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Cold season is here and it’s only a matter of time until you have to deal with that annoying cold bug. But do not fret just yet! Just follow my tips and you will fight off this thing like a champ.
Brr! It’s getting cold here on the East Coast!
Soon we will all start noticing those among us that are rocking that “cold season look”: watery eyes, red runny nose and that no energy posture that is so particular to those poor souls that are suffering from the cold bug bite. ???
Oh, I know quite a bit about that subject. Even though I am not one to get sick easily, I grew up with someone that does. My dad! That poor guy gets a cold per month and suffers through every possible symptom in the book. It is even a family joke now, whenever he doesn’t attend a party or family gathering, people ask: “Zé has the flu?”. Yep, chances are he does!
So although I am not a doctor and therefore cannot make any medical claims, because of my dad I know a little bit about ways to manage the common symptoms while the cold runs its course.
And if you’re scratching your head thinking what such a tutorial is doing on a food blog, hold your horses, because there IS a recipe! My grandmother’s “no fail” Honey, Garlic and Lemon Tea which is something every Brazilian drinks whenever they get sick with a cold. (Again, tea obviously can’t cure you, but it surely does make you feel better! ?)
Without any further ado, let’s get to this battling the cold season plan. ???
1) Take it easy!
One day you’re fine. The next morning you wake up, something feels off and you just know the cold monster is around! You are not quite sick yet, but the symptoms are lurking and you just know it.
What do you do? Step on the brakes! Take it easy. No need to call out work yet, but try to pace yourself and cut stress. Listen to your favorite tunes, call a friend, splurge on a delicious snack. Try go to bed earlier so your body can have all the fuel it needs to prepare for that battle. Who knows, maybe your immune system will nip it in the bud and you won’t develop any symptoms!
2) Stay hydrated.
If you’re anything like me, you forget to drink water during the cold weather months. Well, it turns out that dehydrated bodies and cold/flu germs don’t mix well and that contributes to you getting sick.
You need a lot of fluids if you’re gonna fight off your cold like a boss! And no, vodka does not count. Sure you get to add a splash of cognac or bourbon to your tea – only if you’re not taking any medications – but that definitely does not count hydration points. In fact, apart from that little splash (or an occasional hot toddy), too much alcohol can definitely make your symptoms worse. So it’s best of lay off the booze for now.
Juice, hot drinks and tea are all good fluid options, as long as you don’t forget to drink a lot of plain water as well.
3) Sip some tea!
And since we are talking hydration and fluids, tea is your best friend during the cold season. Not only can it help provide warmth and comfort, but it is one of the most tried and true methods of fighting off colds and flu.
“Who said that, doctors?” – No, my grandmother. And my grandma is always right! ? A cup of hot tea soothes the throat and warms the body on those chilly winter days/nights, promoting relaxation and that cozy feeling that almost feels like you’re at grandma’s home. (Relax, nana, I said “almost”!)
My tea of choice? Bigelow Tea. I often tea proudly with Bigelow because I love their quality tea and ingredients, as well as the fact that it’s manufactured in the US. Besides, if you drink tea as often as I do, you want savvy and smart, and that’s Bigelow!
When dealing with a cold, the one tea that pumps me with an immune boost while giving me that soothing sensation I want from a cup of tea is my grandma’s Honey, Garlic and Lemon Tea (adapted recipe at the end of this post).
But I gotta be honest, even though I am a big garlic lover, I do not enjoy drinking garlic in my tea. However, I put my big girl pants on and I drink it anyway, because it does work! I see it more as a cold remedy than a delicious cup of tea and that’s okay, because I usually can’t taste anything when I have a bad cold! ?
If you despise garlic and can’t possibly imagine putting it in your tea, you can just omit it. Or you can make any other tea you’d like! Like, for example:
- Chamomile – Great for relaxation!
- Green Tea – Helps kill certain bacteria, viruses and fungi.
- Peppermint – Good for your tummy.
- Ginger – Open inflamed airways and relieves stress!
- White Tea – Destroys pathogenic bacteria in your body.
- Sweet Dreams Blend (Chamomile + Mint) – Calm your nerves and sooth your soul.
