I’ve been sick for the better part of five days now. No herbal remedy or commercial medication has touched this.
Every year around this time, when all the kids come back to college, they convene at the coffee shop that I manage, and bring germs with them from all over the world. And when these germs create a superbug, affectionately known as “The Freshman Crud,” no amount of science or herbs is going to even put a dent in it. You just need to ride it out.
But… there are some ways to feel better and be more comfortable while you’re nursing yourself back to health from an illness like this.
Feel Better! Ways to be more comfortable while sick
I’ve found a few things that take the sting out of an illness. These aren’t treatments, but soothing ways to help your body cope better.
Stay in bed
I know it seems simple, but staying in bed will help you feel better. Just the act of lying down will help you feel more comfortable.
Use a weighted blanket
There are weighted blankets on the market now for people with anxiety issues. They work great for comforting your body during an illness too. (Find them here.) Don’t want to buy one? Pile a comforter on top of your regular blankets.
Flannel sheets can help warm up the body faster. Most are cotton which is more comfortable than polyester when the sweats/chills set in.
It’s hard to relax when you can’t breathe right. Use a nasal inhaler for stuffy noses. You can make your own with this recipe, or pick one up at the drug store.
Draw your curtains. A dark room can help you cope better – similar to the way darkness helps when suffering from a migraine.
Eat chicken soup! Yes, your mother was right. I’m not sure if it’s the spices, the broth soothing my throat, or the warmth in my belly, but chicken soup always makes me feel better.
Soda crackers can help soak up fluids in your stomach. I get post nasal drip with a cold and end up nauseated from the mucus in my stomach. The crackers really help with this issue.
Don’t keep yourself from vomiting if you really feel like you have to vomit. It’s your body’s way of ridding itself of something that shouldn’t be there, like the mucus.
Avoid pasteurized dairy
It’s been thought for a long time that milk causes mucus, but now it’s become more clear that pasteurized milk is an irritant that causes your body to produce more mucus as a defense mechanism. Raw milk contains beneficial organisms and shouldn’t cause this problem.
Use lip balm on your lips and under your nose. Your lips will get cracked and dried out, while all that blowing will leave your nose red and chapped. Lip balm helps in both cases.
Drink plenty of water to ensure you stay well hydrated. Water is essential for flushing toxins out of your body.
If allergies are the problem, use a neti pot to flush pollen and other irritants out of your nasal passages. (Find them here.)
Drink what feels good. If your throat feels better with hot drinks, stick with herbal tea and hot cider. If it feels better with cold, try orange juice or water with a bit of salt and fruit. I make my own homemade sports drink this way.
I recently read an article that I was skeptical about, saying that the bromaline in pineapple juice helps relieve a cough. Well, the cough I’ve had for four days is nearly gone now, thanks to some fresh pineapple I’ve been eating.
Try increasing the temperature in your room or use an electric blanket. My dog, Sadie, works both as a heated blanket and a weighted blanket. And it’s a comfort that makes me feel better while she’s near me.
I don’t know one person who doesn’t feel better after a hug. Just be careful not to do it when you’re in the contagious stage.
My family relied on the old fashioned hot toddy. Mix powdered orange juice (there are all natural ones available), tea, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and some fresh ginger. Use whatever proportions you like, to taste. Mix all ingredients in some hot water and drink very warm. Bourbon optional!
Dry air causes our sinus passages to dry out and crack, making us miserable. Try adding moisture to the air with a humidifier or the shower.
Be sure to check with a doctor before mixing prescribed meds with herbal supplements. I take an elderberry tincture daily, but I’m not on anything else.
Ditch the hand sanitizer
I know some of you won’t agree with this, but hand sanitizer was created to replace soap and water. If you are resting at home, you have access to soap and water. All hand sanitizer does is dry out hands allowing cracks to form, which bacteria can get into. The CDC is getting ready to (or already has, by now) recommend that people NOT use hand sanitizer. Some of the ingredients, like Triclosan, are banned in some countries. Natural homemade hand sanitizer is fine to use, but shouldn’t replace hand washing if a sink is available.
Wash your hands often. Use a moisturizer after washing to prevent drying out. Still worried about germs? Add a few drops of grapefruit, peppermint, lavender, or tea tree essential oil to each squirt of hand moisturizer. They are all antimicrobial and will help in killing germs.
Do you have any other ways to feel better and stay comfortable while you’re sick? Tell us about it!