Since starting this first semester at San Diego State, I’ve been sick a total of three times. Although I would like to say that it’s because I moved into a new city and therefore was exposed to a new environment, the reality is that my immune system sucks. Granted, I haven’t been the only one that’s been getting sick.
So whether you’re catching a cold because you have a weak immune system like me or because the guy sitting next to you in class sneezed on you, here are 10 easy remedies that will help you get better in no time (shout-out to my boyfriend for giving me the biological explanation for everything).
1. Chicken Soup.
Chicken soup isn’t just good for the soul - it’s also a great way to get better faster.
Eating a nice bowl of warm chicken soup (with vegetables) will slow down the movement of neutrophils, or white blood cells, in your body. This means that they will circulate your body and better concentrate themselves in the areas that need them the most and kill the harmful invading bacteria/pathogens.
If you want to be extra zesty, you can add ginger to your chicken soup (or add a few slices of raw ginger in boiling water - this will help with your cough or a sore throat).
The bioactive compound in ginger is gingerol, which is responsible for providing your body with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Whether you add it to your soup or drink it with hot water, it will help with digestion, reduce nausea, and help fight the flu and the common cold.
Garlic contains the compound allicin, which has antimicrobial properties, which can, therefore, help reduce the severity of your cold symptoms.
“Honey, honey, honey
Who could be sweeter than you”
First of all, honey is one of the few natural foods that does not have an expiration date, so if you’ve got a jar of honey in the back of your pantry dating back to the early 1900s, feel free to grab it.
According to research, honey is one of the most effective cough suppressants. I recommend adding it to your tea with an additional slice of lemon to help with throat pain. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, you can actually use honey to wash your face! It has a variety of antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, so the honey can actually be used to kill bacteria that causes acne.
As long as you use any brand of VapoRub that contains the active ingredient menthol, you’ll be good to go.
Applying VapoRub can help open up air passages, combat congestion, reduce coughing, and improve sleep. It does this by opening up your capillaries, which facilitate nutrient and gas exchange.
6. Warm Baths + Humidity.
Not everyone in college will have access to a bathtub, but if you do, I highly recommend taking advantage of it.
The common cold is very easily spread in dry environments. Creating a humid environment in your dorm room, bathroom, apartment, house, etc. can help reduce your exposure to the flu-causing virus. It also helps reduce nasal inflammation which will allow you to breathe a little easier.
** During the winter, dry indoor heat can make your cold/flu symptoms even worse.
** If you use a water humidifier, make sure you change it daily to prevent mold and other fungi from growing.
** I recommend adding Epsom salt to your warm baths - it’ll help reduce muscle soreness, relieve body aches, and leave you feeling refreshed!
7. Zinc + Magnesium.
However you decide to acquire zinc and magnesium (Trader Joe’s sells zinc, magnesium, and calcium pills!), I highly recommend this remedy.
Zinc is an important trace element that has powerful immune boosting properties. Research has shown that zinc interferes with the molecular process that causes mucus and bacteria to build up in your nasal passages.
Magnesium, on the other hand, helps with the bioactive process of energy metabolism and protein synthesis. This is beneficial for those recovering from muscle soreness that usually comes with flu-symptoms.
8. Aloe Vera.
If you’re still thinking about what to get your girlfriend, boyfriend, friend, or family members for Christmas/birthdays/etc., I would definitely go with giving them aloe vera. First of all, it’s a succulent. What else do you need?
Besides being used to treat sunburns, it also has many other health benefits that are useful for treating the common cold.
Aloe vera helps regulate the alkalinity in your body. A body with an acidic pH is a perfect place for bacteria to thrive and breed. Aloe vera helps improve the alkalinity, therefore creating a bodily environment that is harder for bacteria to live in. Not only that, but if you’re suffering from stomach pain, cramps (at my ladies out there), and/or a sore throat, aloe vera is a great way to treat this.
Electrolytes help your body hold onto more water, which increases hydration and allows for your cells to increase their affinity for water. If your body can hold onto more water, you have a higher heat capacity, which means that you can better regulate your internal body temperature.
If you want to be extra boujee, you can go for Pedialyte instead to cut down on sugar.
10. Vitamin C.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is best known for boosting your immune system due to its effects on stimulating white blood vessels. IT also helps facilitate the growth of connective tissue, which therefore speeds up on the healing process.
Great sources of vitamin C: oranges, grapefruits, leafy greens, lemons, and limes
I also recommend investing in buying a box or two of Emergen-C for when you’re sick. Remember, you can only drink one packet a day (don’t worry, nothing bad will happen if you drink two - but your body can only hold up to a certain amount of Vitamin C, so if you go over this amount, you’ll just end up peeing it out).
All in all, if you get sick, make sure you get ample rest and you stay hydrated. Getting sick, especially when you’re in school, can prevent you from keeping up with your studies and feeling 100%.