Did anyone else catch a cold recently? Labor day has passed and the Autumn season is here. That means school is in session and the weather gets a little cooler. That also means a rise in people getting sick. More people will now start catching colds and getting the flu, including the author of this post, who is currently dealing with a sinus infection (read: I caught a cold). So now that I have a cold, what do I do? Here I’ll outline what I do and Don’t Do when I catch a cold.
Step 1: I do NOT use over the counter or prescription medication when I catch a coldI understand why people take these medications and this is not an attack by any means. I choose not to take these because it means that the medications are stopping my body from doing what it’s supposed to do. The mucus is trying to rid my body of dead cells. The fever is trying to kill off the infection. Why would I want to stop the process that is designed to get me better? When I catch a cold, I want my body to do what it needs to do. Also, I don’t seek out prescription medications either since antibiotics are not effective against a virus.
Step 2: I rinse my sinuses
Having a head cold isn’t comfortable. There’s a lot of mucus buildup and you can’t seem to get it out, no matter how many times you blow your nose. Also, blocked sinuses can lead to headaches. Some people use a neti pot. I personally prefer a squeeze bottle. Fill the bottle with warm water and a small bit of salt to prevent a burning sensation. Plug into one nostril and squeeze to flush out through the other. Keep doing this periodically throughout the day to really clear out the mucus. Also, the salt in the water will help loosen up thicker mucus. I don’t like neti pots because of the angle of your head and neck it requires.
Step 3: I take the right vitamins
Everyone will swear by Vitamin C. I’m not going to disagree. But I will also take a lot of extra Vitamin D (D3 gelcaps, specifically). Vitamin D is also necessary in immune function. Also, if you have a cough or you feel like a cold has hit your lungs, then take extra amounts of Vitamin A as your lungs use up Vitamin A when your lungs are inflamed. When you first catch a cold, it typically hits the sinuses first and the lungs later.
Step 4: I use natural decongestants and cough suppressants.
Instead of using an over the counter medication, I’ll use natural ingredients to offer the same effects, with none of the side effects. I understand that having a plugged up nose is no fun. So I opt to use peppermint crystals or peppermint essential oil to help clear my nose. Tastes amazing and doesn’t dry out my sinuses. Also, for a cough, studies have shown that honey should be used first for your throat before medications.
Step 5: I stay warm
There’s been a lot of back and forth about being cold and catching a cold. Let’s make this clear: Being Cold does NOT give you a cold. Catching a cold is a viral infection. BUT lowering your body temperature has shown to lower your overall immune function, which makes you more susceptible to an infection. Also, if your body is feverish, stay warm to help keep your overall body temperature higher to help kill off the infection.
Step 6: I get enough rest
We live in a 24 hour lifestyle cycle and life doesn’t seem to ever slow down. When you catch a cold, it can be a real burden. Don’t forget to take care of yourself and let yourself heal. Your body has two neurological states: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic. Sympathetic can be described as the well known “Fight or Flight” state. Parasympathetic is when your body can recover, also known as the Rest and Digest, so the opposite of Sympathetic. Your body needs time to recover and heal. You are important and deserve to feel and be healthy. I dedicate my days off to healing and reschedule what isn’t absolutely necessary to another day. Don’t feel bad about taking some time for yourself.
Step 7: I Get Adjusted!
What would a chiropractor do? I absolutely will follow my own advice. Why wouldn’t I want my nervous system to be running at 100%? Why wouldn’t I want my body to function optimally? Colds aren’t fun, but it means my body is working. So getting adjusted to keep my body working properly makes perfect sense. Will it make me immediately not “sick”? Of course not. But I’ll begin healing better. And that’s the most important step to take.
With all of these steps, there is an important caveat that if I have an elevated temperature for an extended period of time, then I’ll seek further help. But if I’m dealing with the common cold, then I’m going to follow my steps to relieve my symptoms and help my body get through this.
I hope everyone gets through this season without catching a cold. But if you do, try out these steps so you’ll get through it faster and with less sick days used.