucus membranes and expel undated congestion, just like steam inhalations.
Get a Good Probiotic
Probiotics are vital for boosting your immune system, but not all probiotics are made the same. Different strains exhibit different effects in the body so you need to make sure you're taking the right strains to help boost your immune system. I am currently loving a specific probiotic by a company called Metagenics. This probiotic is formulated to help reduce the frequency and severity of upper respiratory tract infections and I have to say, it's been a staple in my cold-fighting arsenal. I also recommend this probiotic for those who get sick often or are exposed to sickness often, like healthcare workers, teachers and flight attendants.
Get an Immune-Boosting IV Nutrient Infusion
If you're lucky enough to have a local naturopathic doctor who is able to do this for you, take full advantage. IV nutrient infusions are chock full of immune-boosting nutrients that you can't possibly take doses of orally, like vitamin C for example. I recommend this as both a preventative as well as an acute treatment for colds and flus. Certain ingredients in an immune-boosting infusion can help boost your immune system by stimulating the activity of your white blood cells, the cells responsible for mounting an immune response to help you fight off that nasty bug. Nutrient infusions are also hydrating, which as we've already explained above, is also important for when you're feeling sick.
We all get sick and will continue to get the odd cold or flu, no matter how hard we try to prevent them. The goal, in my opinion, is to lessen the frequency and severity so when you actually do get sick, it doesn't wipe you out for a few weeks at a time.