During the months of November and December 2018, I’ve been sick with a cold for about 28 days now. It seems as though it was the cold that just kept giving! However, I wasn’t sick for all 28 days straight; I was sick for a little over two weeks and had a break for about 3-4, maybe 5 whole days and then I got sick again. The second round hasn’t quite been a full two weeks yet, but it’s almost been worse than the first time.
Since I’ve had a lot of experience with this terrible cold, I thought I’d share some of my tips. In this routine are things I’ve been doing for years that always seem to help and some things that friends or Doctors have shared with me recently too. I will say that during the 5 day break when I was starting to feel better is when I quit my wellness routine because I thought I was all better. If you’re sick, make sure that you continue your health routine after you start to feel better and continue to take it easy to make sure you don’t make the same mistake that I made.
First and foremost, I hope everyone is taking their daily vitamins! That can be in any form you prefer. I’m aware that I take too many vitamins, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I had a full blood panel done a few years ago when I found out that I have Hypothyroidism and I also found out that I am deficient in many different vitamins too.
Nowadays there are drinks you can take by putting powder in water. Airborne comes in a tablet form that you drop in a glass of water or Emergen-C that tastes like fruit and is a powder that is added to water, or Emergen-ZZZ that has melatonin to help as a sleep aid, and I’ve even heard of a hot Apple Cider Emergen-C flavor too! Airborne is a little strong for me, but it works really well if you can stand it. I usually only take it when I’m sick. Otherwise I drink Emergen-C or Zzz daily.
Chewable gummies aren’t just for kids anymore. I look forward to my gummies everyday! I like the Daily Multivitamins that are specifically made for women. Viactiv that tastes like Carmel chews and are for your daily calcium intake. Plus it seems like they make chewable gummies for anything these days. I’ve seen Probiatics, Biotin for Hair, Skin and Nails, and even Airborne too. Make sure that you read the serving size because some brands require that you eat more than one gummy daily to get enough vitamins.
Of course, if you don’t like the cost of these fancy vitamins, then you can consume your nutrients the old fashioned way by regular pill form. I have a SU, M, TU, W, TH, F, SA, container so that I can plan out all my vitamins at the beginning of the week. I usually take a daily vitamin, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Folic Acid (to help my body absorb the Vitamin D), and a Probiotic (to help keep the good bacteria.) If you’re not sure what to take, a daily vitamin and vitamin C are usually a great place to start, but be sure you consult your general Doctor.
If you’re taking your daily vitamins, then hopefully you do not need to keep reading because you’ve successfully kept the bad germs away. I am pro-flu vaccines and get one every year, which usually keeps the flu away, but it doesn’t protect me from the common cold. I also am constantly washing my hands, and using antibacterial hand lotion to keep my hands clean and also moisturized, but sometimes that is not enough.
After Thanksgiving the climate started to change in Arizona. It got cooler out, a little dusty mixed with some rain and I started experiencing a sore throat. That’s usually the first sign that you have drainage. The head and sinus pressure came next along with the runny nose, congestion and exhaustion. I found that Tylenol Severe Cold & Sinus helped a lot because I was able to take a specific daytime capsule and a nighttime capsule. There are so many different kinds that I suggest reading the information to see what medicine best matches your symptoms.
As the cold was moving through my system and was leaving my head but setting up camp in my chest, I started using Mucinex DM 12-hour relief morning and night. During the second round of my head cold, the coughing fits were so bad that I was prescribed Benzonatate as a cough suppressant. It is super helpful because since it’s not a narcotic it doesn’t make me drowsy like something like codeine. I found that if I don’t take it regularly around the clock that my coughing fits come back.
Additionally, I was taking cough drops pretty frequently. I really like Riccola with honey because the medicine feels like it’s actually doing something. If you want something that doesn’t taste like a cough drop, then I recommend Halls lemon, orange and grapefruit variety pack. You almost forget that it’s not candy. Last but not least, the sore throat lozenges with menthol/benzocaine actually numb your throat to reduce the soreness and rawness from coughing.
In addition to daily vitamins and medicine for your symptoms, there are other things that you can do to help. The NeilMed Sinus Rinse or Netty Pot helps to flush out the yucky mucus and congestion. I’ve never used the Netty Pot. It looks too complicated and messy to me, but I love the Sinus Rinse. It’s essentially a squeeze bottle filled with saline water that you squeeze up your nostril and the water pushes through your nasal passage and either out your other nostril or out your mouth. I know, it sounds real intense! Aaron said he can’t do it because it makes him feel like he’s drowning in the ocean. Honestly, that’s the reason why I actually like it along with the sweet relief of getting all that gunk out. If you use it, make sure you purchase distilled water! We don’t want anyone shooting dirty tap water into their brains – seriously. Secondly, I heat up my water for 30 seconds. This way it’s not hot, it’s not cold, but it’s a little warm/just right. Put the water into the bottle along with one saline packet, shake it up, get your nostril ready by putting the open right up to it and squeeze. You’ll most likely cough and need to blow your nose. I always have tissues next to the sink when I do this. Switch nostrils till the solution is gone. Then, you need to disinfect the bottle with the microwave instructions and throw the bottle out after three months. We don’t want any nasty bacteria hanging out in there.
After I do the sinus rinse, I then use my nose spray which is a special nose spray prescription called Azelastine intranasal. I’ve always been prone to nose bleeds, so I need to use a nose spray that doesn’t have a steroid. If you don’t have this problem then a fluticasone like Flunase would work great. I’ve also heard that there is one with Vicks Vapor-rub, which I can imagine would be amazing! I do both of these steps morning and night depending on how I feell. If I don’t need to do the sinus rinse or take the nose spray then I simply skip it. I usually do these steps if it’s hard to breath through my nose. Since I am prone to nose bleeds, I use a Q-tip to put Aquaphor inside my nose to prevent dry skin. This helps to keep my nostrils lubricated.
