Everyone told me that once your kids start walking, they walk those colds and flus right through your front door. They were right. Now that my son is almost 2, if colds are going around, chances are I am going to get one—or at least need to fight one off.
I know I’m not alone, as our Parsley Health members write in all the time during cold season with the same questions, “I’ve got a runny nose, clogged ears, a sinus headache, a cough from post-nasal drip, and my sleep is terrible. I don’t have time for this and don’t want this to turn into a dreaded sinus infection. How do I kick this fast?”
Often our members’ reflex asks is for an antibiotic. But as the most recent research shows, the vast majority of colds and even the majority of acute sinus infections, are not bacterial at all, but rather are caused by viruses, and that antibiotics are ineffective . Luckily, Parsley Health doctors are trained in other ways to get you back to feeling your best fast and they can electronically prescribe helpful supplements to be delivered straight to your door.
Just like you, I also don’t have time to be sick, so I have perfected the art of kicking the cold in 48 hrs. Here’s my tried and true strategy.
Boil a pot of hot water with turmeric, lemon juice, a spoonful of raw honey, and fresh grated ginger. After steeping, strain it. This soothing anti-inflammatory tea can be sipped all day and alleviates congestion and a sore throat.
This xylitol-based decongestant is non-toxic and soothing to the nasal passages. Use as directed.
Nothing kicks a cold like a good night’s sleep.
This includes Viracid, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3/K2, and my tea.
If I don’t have a fever, a gentle yoga class can move the lymphatic fluid and loosen up tight, sore muscles. If I’m not up for yoga yet, an epsom salt bath relaxes muscles thanks to the magnesium, and is detoxifying thanks to the sulfates.
Sauna stimulates the immune system by increasing leukocytes , a type of white blood cell that fights foreign substances.
Nutrient-dense bone broth is healing to the gut, hydrating and soothing.
I like Gaia’s blend , an herbal, non-toxic cough syrup that soothes the throat and the cough reflex without some of the toxic additives of many cough syrups. Elderberry is also stimulating to the immune system. If you do need something stronger, it is ok to take a Guaifenesin-based cough syrup.
Getting adequate sleep is important all the time, but it’s especially key when you’re sick. The brain actually flushes toxins while you sleep and releases cytokines, proteins that are key in immune system regulation, helping you fight off invaders. Lack of sleep may slow your recovery.
It is, but beware of many of these OTC medications which contain alcohol, artificial flavors and dyes, and other chemicals like parabens and PEGs. They also often contain Pseudoephedrine, the active decongestant ingredient, which some people have a negative reaction to. We recommend only taking them sparingly such as before a flight if you really need to decongest, or to decongest for sleep.
If you have thick yellow green or brown mucus from your nose for more than ten days, with facial or tooth pain, or you have these symptoms, then go away and then get worse again, it may be appropriate .
Dr. Robin Berzin is the founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin completed medical school at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.