The zombie apocalypse is here. I’ve joined the hoards of red-eyed, drooling, moaning undead spreading the virus to anyone that gets in its way. Suffering from sneezing, coughing, and a stuffy nose, I’ve fallen victim to long nights of little sleep, a snowy mountain of crumpled tissues and a red nose that Rudolph would give his jingle bells for. In short, I have a cold.
But unlike a zombie virus, this one will have a happy ending. It may take a week or so but those symptoms that make me look as good as I feel will begin to fade. And although I hope to never see another cold again, it’ll be back. I don’t know how or when, but it will be there when I least expect it. And I’ll be ready with a few secret cold hacks up my sleeve!
Over the course of one too many afflictions I’ve learned two things; there is nothing that will shorten the course of a cold (although the amount of time per person may vary between 7 to 10 days); you don’t have to give yourself up to the symptoms.
Here are my 5 remedies to the common cold:
1. Do Some ‘Shrooms
Everyone, and their mom, will tell you to eat garlic at the first sign of a cold. The antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties can’t be beat. But adding mushrooms to your garlic will double the immune fighting properties.
If you can get your hands on some shitake, maitake, or even button mushrooms, fry them in a bit of butter, adding loads of raw garlic. The garlic should be as raw as you can handle so add it toward the end of the cooking process. Sprinkle with pepper, salt and parsley and you have the perfect cold busting snack! Repeat as often as you can.
2. Give the Clown Nose a Rest
To soothe the burning redness and dry flaking skin on my nose I use an antibiotic ointment instead of regular lotion or plain vaseline. Normally made for scratches and cuts on other parts of the body, the antibiotic works well on healing the skin around my nose, while the gel soothes and smooths the skin.
3. Blowing Sucks
A stuffed nose is not caused by mucus but by the inflammation of the nasal wall and expansion of blood vessels. Irritating the nasal passages by blowing too hard will only cause it to feel more stuffed. Instead, I try to pat my runny nose when I can. But when I have no choice but to blow, I hold each nostril shut as I gently blow out of the other.
I also add cold compresses to my nose to ease the inflammation and constrict the blood vessels. You’ll find that hot foods and direct steam will actually make a stuffed nose feel worse.
4. Soup On Steroids
Hot chicken soup is good for the soul and the stomache at any time. But when I have a cold and my throat is sore, amping up this homemade remedy is key.
I simmer chicken broth (you can use homemade or carton) with carrots and garlic until they are soft enough to smoosh with a fork. I mash them gently in the soup with a potato masher. Then I add honey, lemon juice from a whole lemon, ginger, and a pinch of cayenne. I drink this warm concoction throughout the day to soothe my throat and keep hydrated.
5. Fake It Til You Make It
When I feel my worst, I try to look my best. A big believer in the power of positive thinking, I try to make the best of my sick days, even when I’m home-bound. I take a shower, put on a little makeup, get into some cute lounge wear and take a little time to indulge in something enjoyable. Pretending I’m not sick can do wonders – I’ve seen my Mom do it her whole life.
And there you have my 5 remedies for the common cold. So go ahead, give these a try the next time the “zombie” virus has you in its clutches!