We’ve all been there. You’ve been there, I’ve been there, and actually, I am currently there. Sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, lack of energy, and overall feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck. I think one of the signs that I am sadly getting older is that I don’t bounce back from sleepless nights or infections the way that I used to in my teens and early 20’s. The nonstop traveling the past month, as fun as it was, finally caught up to me and I’ve come down with a nasty cold, more specifically, an upper respiratory tract infection (URI). Funny, I don’t remember colds knocking me out and making me bedridden the way this one has, but again, I think I just don’t recover the way I once did.
As I’m reviewing what to do to nurse myself back to health as quickly as possible from this cold, I wanted to share some of these tips with you. Some nasty bug is going around, so wash your hands, keep your distance from sick people, and remember to sleep and drink adequate amount of fluids!
- For uncontrollable coughing: Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant and that is in many over the counter preparations such as Nyquil. I’ve been taking Nyquil in the evening because it also contains antihistamines which helps me stay asleep for a long period of time.
- Sore throat: gargle with salt water (1 teaspoon salt in 1 cup of water) to clean out the mucus that irritates your throat, making it sore and causing you to cough.
- Dehydration: Being sick is dehydrating – fever causes you to lose moisture through sweating in an attempt to cool off, sneezing and coughing means you’re expelling fluid through your mouth and nose, diarrhea or vomiting (not usual in a URI but if you have some other virus) contributes to fluid loss, and you’re probably not eating and drinking as much as you are accustomed to since you’re feeling crummy. Make sure to get plenty of fluids and replenish your body with what’s lost.
- Fever, muscle aches: This one really took me by surprise because usually colds make me sniffly, a little tired, but I can still function. Yesterday and today I keep marveling at how I actually feel like I’ve been hit by a truck and can barely move or get out of bed. For these symptoms I recommend Tylenol regular strength 2 pills every 6 hours or Aleve 1 tab every 8 hours.
- Stuffy nose: Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) helps to relieve congestion by constricting the blood vessels in the nose. Constriction of the blood vessels means less fluid leaves the vessels to go into the nose and sinuses, thus reducing inflammation, mucus production, and that feeling of “stuffiness.”
- DON’T SMOKE. This will only aggravate your airways and worsen your mucus production and breathing problems. Actually, don’t ever smoke in general, because it causes a whole host of medical problems that you do NOT want to have to deal with later down the line.
Last but not least, remember to sleep a ton (I mean it. More than 15 hours a night) and give your body proper rest so your immune system is recharged and ready to fight off the infection.
Stay healthy, and get well soon if you are sick like me!