Thursday, September 25, 2014

Giving a Cold the Cold Shoulder

We've been hit by a nasty little cold at our house.  It started (as it usually does) with Miss F.  When she gets sick, it never really diminishes her energy or enthusiasm, but the nasal effects are obvious.  She's been having a runny nose on and off for a while now, but it didn't seem like anything viral, really.  Then, Mr. B started feeling the effects a few days ago. 

I had been reading up on essential oils anyway, so I started casually using them when I could - specifically I put just a little medieval oil (generic brand thieves oil) into Miss F's bathwater.  The four of us would sit in the bathroom during bath time to get some secondhand effects.  Mr. B and I also rubbed a couple of drops into the soles of our feet one night.  It either didn't do whole lot of good (probably because I wasn't consistent with it) or it staved off what was coming down the pike a couple of days later.

Yesterday, I got hit hard.  As is the case when one has a one month old, I haven't been sleeping well.  The last two days, I've woken up earlier than usual for the day, too.  So yesterday, when the perpetually runny nose and sore throat started, I decided to do something about it.  The first thing I did was sanitze our handkerchiefs.  They always get washed, but I added tea tree oil to help kill off anything they might be harboring.  I assigned each of us certain colors so that we didn't accidentally cross contaminate anything.  Three of us (all but Miss F) sleep in one room, so we ran a cool mist vaporizer overnight. 

This morning, I woke up feeling terrible.  I'm the primary caretaker of two very needy people, so that just won't do.  I broke out every natural remedy I could think of.  I started with a thyme vinegar gargle.  Mr. B made thyme vinegar as a method of preserving thyme from our very prolific plant.  It's just thyme stems and leaves steeped in vinegar (with the mother) for a few weeks, then strained.  I added 1 T to about 6 oz of room temperature water.  Each sip, I gargled and then swallowed the drink.  When I started, I couldn't taste it at all, but by the time I was done, I noticed the very strong smell and flavor.  My sore throat felt significantly better already.

I decided ginger tea was going to be my next go-to remedy.  I cut up about 1/2 of ginger into thin slices and steeped it in 8 oz of hot water for about ten minutes.  I added 1 tsp of local honey for sweetening and its cold-soothing properties.  While I was waiting for the tea to steep, I was boiling some pumpkin seeds on the stove, so I breathed in the salt water steam using that standard chemistry technique - wafting.  By the time the seeds were done, the tea was done.  The longer the ginger tea sits, the spicier it gets, so I've been sipping it slowly. 

I had planned to drink some chicken broth for breakfast, but when I opened it (canned last year at some time - how did I forget to label those?!) it smelled funny.  I can't trust my nose, but I don't want to drink something potentially dangerous.  It looks like I'll be having soup for lunch, as I'll have to defrost some from the freezer to ensure it won't have gone off.

Right now I'm about two hours post-wake up, and I feel much better than I did right after I woke up.  Before, I was considering asking Mr. B to take a sick day, but now I feel like I can make it through the day.  Thursday is our Friday, so he'll be able to help with the kids tomorrow when I need it.  My plan of action going forward is bone broth for lunch, hot liquids throughout the day, more vinegar as needed, and some rest (if I can).

What's your go-to remedy for colds?


  1. So sorry you're feeling sick! We've been a little under the weather here too.

    My favorite remedy is vapor rub / Mentholatum on the soles of the feet (and maybe the chest/neck area). We do a hot bath before bed, then that, then a nice long bedtime routine with extra stories, and it really helps my kids sleep better. Oh, and an extra pillow.

    Hope you're all feeling better soon!

  2. Thank you! It's taken a while, but we're all back up to snuff. I've always heard of people using vapor rub, but I'd never considered it before.