I can’t say staying home sick is never fun since I recall plenty of grade school sick days filled with popsicles and cartoons while my friends at school were learning about mitochondria and solving for X. But in the summer, there are few boring academic obligations to avoid, and instead you’re missing out on the good times you could be having with your friends out in the sunshine, at the beach, park, or wherever you go to celebrate freedom from class. It’s a total bust. Summertime sickness isn’t great for me either even though I’ve long been out of school. I, very fortunately, get to work from home except for when I meet with Lisi to discuss our on-going projects, so I get to keep my pj’s on all day if I feel like it. This week, I definitely felt like it, as a head cold knocked me down out of nowhere. I’m no stranger to summer sick days and have honed a few methods of coping with not feeling so hot in the heat. Below are five tactics to combat your cold fast so you can get back outside with your friends for the dwindling days of summer. Or in my case, back to my usual fast-paced brain that can handle more than one task at a time.
1. Keep hydrated at all costs! One of the best things you can do for yourself while sick, or even when you’re not, is to drink as much H2O as possible. At least 64 ounces if you can manage it, but that’s pretty difficult, even for me, so do what you can. The water flushes your system of toxins and impurities, which is great for your skin and immune system. If you still happen to find yourself under the weather, like I have, then getting fluids in early will surely help curb the duration of your cold. There are other drinks like VitaminWater Zero and Pedialyte that are packed with Vitamin C, electrolytes and other benefits to get you hydrated and ultimately back on your feet, too, and they have a hint of flavor that might be easier to drink.
2. Zinc it up early. Taking Zinc at the start of a cold has been proven to sometimes lower the duration of an illness by 50%. I have these fantastic Zinc/Vitamin C effervescent tabs I dissolve in water and drink, but you will have to talk to your parents about this one and how much will be right for your age, and which method will be best for your to take.
3. Give your pet a pat. Whether you have a pup, cat, parakeet or chinchilla, make sure you don’t forget that they need their daily dose of love, too. Be sure to pet or play with them throughout the time you are sick. While you’re doing that, you’ll be elevating levels of serotonin and dopamine in your brain, which calm and relax and prime your body for healing mode.
4. Treat yourself right. Your parents have more of a say in this than I do, but when I’m sick, I like to make sure I feel good in my environment by buying lots of treats my sick body wants, such as popsicles and pre-cut fruit bowls, and anything else good for me that doesn’t contain dairy (dairy is terrible for congestion issues, so no milk if you can help it while you’re feeling ill). And if you have the energy left, you may want to combine those good-for-you treats into one like I plan to do for my next head cold. See: YUM.
5. Make your bed and then lay in it. Another great way to keep your cold at bay is to keep washing your bedding and sheets throughout your sickness, every day if possible. It seems like a hassle, but will help stop the spread of germs that will keep you sick for longer. Also be sure to pay attention to how you are laying in your bed. If you have a sore throat, cough, stuffy nose or chest congestion issues, laying flat on your bed will only worsen your symptoms, so try propping yourself up on a few pillows. Even a slight incline will be better for your than laying completely flat, so as a rule of thumb, be sure your heart is higher than your ankles and you should be good to go. Lastly, and most obviously, REST, REST, REST. All healing requires extra sleep. It’s no fun, but you really have to take this step seriously. Sleeping a sickness out is one of the fastest ways I’ve seen a person get back to their usual healthy selves. If you have work or summer school and can’t sleep during the day, then make sure you’re getting to bed as early as possible at night. And I mean EARLY–like 9PM early. For any night owls out there, you’ll have to break your usual after-midnight sleeping ritual because going to bed after 12 isn’t going to help your cause. In fact, the hours before midnight are actually twice and sometimes three times more restful and beneficial to you than the hours you sleep after midnight. So get to bed very early, at least while you’re fighting off a cold.
That’s it! Those simple steps will set you en route to good health. If you have any more, please include them in the comments below. I’m still battling my cold and will be checking back to see if any of you have some tried-and-true tips I can try for myself. Thanks for reading and Lisi will be back next week!