Cold Season Is Upon Us!

2 years ago I caught the H1N1 virus.  I was determined not to end up another statistic in the hospital like so many others.  While it still took me 3 weeks to beat the bug, I never had it settle in my lungs which was the number 1 concern.  As a writer I work from home so could take frequent naps, but I also listened to all the advice I could and tried to sift it down into what was most important.  The following is just an overview of the information I've collected.

1.  Don't cough!  I know that sounds harsh, but the truth is where most people end up in trouble is secondary infections.  Coughing irritates the throat and lungs.  There are so many choices from prescription cough syrup to honey concoctions to deal with this problem.  It may not be the best for your teeth, but when all else fails, sucking on a cough drop all day slows or stops the cough. Just be sure and check the label for those that have a daily maximum.

2.  Up your vitamin C.  This can come from many sources including my recipe for a hot lemon/ginger/honey beverage below.  I also drink Orange Juice, but dilute it with water so that I can keep adding that small amount constantly over the course of the day.  I usually mix it about 1/3 OJ with 2/3 water with a few ice cubes thrown in, but you can adjust it to you taste.

3.  Slow down.  You don't want to become a slug, but at the same time you don't want to expose everyone you know and it's definitely time to cut back on the hard core exercise.  My husband insisted on riding his bike to work while having the H1N1 and it wasn't pretty.  Take care of yourself.

4. Hot Bath.  One important thing is to keep your sinuses as clear as possible.  A super hot steamy bath helps everything loosen up.  While you're soaking, take deep breaths of the moist fog. I found a more effective way to make this fog recently.  I sit in the plugged tub with the shower curtain drawn and the shower option turned on to fill the bath.  I can lean forward and actually let the spray hit the back of my neck and breath in the steam.  This form of filling the tub creates twice as much steam as using the spout and the closed shower curtain turns the bath into your own personal sauna.  My significant other swears that sipping a dram of quality scotch while soaking in a hot bath helps.  I have no idea as I'm not a scotch drinker, but he certainly seems happy afterwards.

5.  Decongestant!  Alright, I know we're all in the age of avoiding things like this but decongestant can make a difference.  The less of a drip going down that throat the better and keeping your sinuses as empty as possible avoids a secondary infection.  I keep my dose at the minimum suggested and try and stretch it out to 3 doses a day - one in the morning, one late afternoon and one at bedtime.  Of the 3, the bedtime one is the most important because ugly things happen over night when you're laying down.  Take it as late as possible.  If you only take one dose, do it at bedtime.

Now for some naturopathic things people have shared with me.  Some I have tried, some I am trying starting today as I am determined this cold will have a short shelf life while upping my immunity for the next year.

Home Brew - I love this as it warms me and soothes my throat.
Fill pot with water.
Wash 1 lemon and cut into thin slices with rind included
Peel 1/2" fresh ginger and cut into thin slices.
Add both to pot of water
Let simmer on stove for at least an hour, then keep warm and sip throughout day.
Add Honey to your home brew to taste after pouring in a cup.  If you add it to the pot earlier, the simmering can destroy it's medicinal value.

New recipe - I just received this one and am going to try it starting today -
Take 1 tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder daily for 3 days.  This process will cut most chronic cough and colds and clear the sinuses.

Oil of Oregano
I cannot tell you how many people have shared this with me, but they all swear by it.  The problem I've run into is that it leaves a strong taste in your mouth.  Some put it under their tongues or mix it in drinks, but I've found myself tasting it for hours.  I finally found what works for me and that is tipping my head back and putting the drops at the very back of my throat - way past the taste buds.  It still is strong, but the taste passes much more quickly.

Zinc Throat Lozenges.  This one came to me from the cashiers at my local Safeway.  Every time they got a scratchy throat this was their go to way to stop it in it's tracks.  You don't want zinc tablets, you want the kind you suck on.  They look a little bit like a fruity flavoured Tums.  The brand the cashier gave me is by Sunkist and has mixed fruit flavours.  I just started taking them so have no comment at this time as to whether they help or not.

If all else fails it's important to remember each time we get sick we build up immunity for the next time around.  After having the H1N1 virus, I was the iron maiden for 2-1/2 years. Nothing could touch me. So we do need to have our immune system challenged occasionally.  Just make sure that it lasts only as long as needed to help your body fight future viruses.