4) Take a steamy hot shower.
Nothing like a hot, steamy shower to clear your sinuses and get you all cozy and relaxed. The warm steam will pass through your lungs and into your nasal cavities, loosening up mucus and relieving congestion.
5) Gargle salt water.
Another of my grandma’s cold remedies: a glass of warm water with a little salt. It’s great to relieve a sore throat, reducing the inflammation while also clearing mucous and flushing out bacteria and viruses.
6) Eat Chicken Soup!
Couldn’t leave this classic out! Chicken soup is the nation’s go-to dish for when you’re sick with a cold or the flu.
Not only it helps in preventing dehydration but is also very nutritious, helping reduce inflammation and providing some symptom relief. Plus, it tastes good, doesn’t it? And while you could go for the store bought stuff, you really can’t beat my grandma’s homemade Chicken and Rice Soup.
And since I know I’ll have no energy to cook once I’m down with a cold, I like to make a big pot and freeze enough to have it at hand for when I find myself sniffling and coughing. My future self will be very grateful!
If chicken soup is not your thing, here are some other suggestions to keep you strong during the cold season:
- Caldo Verde
- Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup
- Brazilian Black Bean Soup
- Vichyssoise Soup
- German Sausage and Barley Soup
- Pumpkin Soup
- Sweet Potato Soup
- Classic Beef Stew
- Brazilian Paprika Chicken Stew
- Flemish Beef Stew with Caramelized Onions and Spelt Berries
- Boeuf Bourguignon
- Carbonnade Flamande
7) Find over the counter relief.
So you got to that point where none of the above tips are working. Well, it is time to pay a visit to your pharmacist. He/she will tell you that there’s no remedy to cure a bad cold other than time, but he’ll be able to point you in the direction of some relief. from the coughing, sneezing and stuffiness. Either it’s in the form of antihistamines, decongestants or ibuprofen for aches and pains, I am sure you will find something that’ll help you feel a little better.
I usually get some of those Day/Night medicines and they work great for me. However, be aware that there’s no “perfect” medicine and what works for me might not work for you!
8) Steam inhalation.
Things are getting really bad. The hot shower didn’t help, so it’s time for something more aggressive.
There are machines you can buy to help you do the steam inhalation, but you can also do it yourself by boiling a generous amount of water and transferring to a bowl. Add a few drops of essential oil or herbs (Eucalyptus, Pine, Peppermint and Rosemary are all great for cold season) and – maintaining a little distance (about a foot) from the bowl, cover your head with a thick towel and make a tent around the bowl. Breathe all that goodness through your nose for a few minutes, taking a break to cool off and repeating for 3-4 times.
If you experience discomfort or a burning sensation, stop immediately and do not try again until you feel relieved. If irritation persists, discontinue the treatment and consult your doctor!
If you got this far, things are not looking too good in cold-land. Your body needs to heal, so you should call off work and rest for a day or two to see if the cold goes away! Not to mention, you are probably contagious and should steer clear of your coworkers.
While you’re battling your cold, your immune system is busy and that means you’re susceptible to contracting other diseases. Staying home – whether in bed or lounging around – is important so your body can focus its strength to fight the good fight. Also, try to limit your mobility as mush as possible. So no “sweating it out” at the gym!
10) Pay a visit to your doctor.
If after doing all these things, you’re still suffering from strong symptoms, it is time to call your doctor and make an appointment! He/she will know what to do and will get you feeling like new in no time.
I really hope at least some of these tips work for you and help you kick that cold for good. ❤️
- 1 tea bag of any Bigelow Lemon variety
- 1 cup of water
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- Honey to taste
- In a saucepan, over medium high heat, bring the water, honey and garlic to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the tea bag to a bowl and pour the hot water into the bowl. Cover with a plate and let it steep for about 5 minutes. Strain the tea into a cup, add more honey if desired and drink while hot.
TO BATTLE COLD SEASON LIKE A BOSS, I RECOMMEND:
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Disclaimer: Olivia’s Cuisine does not guarantee any specific results as a result of the procedures mentioned here and the results may vary from person to person. The topics in this post are for informational purposes only and not to be substituted for professional medical advice.