Cold/Flu Survival Kit

Well, despite my very best efforts to hold out and not catch the sniffling, coughing cold that Josh had, my efforts were futile. Things around here have been a little hectic lately, so I think my immune system just nope-ed right on out of there and has left me to my own devices. It’s a good thing I have quite a few of them!

Every fall in high school I used to get sick during volleyball season. After the first few times, I got sick of it lingering around (ha, pun) so I kept experimenting around until I found the best remedies for shortening the length of my cold and lessening the symptoms. Here’s what I always rely on during cold season.

Click for Chalkboard Mag’s gentle garlic tips!

1. Garlic

While it might not be the most pleasant of remedies, chomping up some garlic is one of the best natural medicines out there. The key is that is must be raw garlic. Why? Well, aside from all the antioxidants, raw garlic also contains allicin, a powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral compound.

I’ve always just crushed the garlic, chewed for a few seconds, and then swallowed, however I’ve also recently been told that I should rub it a little in the back of my throat to kill off even more bacteria. This article from Chalkboard Mag also suggests that if eating plain raw garlic is a little aggressive for you, try crushing two cloves of garlic, letting them rest for 15 minutes before adding some honey or a touch of olive oil and spreading on a piece of bread.

Airborne
The flavor I’m digging at the moment. Thanks Costco!

2. Vitamin C

I know there has been a lot of debate over whether or not Vitamin C is actually effective at preventing or easing cold symptoms, but I’ve grown up always loading up on Vitamin C, and personally, I feel it has been very effective. Having played sports (lots of germ-y hands on and around me) and now working in a university (hello over 500 kids coming in and out of our classroom everyday), I’m surprised how little I’ve gotten sick. I use both Emergen-C and Airborne, both are great!

This is the neti pot I have – it’s cheap, comes with salt solution, and works great!

3. Neti Pot

Pouring salt water through your nose from one nasal passage to the other sounds a lot more terrible than it actually is. As someone who HATES to get water up my nose (I actually even resort to making a weird puckered fish face to block my nose with my upper lip when I swim… It’s very attractive), I’m surprised I even somewhat like this. To be honest, it’s pretty terrible until you know to expect the feeling, but just the thought of knowing that all that gunk is getting cleared out is enough to make me want to keep doing it. Some people swear by this remedy for good health all year round, cold or no cold, but personally I only do it when I’m sick.

Buttercup Sleeping
Buttercup is never sick – I’m attributing this to her 20 hours per day sleep schedule.

4. SLEEP

Rest actually is super important to getting better! I know us overachievers can sometimes think that we can do anything, and staying up an extra hour isn’t going to hurt, but after constantly hearing about the sleep studies at Stanford (I’ll have to talk more about the importance of sleep debt one of these days…) I’m now adamant about getting my 8 hours at night – and even more when I’m sick. Did people ever tell you “You sleep when you die!” in college? Yeah, that’s not really for me…

Not only does sleep help to bolster your immune system, but lack of sleep has been shown to increase the risk of other mental and physical health problems as well. Researchers from Washington State University dig deeper into this issue, so if you’re interested click here to read about their findings.

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