I rarely get a cold. Having said that, I caught a cold by coming in contact with someone who already had a cold. Doesn’t matter how that virus was passed on to me, it nonetheless took hold. I had the runny nose, sneezing, chest congestion, cough… Nasty little symptoms that we all recognize as the common cold. What I didn’t do is go to the doctor. I don’t have a bacterial infection, so I don’t need the antibiotics that might have been prescribed if I was the type of patient that just wanted a prescription, no matter what. So I dealt with it on my own terms.
I made sure I washed my hands before I handled anything anyone else would touch and after I touched things that anyone else would have touched. I covered my mouth when I coughed. I blew my nose into a tissue and disposed of it properly. I drank plenty of fluids – water to hydrate, tea with honey to soothe my throat. I ate lightly and rested more. So I pretty much did what my mother would have told me to do when I was a child. And the cold went away.
The only thing I did differently than I did as a child is that I use essential oils to help heal naturally. I don’t think they necessarily made me any better but I do think they helped reduce the time I was sick. There’s no scientific studies to provide statistically significant proof but I know what I know. I didn’t take any conventional medicines. I let my body heal itself. That’s the power of the body’s innate wisdom. We are built to heal ourselves against these minor invasions if we just allow it.
I hear of people who have colds or other minor illnesses and they rush to the doctor to get a prescription. Then later I find out that the illness just reoccurs. What I find interesting is that by not taking medications, I give my body the chance to come to its own defenses and not interfere with the natural healing process. I allowed healing by not getting in the way. I rested, allowed my body to recuperate and drifted off to sleep breathing in eucalyptus and wild orange essential oils being diffused into my bedroom.
I think my cold was shorter than most people who tell me that their cold has lingered for a week or more. One thing I think is necessary is to rest. I don’t think I would have gotten a cold in the first place had the person with the virus stayed home and rested rather than coming into a work environment spreading these germs. We need to think sensibly. If you are sick, stay home. If not only for your own health, think of others you will come in contact with and how it will affect them. Again, the same things I learned in my childhood. Most of have heard the same things – drink fluids, get plenty of rest but I don’t take medicines for colds. It’s not going to make it any better any faster. Respect your body’s ability to heal and keep it in top shape so that it maintains the ability to ward off viruses.
For me the top things to do to stay healthy in cold season:
- Stay away from sick people. Seems like common sense, right? But what if you are stuck in a meeting in a closed conference room with someone hacking up their lungs? Either politely excuse yourself and find a way to remove yourself from the area. No one should be forced to sit in a room with someone else who is spreading germs. You might want to politely let your boss know why you left. I generally say that I value my health too much to take a chance on getting really sick. If they can’t respect that, you may want to rethink if the boss is making the right decisions.
- Drink fluids that hydrate – water not coffee or soda. Give you body enough liquid that you won’t be depleted should you get a fever and then keep on drinking to replenish what you lose if you do get a fever.
- Wash your hands. Don’t use antibiotic cleansers! You are just rubbing chemicals on the surface of your skin and remove the naturally protective layer of oils. Use regular soap and water. Yup, same thing mom told you to do.
- Don’t share food, utensils or anything else that touches your food. I’m not a germaphobic but if you eat or drink after anyone with viruses that you may not be aware of, you are susceptible to picking them up. For that reason, I don’t eat at salad bars or any communal food offering. I just don’t take the chance of picking up anyone’s germs if I can avoid it.
- Rest and then rest some more. Don’t go to work because you can make it through like the champ you think you are. The body needs a break when it’s trying to heal. Let it do its job and you’ll be back at work faster than if you push yourself too hard and get depleted.
- Don’t take unnecessary drugs. Inhale aromas that will help you sinuses open, like eucalyptus. Treat yourself kindly and take a warm bath instead of rushing to medicine cabinet to take a pain killer. Let your body relax naturally in warm water. Embrace the tranquility of water flowing over the body.
- Recognize when it’s not a cold or if it something more serious. If you are not naturally getting better in a couple of days, take an inventory of your symptoms. If you think you what you have is more serious than a cold, then seek the advice of your physician.
Always treat yourself kindly. A cold is just a virus not something bad you have done to yourself. I hear people beat themselves up for catching a cold, “If only I had done this’ or “I should have stayed away from this person.” What’s done is done. Take care of yourself and get better.