The final steps to my routine that are specific to nighttime starts with taking two Benadryl. Also, I sleep with a humidifier, which really helps me to open up my nasal passage and breath normal along with applying Vicks Vapor Rub on my throat, chest and bottoms of my feet (applying it to my feet and putting socks on is the final step in my routine.) The kind that I prefer has lavender, which seems to have a pleasant smell. This has been my saving grace to sleeping a normal night’s sleep. Laying down flat is hard to breath, so I’ve been finding that I need to prop myself up too. I have my tissues, water and cough drops by my bed along with the humidifier. Sometimes it got so bad that I would wake up in the middle of the night and need to take a sore throat lozenge to numb my throat and calm my cough, so I could fall back asleep. I don’t suggest sleeping with a cough drop for the fear that you may choke, so make sure you’re safe.
One of the most important things that people forget about when they’re sick is drinking enough fluids. It seems like I’m peeing every hour and that’s how I know I’m drinking enough. Plus, Mucinex DM can’t do it’s job without the constant flow of liquids. If you prefer water, tea, sports drinks, ginger ale, broth, etc. that’s fine just make sure you’re taking a sip every time you cough to push everything out and constantly throughout the day as you think of it. My mom discovered Traditional Medicinals Gypsy Cold Care tea a few years ago and I found their Throat Coat tea this year. The key is to add a teaspoon of Manuka Honey for its antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. In fact, it has traditionally been used for wound healing, soothing sore throats, preventing tooth decay and improving digestive issues. I prefer it with the Throat Coat tea because it has a black licorice taste that I can’t stand, but it really does help my throat so I force myself to drink it. Manuka Honey is found at Sprout’s and is pretty pricey, so make sure you’re not overdoing your daily serving. I also love Yogi Teas and it seems like they have a flavor for every ailment.
As much as fluids are important for recovery, so is consuming good calories throughout the day too. I always seem to forget to eat when I’m not feeling well, but that is when your body needs the nutrients the most. I gravitate towards chicken noodle soups, which actually has proven healing elements along with vegetable soups too (I also love chicken pot pie, which isn’t as healthy.) With a sore throat it’s hard for me to eat just anything, so another thing I found that feels good and is good for me are all fruit and vegetable smoothies. I prefer the smoothies from Jamba Juice, or I follow a modified plan from the 10-day Smoothie Cleanse (I don’t always do it for a full 10 days either.)
There are some other interesting wellness routines that I learned from friends just through talking about how I’ve been feeling and one of them is consuming Oregano Oil. I started doing this twice a day and it made a big improvement. When I started doing this I was already half way through the first two weeks of my cold and my throat was really raw. I was told that the oil burns and to take it in a shot glass with orange juice. That way the orange juice will mask the flavor, but also because the shot glass is small and it’s easier to drink out of without accidentally getting the oil on your lips which would result in a burning sensation. The second shot glass is for another shot of orange juice to help wash down the Oregano Oil. The second shot glass is key! Do not forget this step. What I found works best is to drink the first shot as quickly as possible and then to sip the second shot glass as slowly as possible that way you have the flavor of orange juice in your mouth for longer. I’ve heard that this Oregano Oil trick is so powerful that if you do it too long or too often its powers eventually wear off, so keep this trick in your back pocket and rely on it only once every couple of years when your cold is really bad. Or you can do it before you get sick, but when you feel a cold coming on and it should keep it at bay. Other recommendations that I received from friends is to take Echinacea Goldenseal oil, Elderberry Syrup (if you don’t have an autoimmune disease), Olive Leaf Pills and Garlic Pills to build your immune system.
I must end this blog post by saying that I am not a Doctor. My father is a Pharmacist and I’ve been able to rely on him my entire life when I’m not feeling well. Now as an adult, I have my own insurance and I’m able to go see a Doctor for further prescriptions. Use this blog post as a point of reference, but I suggest seeing your Doctor for further help. I love One Medical, which is a subscription based medical service. I’m able to book Doctors appointments on an app and chat with Doctors on the app too. They even have a tab that shows you all of your prescriptions, which is super helpful when you’re at a specialist Doctor and they ask you for all of your current medications. Through my app, I asked my Doctor why she believes that my cold is in fact a cold and not the flu, she said:
“We are more suspicious of a bacterial infection when you have a fever of >101 that last for more than 48 hours. We also start to get concerned when your symptoms continue to worsen after 10 days of symptoms.
A localized infection to the lungs typically causes a fever with shortness of breath and/or wheezing. A localized infection to the throat causes fever with only symptoms of sore throat (no other cold symptoms). A localized infection to the sinuses cause nasal drainage and sinus pain that worsens after 10 days. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to tell. Our research shows that >95% of upper respiratory infections are caused by virus and not bacteria. With this information, we try not to over prescribe antibiotics as they are not often needed.
It is not easy to determine what is causing your infection, but since it is most likely a virus, we treat your symptoms and wait for you body to fight off the infection.”
Essentially she is saying that she believes my sickness is viral and not a bacterial infection that would require antibiotics because my sickness is passing through my entire system and is not localized to one area. Plus, I didn’t have a fever or shortness of breath. There are bacterial infections going around like strep throat or pneumonia, so if you have signs please go see a doctor and remove yourself from work, the gym, movie theaters, etc. so that you prevent spreading any germs.