I’ve learned the hard way (more than once, unfortunately) that you can eat all the right foods and take all the right supplements, but if you don’t get sufficient sleep, your body will crash and burn every time. I have a long history of sleep problems and it’s a constant struggle for me.  The only times I get sick is when I’ve had several bad nights of sleep and my immune system is compromised. Your immune system crashes without enough sleep!!!

My last cold came about a week before I was leaving for vacation.   My symptoms started with one nostril getting really stuffy.  That quickly turned into both nostrils, plus lots of sneezing.  All I wanted to do was stay in bed - which is impossible for a mom of young kids!  I determined that I was NOT going to be sick on my trip.  I launched straight into my get-well-soon system.  After two days, I was well!

While this post is definitely not medical advice and you should always consult your own doctor with concerns, I hope you'll find these tips useful and bookmark this post so it's handy next time a cold shows up!

1) SWEET’S ELDERBERRY SYRUP - This should be obvious, ha!  I drank a tablespoon every 3 hours when awake.  I also took a swig when I woke up in the middle of the night.  This dosage is right for adults and bigger kids/teens.  Smaller kiddos (over twelve months) should do a teaspoon.

2) SLOW DOWN - While I had a million things to accomplish before leaving town, I slashed my to-do list and did the bare minimum.  I rested and didn't feel bad about not being more productive - my body needed it!  Sing that horrible Daniel Tiger song: “When you’re sick, rest is best... rest is best.”

3) DETOX BATHS - I think I took about 3 of these!  Get the water as hot as you can stand, then add 1 cup of Epsom Salts (buy at Costco in bulk) and 1/2 cup of baking soda (get the big bag at Costco).  Because of my congestion, I added a few drops of Doterra Breathe essential oil. (Young Living RC is also a favorite.) I put the Epsom Salts in my hand and then add the drops of oil in the salt, not directly into the water.  I can’t remember why... just read it somewhere.  (I’ve also read that you can add 4T of ginger to the bath, but haven't tried that yet.) Soak for as long as you can and be sure to drink a couple glasses of water.

4) INFRARED AND SALT ROOM:  I visited KUR Health Spa in Charlotte for this, and absolutely loved it. I wish I could have gotten in earlier, but couldn’t make it happen with school hours.  I went at the tail-end of my cold and left feeling 100%, so this was what I needed to finish it off.  Infrared is a powerful way to “sweat it out.”  Saunas bring up your core body temperature, producing an artificial fever which can combat the growth of the virus. The salt room was AWESOME.  The particles are small enough to be inhaled into the deepest part of the lungs, penetrating through the bronchial tree and into the alveoli.  Clinical studies show that inhaling dry salt aerosol reduces inflammation of the whole respiratory tract.  AMAZING.

It is HOT in the infrared and you sweat like crazy. I am so glad the bed keeps your head out.  I couldn't handle it otherwise!  I spent 30 minutes at level 7.
I LOVE the salt room - the Himalayan wall changes colors, very soothing. Good magazines too!  
5) ESSENTIAL OILS - When I was chilling on the couch at home, I diffused respiratory-support essential oils.  (Try Breathe from Doterra or RC from Young Living.)  I moved my diffuser next to my bed so I could breathe it all night too.  In addition, I diluted the essential oil with coconut oil and put a bit on my chest and the bottoms of my feet. 
David at KUR Health Spa told me this cool tip: Wet a cotton pad and put a couple drops of oil on it.  Drop the pad in a little cup.  Voila!  Portable diffuser!  Carry it around with you or keep in your car's cup holder.  I carried mine around and inhaled from it often.Wet a cotton pad, add a few drops of oil and voila, your own little portable diffuser to inhale!


6) SALINE NASAL SPRAY - When I was in Austria, I bought a nose spray from the salt mines there.  I sprayed it up my nose a few times a day.  Saline nasal spray helps flush mucus and bacteria, and adds moisture to help combat stuffiness, congestion, and further infection.  Dry noses are a safe haven for germs!  You'll find recipes to make your own at home, but for safety you might want to consider a storebought version with purified water.


7) SINUS RINSE - I really like NeilMed Sinus Rinse because it feels so productive.  You get out SO much gunk. It’s a weird feeling the first time you do it, but give a chance. I always warm up the water.  DO NOT USE TAP WATER.  Use distilled water.  One of my best friends tried to make her own salt solution and it was a bad scene... it really burned!  I just get the packets from Neil Med.

7) WET SOCK TRICK - Dr. Cammy Benton, my integrative physician, told me about this trick. It sounds weird, but try it anyway!  I’m a total sucker for old wives' tales!  Here is what you’ll need - wool socks, regular socks, Breathe/RC essential oil, ice water, and a very hot bath. I did this before I hung out on the couch and again before bed.

  1. Soak the regular pair of socks in a bowl of ice water.
  2. Fill up the bath with the hottest water you can handle - just enough to cover your feet.  Soak your feet for a couple minutes, until they turn red.
  3. Put Breathe or RC essential oil on the bottom of your feet, using a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba.  
  4. Wring out the wet, ice-cold socks and put them on.  (I know, I know... just keep going!)
  5. Cover the wet socks with the woolen socks.  
  6. Go to sleep!
    I hope you'll try some of these tricks if you catch a cold.  Let me know how they worked for you!
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