How to Shorten a Cold

January 3, 2016

Chances are right now you or someone you know has a cold.  It’s probably ruined their holiday weekend.  It ruined mine, but not as much as it could have.  Sure, my head aches, I have chills and my throat feels like it’s been clawed by Wolverine all afternoon, but I don’t have a runny nose and I feel like tomorrow I’ll be able to at least function at work.  That’s screams, “Victory.”

Here are some of the steps I took in order to help stave off the worst of the worst.  I’m not your doctor and I can’t say this exact method will work for you, but it has helped me out. If you’re anything like me you’re willing to try almost anything to feel better:

  1. Cold-Eeze.  These lozenges leave a funky, zinc, metallic aftertaste but it’s the zinc that can help shorten the duration of your cold.  I got a call from my dad saying my mom had come down with a bad cold, so I immediately started sucking down Cold-Eeze.  Each time I heard a cough from my husband, I silently tossed a Cold-Eeze his way.  I feel they help.
  2. Hot showers.  Stay in a long as possible.  Ignore water restrictions and the planet for the next 20 minutes because you’re sick and sick people get instant sympathy points.  Remember that the relaxing, soothing factor will fade fast once you’re out, but if you managed a nice and long shower there’s a good chance you’ll feel rested enough for a nap afterward.
  3. Rest.  Napping your cold away definitely helps your body do something other than hack and phlegm and fight to breathe.  So rest up.
  4. Normalcy.  If you don’t have the luxury of a day off to rest, try to keep as normal as possible.  Many doctors who are on their feet constantly say that the best remedy for a cold is to pop an ibuprofen and keep on with your day.  Ever notice how your nose clears itself when you’re too busy to sit around and mope about not feeling well?  I’d rather be in bed, too, but sometimes you just can’t…and I promise you’ll make it through the day.
  5. Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold.  This is the best over the counter cold medicine I’ve used.  I remember growing up and my mom having me, “Take a Comtrex,” every time I so much as sneezed.  Comtrex didn’t work.  I don’t know if they even make it anymore.  And DayQuil doesn’t work nearly as well as NyQuil.  And Mucinex, for me, costs more than it helps.  But the plop-plop and fizz of Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold seems to seep into my veins faster than anything else.  It’s a must for me.


    7. HOT TONIC.  We concocted the following mix of ingredients into a hot tea/tonic that I’ve been sipping all day.  It tastes sweet and  herbal and has lots of homeopathic benefits, if you’re into natural remedies.  Give it a try.  Hot beverages (avoid dairy) can help you decongest and soothe an achey chest.  Keeping your fluids up is important for flushing away the nasties.


(makes 1-2 large servings you can reheat and sip on for hours)

Combine the following into a measuring cup:

4 cups hot water, just shy of boiling

1 t. fresh ginger root, grated

1/4 t. (really just a pinch) turmeric powder

2 bags decaf green tea

1 t. lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 T. raw honey or agave

Steep everything for 5-10 minutes then strain into a big mug.  I like to strain into a paper coffee filter into my Chemex and then pour cups from there.  If needed, reheat before sipping.

Here’s why this tonic can help:  Turmeric powder has anti-inflammatory properties.  Oregano can help support your immune system and has some antibacterial effects.  Oregano oil is even better than dried oregano, but I doubt most of us have oregano oil in their cupboards.  Raw honey is also considered a natural antibiotic.  Ginger root has been known to help with stomach ailments and can boost your immune system.  Green tea is just a wonder beverage and lemon juice helps your body absorb its benefits a bit better.

Hope you feel better soon.  I think I will.

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