Friday, 21 November 2014

How to: Defeat a Cold

I am writing this post from my sick bed today as I have a cold - although hopefully by the time this post goes live I'll have made a full recovery thanks in part to some of these tips and tricks that I'm going to share with you today. Theses are a mixture of home remedies and old fashioned common sense. If you have any of your own tips to share, you can tweet me @VickiMaitland or leave a comment below!

1) Recognise the signs. A cold rarely arrives without warning, so as soon as you start to feel the start of a tickley throat or a running nose take precautions.

2) Rest. I cannot stress this one enough, but taking the time out to do nothing is the best way to allow your body to recover. This might means missing the odd night out, calling in sick from work or school, and spending an inordinate amount of time in your bed/on the sofa. I didn't listen to this advice, and even though I knew I was getting a cold I still went out for the weekend - and have been suffering badly ever since.

3) Fresh air. This might appear contradictory to what I've just said, but taking a few deep breaths of lovely fresh air can really help you feel better - even as a placebo.

4) Vitamins. I'm not suggesting taking supplements, but make sure you're packing yourself full of leafy greens and citrus fruits. I tend to go into what I call 'scurvy mode' and eat endless oranges in search of a vitamin C kick.

5) Water. Keeping on top if your fluid intake is essential at any time of the year, but its even more important when you've got a cold. I've found that drinking thyme water (infusing a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme or a teaspoon of dried thyme into hot water) is a great way to aid recovery. Thyme is full of vitamin C, and you know how I love my VitC!

6) Honey, Lemon and Ginger. Perfect for a sore throat and with a ginger kick to clear out a blocked nose, this is a perfect mixture. You can mix these wonderful fresh ingredients and (weirdly for honey, I know) store this in the fridge ready to be stirred into hot water for your own makeshift tea. Lovely.

7) Steam inhalation. Pour a kettle full of freshly boiled water into a heat-proof bowl and sit over it, tking deep breaths in through your nose and out your mouth (with a tea towel over your head to trap all that lovely steam). Be careful not to sit with your head too close to the water at first, as the steam can burn. This is my mum's tried and tested way to help clear out a blocked nose or loosen phlegm on the chest and throat. Just make sure to have a box of tissues nearby!

8) Balsam tissues. This won't help your cold get better quicker (although frequently clearing out your sinuses will help - as disgusting as this sounds always blow rather than swallow!!) but using a tissues with built in balm will protect your poor nose and stave off the Rudolph look for as long as possible.

9) Shower or bath. This might sound odd, but having a shower always makes me feel a little healthier. The hot water warms the bodies extremities, and the steam it produces is like a mini steam inhalation and helps clear out your blocked sinuses.

10) Food. Whenever I get a cold I lose my appetite immediately, and as my blood sugar drops I feel more and more poorly. To stop this from happening, eat little and often. You may not be able to manage big meals (although I'm always surprised about how hungry I really am) but keep up your blood sugar.

11) Drugs. Don't be afraid of taking paracetamol or ibuprofen. They can be taken at the same time, so I normally take one, wait two hours, then take the other as they both have four hour turn around so I'm always topped up. Don't rely on these, but, if you have a busy day that you can't get out of, these can really take the edge off your illness. You might still be snuffling and coughing but at least you won't feel so disgusting.

12) Salt Water. If you think you've got some kind of throat related illness, try gargling some warm salt water two or three times a day. It has antibacterial properties, so is a great way to ward off illness.

I hope this helps some of you! As for me, this has tuckered me out, so I'm going to go have a nap. Tuesday's post will be my answers to Tom Fletcher's Fifteen Festive Favouite's Tag, so you can check that out whilst you wait.

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