A knock-you-down and sap-your-soul cold is making the rounds. It’s the type that you can’t call in sick for. “Sorry boss, I need to take the next three weeks off.”
But for what seems like all fall I’ve wondered how on Earth did such a malady set up camp inside my chest and sublet rooms in my throat, head, ears, and bones.
Since I’ve just survived this killer flu-like whopper, I felt compelled to share some survival tips, since my doctor told me to suck it up and wait it out.
1.) SOUP, LOTS OF SOUP: I prefer chicken soup, but some with ground up sausage has given me a bit of a boost lately. What’s the secret? Hot soup helps break up the congestion associated with both colds and the flu, says one doctor. The salt factor helps, too. Plus, it takes your mind off how lousy you feel.
2.) AVOID BEING HORIZONTAL: The moment my head hit the pillow I couldn’t stop coughing. Instead, I made a small mountain out of all the pillows my wife didn’t have (she had the cold too, more on that next.) That kept me propped up and helped on the worst nights. I used this trick with my kids, too, when they were young.
3.) CARE FOR YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER: The downside of the three-week cold is everyone in your home will probably catch it … so be nice! Take care of each other. I recommend grilled-cheese sandwiches for all. Plus, they go well with soup.
4.) COUGH DROPS: Either my colleagues were sick of my coughing (probably) or just felt bad … so they tossed over cough drops. They work, somewhat. It’s also a good way to get your mind off the cold and on how terrible some cough drops taste.
5.) BE POLITE: Take the opportunity to cough into your hand or shirt sleeve. Sneeze away from co-workers. Do your work and go. You want people feeling sorry for you, not hating the fact you spread this three-week, semi-death sentence around the office.
6.) GET SOME SUN: Take short walks in the sun. It seemed to work for me. Research shows vitamin D … not C … helps battle colds and the flu. Sunlight boosts immunity. It warms your face and beats being trapped in your stuffy bedroom. I still drank a lot of orange juice, but it wasn’t my go-to drink.
7.) TEA AND HONEY: The combination is second only to soup. I swear by local honey and your basic Tetley tea. No milk, just tea and honey. Honey and lemon tea, I’m told, is also good. I opted to try lemon in other means, because it’s also a boost when you have the cold. Lemon chicken seemed to work.
8.) CRASH ON DAYS OFF: The key to surviving the three-week cold is to pace yourself. Just die on days off. Rest is the best remedy. Ask everyone around you to stay away and just crash in the most comfortable spot you can find.
9.) FIND A GOOD PHARMACIST: I was dragging so badly I went to various pharmacies to quiz the pharmacists about their over-the-counter favorites. I won’t mention the stores (take out an ad), but I came away impressed by a few. I tried all the top brands. Soup beat them all, but I’ll let you be the judge of what may work for you.
10.) IT WILL END: My doctor was right, my cold is almost over. I remained positive and kept telling myself this monster of a cold would go away. But, see a doctor. I did. Just make sure this killer cold isn’t worse than it feels. I hope this helped. Good luck!