Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer colds are far from fun

I was supposed to be putting on a swimsuit this afternoon and going on a friend's boat for an afternoon of sun, swimming and cold drinks. Instead, I'm sitting in bed with a mound of Kleenex next to me, watching a bad TV movie and battling a wicked cold and cough. That's right, folks. I have a summer cold. It started on Monday with a throat tickle that developed, over the course of the afternoon, into a sore throat. By Tuesday, I was sniffling and hacking up my lungs and by Wednesday, I had severe congestion, aches and chills. Needless to say, it's been a lousy week.

Anyway, to get over this nasty little bug, I've been downing quarts of OJ and bowls of chicken pho and vegetable soup the past five days, along with a ridiculous amount of tea, water, vitamins, cold meds and emergen-C. Good times. And yes, I've invested in a neti pot. So should any of you get waylaid by sickness in the coming weeks, here are some tips to aid in the recovery.

* Sleep is good. Get plenty of rest, especially while you have a fever. Rest helps your body fight infection.
* Hydration is key. To help loosen mucus and prevent dehydration, drink lots of fluids such as water, herbal tea, juice and Gatorade. And really try to avoid alcohol while you're sick.
* Clean yourself up. A fever and cold is no excuse to wear the same pair of sweatpants for three days. In addition to rinsing some of the germs off, a clean bath or shower and change of clothes can help ease body aches and congestion.
* Avoid dairy. In some people, dairy products increase mucus production. Dairy products may also make nausea and vomiting worse.
* Orange juice, especially with the pulp, is packed with vitamin C and folic acid, which help to boost immunity and speed recovery from illness. Some researchers suggest that vitamin C may even decrease the time you are sick with colds and flu.
* Chicken soup is a must with cold-like symptoms. In fact, in a study published in the journal Chest, researchers confirmed that chicken soup had a mild anti-inflammatory effect that reduced symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.

Before I sign off, here are a few meals designed to ease a sore, tickling throat or stuffy head.

Cool Mint and Orange Tea

Fuzzy Orange Smoothie

Pho Ga

Garden Vegetable Soup

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