It's that time of the year again. You know, the one where you can hear your coworkers sneezing from across the office. The one where the classroom size dwindles throughout the week, and the students who came brought a pack of tissues with them. The one where you have to double check to be sure you remembered to pack cough drops before you left the house. Yes, that's the one.
It seems like everyone dreads this time of year- well, everyone except doctors, maybe. With the weather slowly but surely fading from summer to winter, the shift from allergies to colds happens pretty quickly. And even though I've experienced this for the past 20 years, I'm never fully prepared for that first sneeze- that first ache in my throat. Even as I write this article, my desk stocked with various nasal strips and Vicks products, I'm dreading finally accepting that I've fallen into the inevitable sickness hole.
Thankfully, because most everyone ends up with at least the sniffles this time of year, you don't have to feel alone. If the empty tissue aisles are any hint, then it can be assumed that there are a ton of others who are suffering right alongside you- me included!
Even if you have to avoid friends for a while (it's not cool to get others sick!) you can rest assured that somewhere out there, someone feels your pain. So here are a few thoughts that always seem to cross my mind when I come down with a cold- but don't worry, I've thrown in some puppy pictures to help cheer you up!
1. Why is my throat sore?
Without fail, the first sign that I'm getting sick is always that my throat starts to hurt. The problem is that sometimes, whether it's the dry weather or if I simply didn't drink enough that day, my throat gets a little sore for absolutely no reason. There are countless times when I've waken up in the morning with that familiar scratch in my throat and have had to ask, "Am I sick or is this just a fluke?" This time, it was real!
2. Oh no, not again...
No matter how many times I face sick season, I'm always in denial. And once the third day goes by that my throat is still sore, I eventually have to face the facts: it's time to hit the store and stock up on cold medicine! Still, it always stings to finally admit it...
3. Here comes the runny nose...
Ah, yes...the worst part of being sick. For me, this is the part I dread most. Just as my throat stops hurting, my nose starts running. And what's more embarrassing than having to pull out a tissue every three minutes? Nothing!
4. Why is one nostril dry and the other wet?
Probably the most popular syndrome of being sick...the nose that can't decide if it's dry or runny. Or worse, the nose that's both. This gets me at night, too- when I can breathe through just one nostril, so I have to adjust my position in order to inhale and exhale properly.
5. And here comes the sneezing...
At this point, I've downed a bag of cough drops for the throat and a box of tissues for the runny nose. Now the sneezing, too? It seems like being sick is a whole marathon, sometimes- just when you finish one obstacle you have to face another. Plus, my sneeze is definitely unattractive.
6. Aaaand now I can't breathe at all...
Of course, it doesn't stop at running and sneezing...pretty soon, you won't be able to inhale at all. Much like a fish out of water (or a dog in one!) I always end up having to turn to nasal strips in order to make it through the day without having to take gulps of air through my mouth. Seriously, nasal strips are a must-have!
7. Okay, the cough is finally here!
Some people dread coughing, but for me it's the light at the end of the tunnel. My last symptom of a cold is always the cough, and it usually means that I won't have to worry about the other stuff for much longer. The bad part, however, is that the cough lasts much longer than everything else. Even now, after over a week of being sick, I'm still coughing.
8. Whew, finally over!
Aaaand, once everything is over, you can finally enjoy the best thought: "Finally done!" At this point, you can enjoy the fresh air (assuming it isn't already winter by now) and hang with friends again. Another sick season over!
Even though a week of being sick can often feel like a year, there is good news: it won't last forever (hopefully!) Even though some of those last symptoms (cough cough) last a little longer than the others, it doesn't take too long to start feeling like yourself again. Of course, this happens a lot more quickly if you take good care of yourself throughout the entire process!
So, if you're like me and you're facing the same sick season, be sure to find some time for the well-needed rest. Whether that means going to bed early or sneaking in naps throughout the day, sleep is one of the most important things when it comes to healing! Make sure to drink plenty of water as well, and turn to nice, warm soups over less-healthy meals. (My soup recommendation is definitely chicken noodle!) Plus, it's never too early to start grabbing those cold relief medicines- there's nothing worse than shopping for cold medicine when you're already sick!
And most importantly, remember to stay positive! Whether you take the time to look at some adorable puppy pictures online (seriously, it works!) or simply take the time to remember that you're not going through this cold process alone, it's always important to keep a positive attitude. As they say, laughter is the best medicine, so take time for the fun stuff, too!