When I arrived home from my last trip, many of my friends and coworkers were sick and after a couple days I became ill as well. I thought I would share how I get well soon. I have found a wellness routine that seems to help me get back to 100% a lot faster than I use to.
This is another area where I learned the hard way. I came down with something during my first semester in graduate school and just bought a bunch of junk with claims on the packaging to make me feel better. However, it was always a temporary fix. I was sick for nearly 3 months! I am sure the stress and overwhelming emotions I was experiencing did not help, but I was sick for WAY TO LONG!
I finally went to the doctor who gave me simple at home remedies to follow. She told me to stop all cough drops, pills, syrups, etc. because they only mask the symptoms and prevent your body from doing what it needs to do to get well. I was back to normal within a week after focusing on what my body really needed. Here are the things my doctor suggested and are now the ONLY things I follow. I typically get better in a matter of days after starting this routine.
Breathe warm humid air
I will use a vaporizer or humidifier while I sleep and steam up the bathroom while I shower. This helps loosen up congestion and mucus so I can breathe easier. On top of this, if it is cold and dry out, stay indoors as much as possible or breathe through a good scarf. The cold, dry air is not beneficial for your sinuses and throat.
I tend to get sinus infections. Sinus rinsing helps prevent those! It might seem odd to some people, but it works. I like to use the pressure method (a squeeze bottle) over the gravity method (the pot). If I do not have my bottle with me I will purchase nasal saline solution to help irrigate my sinuses.
Warm soothing beverages and plenty of fluids
I focus on soothing my throat rather than preventing my cough since the cough is what helps get rid of mucus. To do this I drink warm, clear, decaffeinated fluids and a lot of it! This is when I really track how much I am drinking. I like to get in more than the recommended 8 cups of water per day in the first place, but I try to at least get in half my body weight in lbs in ounces of clear, decaffeinated fluids per day. Since I weigh 134lbs, that means I try to at least consume 67 oz of water per day. When I am feeling sick I love to drink:
- Herbal tea (Throat Coat – Traditional Medicinals is my favorite)
- Hot water with 1/2 a lemon and 1 tsp pure honey
Why do I focus on warm, clear, decaffeinated fluids while I am sick? Caffeine is a diuretic so it can dehydrate you, creamy fluids have been associated with making mucus worse and warm liquids sooth an irritated throat.
Vitamin rich eating
I try to make the most vitamin rich meals possible while I am sick and recovering from being sick. One way I able to do that even though I tend to loose my appetite while sick is vegetable soups. Whether they are blended or chunky soups, they feel so good on my throat and have so many nutrients to help me get well. I try to include foods with zinc (spinach, flax seeds, garlic, legumes, nuts, etc.), vitamin c (citrus fruits, kale, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, etc.) and b vitamins (nuts, kale, eggs, lentils, potatoes, etc.).
Why not just take a bunch of vitamins? As I get older I am trying to supplement less, especially since supplements are so EXPENSIVE! Why waste my money on something I can get from good nutrition.
Plenty of rest
I have said this before, rest is so important for recovery! I will try to get to bed at least an hour early and if I stay home from work I will take a 20 minute nap when possible. The extra rest not only helps me get well soon, but function better while I am sick. In addition, I lighten up my workouts, especially my cardio, to provide my body with extra energy towards getting well.
Zinc lozenges + Vitamin fizzing drink + Herbal throat drops
These are really the only items I might purchase to aid in getting well or prevent getting sick. The zinc lozenges and vitamin effervescent drink provide me extra vitamins and minerals in case I am not eating or absorbing enough. These are particularly helpful if you can not get in nutrient dense foods. I only take 1 zinc lozenge and vitamin drink mixer per day. I have been told by my doctor that too much of a vitamin can be bad for you. Then I like to take herbal throat drops because sometimes I just cannot drink anymore liquids and need something to sooth my throat. This way I can still cough to get rid of the mucus, but my throat can have some relief.