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11 Self-Care Tips for the Cold Season

30-Day Self-Care Challenge (Part III) Day 28

Self-care is your best defense during cold season which tends to run from September until March or April.

Because colds are caused by viruses, there is no cure for the common cold. Antibiotics do not kill these viruses and can lead to resistant strains of bacteria. Prevention is the best approach to combat the cold virus. However, once it’s taken hold, the best you can do is try to minimize your symptoms. The following self-care tips should help.

At Home Self-Care

  1. GARGLE with salt water to help soothe a sore throat. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of plain salt in a glass of very warm water.
  2. Increase FLUIDS such as water, juice, hot tea, soups, etc. Hot liquids can help relieve nasal congestion & soothe a sore throat.
  3. WASH your hands often.
  4. EAT regular, well-balanced meals.
  5. STAY HOME and get more REST. SLEEP at least 7-9 hours per night.
  6. If you have trouble sleeping because of stuffy nose or nasal drainage, use extra pillows to PROP yourself up at a 45° angle.
  7. Use soothing music, peaceful surroundings, rest, and/or a fun book to relax and combat pain.
  8. AVOID smoke & alcohol. They can aggravate and prolong symptoms.
  9. Take HOT steamy SHOWERS — helps suppress coughs and loosen congestion.
  10. Use HUMIDIFIER or VAPORIZER to keep air moist and sooth irritated nasal and throat passages.
  11. Use a MENTHOLATED OINTMENT around your nose. This will help open breathing passages and soothe irritated skin.

If your symptoms do not gradually improve within 7 days and/or you experience other symptoms, see your health care provider.

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  1. Lena L. West says:

    Hi Cheryl:

    As someone who just got over a three-week knock-down-drag-out fight with the flu combined with pink-eye and tonsillitis, I can say this is sound advice.

    I would add that you can gargle with very warm, salt water AND a dash of plain or apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is better, but whichever you have is fine don’t get hung up on the details. Also, its important to gargle often. Doing it once doesn’t cut it. Try 3-4 times per day.

    Also, those HOT showers help a lot! I know, people say that hot showers dry out your skin. Yeah, yeah. You aren’t taking hot showers forever so it won’t hurt to really get the steam going. When I was sick, one of the only things that made me feel better was taking a hot shower. And, if you feel guilty about the environment, it’s OK to make a donation to offset your carbon impact. I realize that we all can’t pay our way to a healthy planet, but keep in mind our planet needs WELL people to help it heal.

    If you don’t have a humidifier, you can keep a bowl of water in your bedroom. Feel free to add essential oils like lavender or peppermint. Refresh the water every other day. It’s not the same as a humidifier, but it beats nothing.

    As for a stuffy nose I have a last resort home remedy that works like a charm. Put some slightly warm water (not warm like for gargling) in a cup and add a pinch of salt (not a lot) and stir to dissolve. Take this cup to the bathroom and put your head over the sink. Put a little of the salt water in the palm of your hand and sniff up your nose. You can do one nostril at a time if you want, but I like to do both to get it over with. It will feel like you’re drowning. The salt water will come out of your mouth (hey, it has to come out somewhere). And, if you’ve been blowing your nose a lot, it might sting a touch (it’s not too bad, I’m not into pain), but if you’re sick of breathing with your mouth open so much so that your mouth is bone dry and if you’d finally like to get a good night’s sleep, then you’ll do it. It takes about 30 seconds and you’ll get relief all night/day. Guaranteed.

    Oh, and be prepared with plenty of tissue to blow your nose afterward because everything loosens and comes out straight away.

    If you have a neti pot, it makes nasal washing that much easier.

    And, lastly, sleep your life away! Well not really, but really. It’s OK to sleep all day. Remember when we sleep our body repairs itself. So, the more sleeping, the more repairing!

  2. Tell it sister! This is one of those instanses when we all get the benefit of someone else’s misfortune. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your experience and your fabulous tips!

    Your point about sleep is well taken. Sleep! Sometimes we get sick just to force us to sleep.

    Glad you’re feeling better. You get the October Self-Care Award! Cheryl

  3. OK so I need to slow down and check my spelling – “instances” :)

  4. Lena L. West says:

    Thanks, Cheryl!

  5. Lena – one more thought about the nasal snorting :) I like to add a tiny bit of baking soda to soften the water – it stings less but still does the job. Cheryl

  6. Lena L. West says:

    Good idea! Thanks, I’ll try this next time!

    -Lena





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