Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 332: Mantra Monday - Get Healthy (Seeking Home Remedies for Cough!)

Happy President's Day!  
I hope you're all reading this post from the comfort of your own home.  I'm not sure how many workplaces observe President's Day these days, but I'm rooting for 3-day weekends wherever we can find them.  In fact, a dream of mine is to someday work a 4-day workweek every week.  I'd gladly work four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.  Who's with me?!

Alas, this week I needed a long weekend more than usual.  I picked up an aggressive head-cold a few weeks ago and am still fighting off a lingering cough that just won't quit.  Between sleepless nights and coughing fits that leave me sweaty, breathless and mildly incontinent (egads did I just admit that to the public-at-large??), well... I'm desperate.  I've tried most OTC options, tea with honey, and cough drops, which keeps things tolerable during the day.  By 7pm, however, the cough takes over.

Any cough-suppressing tips out there?  I'm under-insured at the moment, so trying to avoid a doctor's trip if at all possible...

OOOH!  I do have one interesting mirror-related observation to share: Since losing my sense of smell from the cold, I've felt really sad and numb every time I shower, put on makeup, style my hair, or spritz perfume.  I've clearly been over-enjoying in the scents of my various getting-clean-and-ready products in the absence of seeing their effects.  I hope this scent-sensitivity continues after I go back to using mirrors again (assuming I regain my sense of smell!).  Life is richer when you experience it with all of your senses, no?

Speaking of which: how cute is this H.B. Plumb print of five kittens experiencing the five senses?  Note that the kitty representing "sight" is in front of her mirror!  Meow!
More info on this print can be found here.
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  1. I've had the same problem for the past two weeks! Some of the stuff I've been told and that works to some extent: Buy fresh ginger, peel and boil some of it in a pot full of water, drink the water, eat the ginger pieces. Also, check the pharmacy / whole food store for special cough-suppressing tea! Also, if you have sugar-free cough drops or even light medication that you can eat after brushing your teeth at night, just let one of them dissolve in your mouth as you try to fall asleep and it will keep your throat hydrated enough to keep the cough at bay.

    1. cough-suppressing tea sounds fantastic! Do you have a particular brand that you like??

  2. This won't make you feel better right away, but it will help you kick the cold: Gargle salt water. Warm water works best. I usually go by taste when mixing it; it should taste just a little bit salty.

    Then, after that, have a drink of water and swallow a teaspoon of honey. This gets rid of the salty taste and helps soothes your throat. You lose some of the effect if you drink immediately after that, though, so try not to if you don't have to. It can be hard - I usually end up having a drink to get the sweetness out of my mouth.

    Hope that helps.

  3. I agree with the gargling salt water. I also drink hot water with lemon and a dash of hot sauce. lemon for vitamin C, and the capsacin in the hot sauce helps break up the mucus causing the cough.

  4. This works for a lot of people I know - including me! You just have to hold your nose (although it sounds like that won't be an issue) and go for it!‎

    1 cup honey
    1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    5 - 7 radishes
    1 small red onion
    6 garlic cloves
    ... Blend and strain.
    Adults 2 TBSP once a day or more as needed
    Children 1 TBSP once a day or more as needed

    1. oh my gosh that sounds disgusting!

    2. Take this and farting will distract you from coughing!

  5. We call it the demon cold in my house. The adults seemed to kick it pretty quickly but the kids are still battling. And we swear by a vicks humidifier with the little oil reservoir and thera flu.

  6. You should take something with cough suppressant in it at night. My vote is for nyquil like I mentioned the other day. It is the only thing that let's me rest! But, there are options that only have a suppressant if you don't want/need the other drugs. Delsym is highly recommended as an option.

    Steamy showers and Vicks vapor rub are helpful too. Feel better!!

    1. Steamy showers are a GO! I took one this morning and it totally quieted the cough. I wonder if the air in my apartment is too dry... Humidifier time!

  7. I've had a chronic cough for about two years now. Doctors haven't figured out its root cause but I guess I can help with the symptoms:

    1. Gargle salt water. It's nasty, but you get used it and it helps.
    2. Stick with a medicine long enough to tell if it really works--if it doesn't do anything the first time, take it as directed once or twice more to give it time to kick in.
    3. Try prilosec. It should cut down on coughing for the two-week regimen, even if the cough isn't due to acid reflux.

  8. Well, I slather on mentholatum in moments like you describe. The scent of the menthol (which you may or may not like) encourages deep breathing.

  9. If you can find them, there is a very good lozenge you can buy called Fisherman's Friend. They are very strong tasting but I find that they work great. When I have a cold I like to take one before bed and it also helps to keep your head propped up high with some pillows. Taking extra zinc is helpful too. The most helpful thing though, I've found, is drinking lots and lots of water. Stay hydrated!

  10. Another helpful thing is putting an onion next to your bed - a sliced one. The smell is quite horrible, but it does open up your nostrils and helps the breathing. I would definitely recommend Vicks Vapor Rub (not if you're pregnant, apparently, just learned that) - for rubbing on the chest or for steaming. Also, my pharmacist gave me a homeopathic remedy, called Ipeca - they are little granules you put under your tongue, and they repress the coughing. It really helped me last week.
    Using salty water to clean your nose is also a good one. Though not very nice.
    Good luck!

  11. This one has worked great for me every time I've been fighting a nasty cough:
    You can usually get it at Whole Foods. Hope it helps :)!