I don’t like being sick, not that anyone really enjoys it. I am terrible about taking care of myself in part because I hate to admit that I’m getting sick. Does anyone remember that episode of Friends where Monica was sick and wouldn’t admit it?? While I’m not to that extreme, I can identify with her angst.
Colds never come at a convenient time. My husband asked me last night, “When is it ever convenient to be sick?” I guess that there is really never a convenient time, but why does it always seem to happen at the least convenient of times? With The Knoxville Coupon Fair coming up this Saturday, I can’t put off self care and prevention. I’m pulling out all of the stops to make sure that this little sniffle doesn’t turn into a full fledged cold.
I thought I’d include some of the steps that I try to take to ward off colds or at least lessen their length. Disclaimer—I’m not a doctor or nurse. I don’t prescribe medications. I’m a couponer. Any information given here is based on my experiences, and as always, you should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new health regimen.
- I’m not a fan of over the counter or prescription medications unless I absolutely need them. Early this morning when I still thought I might be getting out and taking care of business, though, I did take some DayQuil. Isn’t it nice to have a stockpile of free medications on hand if you need them? The first tip is to do just that—have medications, herbal remedies, first aid supplies, and such available in your medicine cabinet. You will find that you can pick up many of these items for free after coupons. No one wants to make a run to the pharmacy when they are feeling under the weather.
- Prevention first. I’ve worked and volunteered in healthcare settings for years—nursing homes and assisted living facilities, psychiatric hospitals, medical floors of hospitals, outpatient facilities, etc. The number one way to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands and often. Before and after I see a client I either wash my hands or use hand sanitizer, preferring the first option whenever possible. I *try* to avoid touching my face with my hands to reduce germs being spread to the eyes, nose, and mouth. Before and after eating, I wash my hands. I wash my hands when I return home from the grocery, work, or the garden. Wipe down places in your house, office or car like keyboards, door knobs, and phones.
- Essential oils. I like keeping essential oils in the house. I’ve found that tea tree oil dabbed on a blemish helps it to heal quicker. I use peppermint oil in with the vinegar and water to mop our floors. (Be sure to keep this out of reach of children because it can be poisonous when ingested in large quantities). For colds, I add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to my bath to help open my airways. Breathing in the steam from the bath has always offered me relief from a stuffy nose. I dab medieval mix or Thieves oil as a prevention against germs.
- Drinks and foods. Our family uses the Immune Defense formula of Emergen-c. They also make a kid-friendly version for children. We like hot ginger tea with honey to help loosen everything up. I can’t explain Ayurvedic medicine in just a few sentences, and I wouldn’t be knowledgeable enough to do so even if I could. Yet, from what I understand of the practices, treat colds with hot as a way of balancing your system. We drink ginger tea, and we eat hot soup. My maternal grandmother who grew up in the hills of middle Tennessee learning herbal remedies and folk cures from her mother who was part Cherokee and her neighbors would recommend the same thing. Also on this same point, we stay away from dairy, sugar-laden, and cold foods when we have upper respiratory symptoms.
- Rest and relaxation. Again, this one is a tough one for me. I’ve found if I can just stay at home when I first notice the cold symptoms then I rest more and am less fatigued. Massages are said to stimulate the lymphatic system and also help. I’m not sure about that last part, but if I can use that as a way to talk my hubby into giving me a shoulder massage, I’ll do it! My dad swears by a bath with Epson salts when you are getting sick. I’ve heard that the magnesium from the salts helps your immune system, though I don’t have more info than that.
- Neti pots and nasal irrigation. I had a very bad experience with a neti pot my first time. I have many friends who say they can’t live without them, but I just can’t bring myself to try again. Therefore I use a saline based nasal spray to help irrigate the nasal passages to reduce the risk of an infection. Gargling with warm salt water has been recommended to me for years by doctors. I try to do so a couple of times a day when I know I’m getting sick.
I’m feeling better already!