Things have been pretty busy here, leading up for a big event at work. So of course I got sick with a cold. If only it had waited one more week! I soldiered on, using some remedies I have to hand to help me keep going.
My cold started with a scratchy sore throat. I don’t think there’s any way to get rid of a sore throat quickly, but there are some things you can do to speed it along.
Make a salt gargle by dissolving 1sp of ground salt in a small glass of boiling water. Wait for it to get to lukewarm temperature before gargling! It’ll help kill any bacteria, and the warm water will reduce swelling in your throat. In my constant quest for sore throat remedies, I read that peppermint sprays can help. Not having that to hand, I tried adding a drop of peppermint to the salt gargle. It tasted rank and I don’t think it necessarily helped. I probably won’t do that again!
Drink lots of tea. Warm liquids help soothe a sore throat, so any kind of tea can be beneficial. I made up a herbal blend of equal parts sage and thyme because they’re supposed to be good at soothing sore throats. I also dissolved a teaspoon of honey in for good measure (honey is antibacterial). I read afterwards that bergamot can also be beneficial, so perhaps an Earl Grey tea is just as good? I’ll also be keeping aside my peppermint plant for tea when it grows back in spring.
Keep it warm. I reduced how much time I spent outdoors in the cold. Keeping my heating on overnight made sure my throat wasn’t chilled while I slept. Also, I love my wheat bag.
I know I’m sick when my muscles feel prickly. Apparently this isn’t a common thing? I’m confident however that you know the feeling of achy muscles and overall tiredness that sickness brings.
Reach for comfort food. While I was sick all I wanted was soup, so I made myself lots of it. It’s warmth is soothing and soup can be full of healthy ingredients to help your body recover. Best of all, it’s easy to make, which is important when the last thing you want to do is cook up a storm. My favourite soup was miso with buckwheat noodles, bok choy, tofu and carrot. I also remembered I had some non-gelatine jelly in the cupboard, so I indulged in childhood nostalgia! This jelly sets within half an hour, so its a good option for those of us who are impatient…
The drugs do work. I found I didn’t sleep well at the height of my aches and pains, so I took some medication. A couple of ibuprofen reduce inflammation as well as relieving pain. I wish I could find a less plastic-wrapped source of ibuprofen and paracetamol – do you know of one?
Sleep on it. The best, most effective treatment for a cold is sleep. No doubt about it, the more sleep or rest I get while I’m sick, the faster I get better. Life was really busy this time so I couldn’t rest as much as I would have liked. Instead, I cancelled what obligations I could and went to bed early.
Congested and runny nose
Bane of my cold, a continually runny nose!
Oil a hanky. When I was a kid, my mum would put a drop or two of eucalyptus oil onto a hanky and place it on my pillow at night. The eucalyptus oil works as a decongestant; the kitty cat makes you feel better about your predicament. It’s consistently an effective cold remedy. This time round I didn’t have any eucalyptus oil, so I tried lavendar and tea tree instead. The lavendar was helpful early on when I was feeling sore and sorry for myself. The tea tree was more effective at reducing congestion later on, but eucalyptus is still the best.
Speaking of hankies…I much prefer them to tissues. They’re softer on my nose and I’m not having to constantly replenish them. I’ve got a set of lovely vintage hankies that my grandmother passed down to me, but I’ll admit my childish cotton hankies are more practical at the height of a cold!
Sooth it with some balm. Runny nose leads to dry, sore skin 😦 I’ve used more lip balm (chap stick) this week than I have in the past year!
I get pretty happy when I start coughing, because it usually means my cold is in its death throes!
Honey is the answer. I discovered this one by experimentation, but there’s many smarter people than I who have been using honey as a cough suppressant for ages. I usually let myself cough, because I figure this is the way my body is getting rid of the remnants of cold. Sometimes it stops me sleeping though, so in those cases I eat a teaspoon of honey. Not only is this the sweetest medicine ever, but it also tends to stop my cough in its tracks.
I use cold-pressed honey when I’m sick, in the hope that all the vitamins in the honey will help my immune system. I don’t think the difference between this and mainstream heat-processed honey is great enough that you’d notice it though. Another good tip? Manuka honey is made from the tea tree, which is also common in Australia. We call it Leptospermum honey, and charge less for it.