Wednesday, October 31, 2012

When Illness Strikes

So I'm a little behind this week. But it's because I caught a nasty head cold from work. Thankfully I've had the past two days off so I was able to relax with some buddies.
What I woke up to Monday
Everyone seems to have their cure for the common cold, but I thought I would share what I'm doing to get over this ailment quickly.

First off you need some ibuprofen & vitamin C. Ibuprofen takes down any swelling or inflammation, including your ear tubes & sinus cavities. I also grabbed a six pack of orange juice cartons. Vitamin C can also help reduce inflammation and is well known for boosting your immune system. Some say while it won't cure a cold, it can help prevent further complications. Outside of juice, drinking tea is also key.

The one echinacea flower I was able to grow this year
I normally try to drink echinacea tea. Echinacea is an amazing herb along with a beautiful flower. It is actually a native plant in North America.

Echinacea's root is normally what is used, which is best after growing for three years.  Some argue the real benefits of echinacea for the flu or cold, but it does have anti-bacterial properties that can stop pathogens from spreading. It can also be used as an anti-inflammatory.

But alas, I was out of echinacea. And my normal grocery store was not selling it. And needless to say with a cold, I wasn't motivated to look elsewhere. But there's more you can take than echinacea!

I first started off with some peppermint tea. Peppermint is normally best for an upset stomach, but mint's powerful menthol does wonders as a decongestant. It's also known as an astringent, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial- just to name a few. My mother swears by peppermint tea for a sore throat and she's right. As with about any tea, I add a bit of honey. It not only sweetens the tea, but honey is also beneficial to your throat. If you don't enjoy peppermint tea, you can also brew and steep the tea before just inhaling the vapors.

Over the past couple days, I interchanged juice with peppermint tea along with Celestial's sleepytime throat tamer. That contains chamomile, licorice, ginger, tilia estrella, and slippery elm to coat the throat. Continuing a lot of a fluids is a must when you are ill so the body can stay hydrated as it disposes the bacteria & toxins. And knowing that I'm normally dehydrated, the extra fluids can't hurt.

But along with fluids, vitamins & herbs, I must confess that I used some medications. I'm dealing with a head cold- there's nothing wrong from the next down. There's just a sore throat and a lot of head congestion. So I caved in and took either some form of NyQuil or Mucinix. But we can still go over what these medications do to the body.

First we have DayQuil, which is obviously a "day" version of NyQuil. It has acetaminophen, phenylephrine, and dextromethorphan as active ingredients. I would rather see ibuprofen than acetaminophen since acetaminophen reduces inflammation in different way than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen & aspirin). And Tylenol never really does anything for me.

But it's the Phenylephrine that matters the most to me. It's a decongestant and is marketed as a replacement for pseudoephedrine. Decongestants retract blood vessels in the chest and nasal cavities which reduces inflammation and mucus in those areas. Peppermint tea can break congestion up, but I needed my body to stop making unnecessary mucus.

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant, but my cough in this case isn't terrible. That ingredient is just a bonus.

Ok, a friend convinced me to also take some Mucinex D. Its active ingredients are guaifenesin and pseudoephedrine. Guaifenesin is a cough suppressant like dextomethorphan. Both are debateable as a "good" cough suppressant, especially for kids. I would say if you are looking for a good cough suppressant, stick with honey and tea.

Mucinex D or even NyQuil D's biggest selling point is that it has pseudoephedrine, which is the leading cause of a big debate in my state. Pseudoephedrine is not only a degonestant, but a powerful stimulant. Drug makers use pseudoephedrine to make meth. In response, lawmakers in several states are making restriction of how a person can get medications with pseudoephedrine. So most drug companies conjure up a replacement for pseudoephedrine & can be sold over the counter. I'm not too concerned on this topic, but I can understand the arguments.

So there you have it- what I used to battle an icky head cold. It's been about two days & I'm feeling a lot better but it's also thanks to one thing I haven't mentioned yet: rest. I filled in at work over the weekend & in return I had Monday & Tuesday off. While it's always awful to be sick over your weekend, I'm overall glad. It happened over a time period where I could get a lot of rest. Sleep is the number on best way to get rid of an ailment. Resting allows your body focus entirely on destroying the bacteria or virus. And who doesn't enjoy a lazy morning or two?

Also something to keep in mind: a good amount of sleep, vitamin C, and tea will help keep away the cold or flu. So rest well my friends; and enjoy a cup o' tea for me.
Katsumi ensuring that I keep resting

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