Fighting a Cold: What It Taught Me About Health
A couple weeks ago, I came down with a cold; it was a nasty one too. This particular virus started out as a scratchy throat and then hit me hard, leaving me with no energy, swollen tonsils, a VERY sore throat, and one of those deep coughs that hocks up phlegm (nice thought, right?).
I make it a point to prioritize my health and rarely get sick, but this cold really did me in. I’m not one to slow down or let a little cold keep me from doing what I want, but I found myself needing to take time off to stay in bed. Stupid cold.
I tend to avoid taking medications whenever possible, but the severity of my symptoms led me to desperation for a “quick fix”. I started popping Alka-Seltzer cold meds, which helped alleviate the symptoms slightly, but only for the four hours the medication was in effect. Then, it was back to coughing, hacking, miserableness. I turned to Advil, Tylenol Cold, and Sudafed. Again, it only provided temporary relief…and the cold itself wasn’t going away. I realized I was only treating the symptoms of my cold with these medications, but I wasn’t doing anything to help my body fight it and get rid of it for good.
Then I started to wonder, “What ingredients are actually in those cold medicines anyway”? I did a little research. Polyethylene glycol? What the heck is that? I discovered it’s a medication that acts as a stool softener and laxative. I wasn’t quite sure how that was going to alleviate my cold symptoms, but it was right there in my Alka-Seltzer tablet. Povidone? I never heard of that before. Turns out it’s an iodine solution used for treating minor wounds and infections. What’s it doing in my cold medicine?
I was shocked to learn that over the counter medications contain a lot more than just the active ingredients and I suddenly felt genuinely concerned about what I was putting in my body. Not only were those medications not really helping me, but what kind of potential harm were they doing? With all those foreign , unpronounceable ingredients, who knows how they’re all effecting my biology. I realized the “quick fix” I thought I was after wasn’t the best answer after all. What I really needed was to care for my body naturally and holistically to aid my immune system in doing the job it knows exactly how to do; without pharmacology interfering in the process.
So, my new cold treatment methods included:
Earlier bedtimes. Less housework. Canceling plans so I could lounge on the sofa.
2. HERBAL TEA WITH HONEY
I drank four cups of herbal tea (lemon and ginger with probiotics, echinacea, or peppermint) a day which soothed my throat, boosted my immune system, and helped suppress my cough (honey is a natural cough suppressant).
Kombucha aids digestion and gut health. The better the gut health, the better the immunity against disease. Because it's naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. I LOVE Natalie’s Craft Kombucha, which comes in a variety of delicious flavors (and is made locally in Bloomsburg, PA).
4. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
I used this in two ways: drinking one tablespoon twice daily and gargling. Because of the strong acid content, gargling apple cider vinegar kills the bacteria in the throat that causes pain. The potassium in apple cider vinegar is a great ingredient to thin mucus and the acid content in the vinegar helps reduce the bacteria trying to inhabit the nasal cavities.
5. NUTRIENT RICH FOODS
Have you ever heard the saying, “You need to feed your cold”? Well, that’s what I did with mine. I fed it nutrient rich foods, like organic kale, avocado, figs, walnuts, almonds, blueberries, spinach, sweet potatoes, coconut oil, and pastured eggs. I avoided processed foods that would bog down my body.
6. NETI POT
A Neti Pot is used for nasal saline irrigation, a therapy that uses a salt and water solution to flush out the nasal passages. It takes five minutes and provides almost instant relief from sinus congestion, helping to flush out the mucus rather than swallow it down the throat and into the gut. (Another lovely thought)
I made it a point to take several minutes a day to focus on the present moment, pay attention to my breath, tune in to how my body was feeling, and set intentions for good health. I used mantras tied to complete health, feeling fully well, and having a strong body that is working perfectly to connect my mind and body with the task of healing itself.
The results were surprising even to me, and I’m a huge believer and advocate for natural methods of healing. I suffered from cold symptoms for about 10 days while trying to treat it with over-the-counter medications. Once I switched away from meds and started my new, natural treatment methods, I experienced drastic improvement in my symptoms in two days.
Now, one might argue that the virus was nearing the end of it’s cycle and it’s just coincidental that I started feeling better after starting my holistic approach. That may be true, but my husband had the same cold and after three weeks of treating with medications, he still has symptoms. Again, he and I have different immune systems and our bodies are likely to fight illness differently, but my experience really makes me wonder how much longer I would have had cold symptoms had I not started treating my body naturally and holistically.
Fighting this cold taught me a couple of valuable lessons. First, our health is the MOST IMPORTANT thing in the world. If you don’t have good health, you don’t have anything. The way this simple little virus effected my mood, my ability to function, my motivation, and the every minute experience of my day reminded me of how valuable good health truly is. Our health is worth all the time and money it requires to take good care of it. Secondly, I learned that I will always try natural, holistic approaches to health before medications, because I feel strongly they are more effective AND they don’t bring with them all the additives, side effects, or extra “ingredients” that my body simply doesn’t need.
Now, I challenge you. The next time you feel a cold coming on, or any other threat to your good health, do the research and find natural ways to treat your body and mind with care so that it can work it’s magic and heal itself. Avoid the “quick fix” medications and treat the source of the problem, rather than just the symptoms.
Nicole Iacovoni is a psychotherapist, author, wealth building coach, and personal empowerment fanatic dedicated to helping you create a life of happiness & prosperity. Her work is centered around personal growth and holistic health and wealth building. Nicole takes an honest, straight-forward approach to helping clients identify where they currently are in their life’s journey. With expertise in how our DESIRES, EMOTIONS, THOUGHTS, and BELIEFS influence our success, Nicole helps clients create a concrete action plan for living the life of their dreams.