Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Common Cold

Its that time of the year again, time for colds. Those horrible, sniffly, stuffy, coughing, aching, sore throats days. There proabably isn't anyone that wouldn't prefer to prevent or reduce the duration of a cold. They are just miserable. Unfortunatley, in a social society, there is little that can be done to eliminate the exposure to a common cold, but some common sense approach can at least reduce your likelihood of catching a cold.

As a mom of two younger children, I know that they will both likely pick-up something at school. Additionally, with me working in an office surrounded by other co-workers with children, I know that I will be exposed to a lot of germs.

I do my best to fend off the common cold. I dislike not being able to sleep because I can’t breath or the hacking cough is keeping me awake. So, what’s a person to do? Here’s what works for me: get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids, wash my hands regularly, especially after being around someone coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching my face with my hands during the day.

If that doesn’t work and I start to feel those early signs of a cold coming my way, I do my best to fight it off or at least minimize it. I drink lots of juice for the Vitamin C and use Zinc tabs. Frequently, this one-two punch is enough to fight off the symptoms. When it's not, it at least seems to help reduce the duration/intensity of the cold.

If all my best efforts don’t work and I am faced with a cold, I’m not much of a medicine person so I fight my symptoms as best I can without medicine.

I drink lots of hot tea with honey. The honey does an amazing job soothing a sore throat and the hot tea is good for increasing your fluid intake.

I also drink Gatorade, it has the benefit of not only helping me increase my fluid intake, but has the added advantage of the electrolytes that are there to help rehydrate athletes and keeping hydrated is an important part of recovering from a cold or other illness.

I’ve also heard that gargling vinegar water can help a sore throat. I haven’t tried that, but a trick I discovered when I was pregnant and couldn’t take medicine was gargling with Listerine. The alcohol does a decent job of numbing the throat, which is a good thing when your throat is sore. My theory is that the active ingredients in the Listerine help to kill the germs associated with the cold. If I gargle before bed time, I frequently don't have a sore throat anymore when I wake up.

Chicken soup is another staple of the cold season. I’m not sure what it is, but something in chicken broth helps when you have a cold. Plus, the warm broth is just thick enough to soothe and coat the throat while you are eating it.

We have a whole house humidifier, but when I am really congested, a cool mist humidifier in the bedroom can help a lot with helping clear my sinuses so I can sleep.

When it gets bad, I do resort to medicine. I am a mom, I do have to be there for my family and can’t let the cold get the best of me. I try to limit it to nighttime, knowing that at least if I can sleep, my body will have more strength to fight the cold.

To learn more tips and tricks, check out Works For Me Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer.


Shell in your Pocket said...

I have never heard about the vinegar! How interesting!
-Sandy Toes

Brooke said...

I always just thought the broth was good for your troat - great to know it has value beyond that.

i'm taking vitamin c and its making my nails grow stronger (handy especially with the big day approaching!)

Charlotte said...

I am trying the vinegar- so timely... whole family is down with a cold

Robyn said...

We started trying something last winter: hot tea with honey, lemon and a splash of whiskey. We're not lush, I promise! But we heard that the whiskey kills germs and people have been doing it for generations. It works like a charm, and tastes so good, like a cinnamon hot toddy!!