Thankfully, I’m not currently fighting a cold *knocks on wood*, but Marc and I are preparing to travel next week which means I want my immune system in good shape. I find the same practices I use to prevent a cold will also help me stay healthy while traveling. I avoid over-the-counter medications the best I can, so I have listed below the practices I use to stay healthy and get better quicker when I do become sick. These are in addition to staying hydrated and rested.
Oregano oil is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-fungal and antiviral properties. If I’m around people that are sick, am sick myself, or am traveling soon I will take oregano oil every day to help me not get sick and kick a cold faster. But be warned – this stuff has an intense taste so don’t take straight out of the dropper like I did the first time I tried it. I prefer to put a couple of drops in a small amount of water.
I don’t drink coffee, so I have become very fond of teas over the years. This is especially true when I am fighting off a cold. Lemon Ginger tea is my favorite to drink while sick. Tea helps relieve sore throats and also increases water/fluids intake.
Lemon & Honey Water
If I don’t feel like drinking tea, a warm cup of lemon and honey water is a perfect alternative. I especially enjoy this when I have a sore throat since the honey relieves it temporarily. Raw honey has antioxidants, is antiviral, and antibacterial which is all helpful when fighting a cold. Also, Lemon is an excellent way to get some vitamin C.
Fruits With Vitamin C
Vitamin C supports a healthy immune system, which can help shorten the length of your cold and lessen the severity. Citrus is my go-to fruit for this, but a bit of variety is nice too. Kiwis, mangoes, and pineapples are other great sources of vitamin C. And better yet, all of these fruits go well together so why not add them all to a smoothie?
Garlic is antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal so it’s pretty powerful for preventing and fighting colds. I will typically eat raw garlic cloves whole, but I have found taking garlic pills is a good alternative. This is especially important to me before I travel. Typically two weeks before a trip, I will be sure to eat some version of raw garlic every day.
Ginger helps with inflammation and supports the immune system, so it the perfect food whether preventing or fighting a cold. I will either eat a small amount of ginger raw or juice it.
For me, congestion and coughs are typically the symptoms of colds that always linger. When I’m sick, these symptoms feel like they last forever. I find that steam from a very hot shower relieves those annoying, lingering symptoms, and helps me relax. Wrap some eucalyptus leaves around your shower-head, and you have an even more powerful congestion-fighting shower. The heat and steam from the shower helps release the natural oils in the plant, which aid in soothing congestion. It also smells amazing.
Salt Water Gargle
This is 100% my least favorite item on this list, but I keep doing it because it’s so effective. It reminds me of when I would lose a tooth as a child, and my dad would have me gargle warm salt water to minimize the bleeding. It would always work but was never an enjoyable process. Gargling salt water when I’m sick helps relieve my sore throat and breaks up mucus. I typically dissolve ½ a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water.
Using essential oils and diffusing them helps to relieve some of my cold symptoms. For a stuffy nose, I will rub eucalyptus oil under my nose. For a headache, I will put peppermint oil on my temples. For muscle pain, I will use clove oil to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Always Blow Your Nose
I’ll keep this one short and less descriptive, but always blow your nose and cough when you need to while fighting a cold. I know this is my body’s way of telling me it wants to get things out, so I’m not going to stop it.
The above practices have helped me fight colds and not get sick, but we are all different. What works for me might not work for everyone. I am also not a doctor, so be sure to check with one beforehand.