I don’t know about you, but I am terrified of being sick. I would take back all the times I faked sick back in the day if it meant I never had to feel sick again. As the weather is changing, a lot of people are really feeling their allergies escalate, or coming down with some sort of cold.
Since I started living a healthier lifestyle, I noticed that I stopped getting sick. Sure, sometimes I don’t feel good, but to be honest, I never really feel sick for more than a day anymore. I think a big part of not getting sick is prevention. I hear a lot of people complain when they’re getting sick. They’ll say things like, “shoot, I think I’m starting to get sick” but then they won’t do anything about it! They’ll sit there, complaining, waiting until they feel sick enough to go to the doctor and get medicine. Why wait!? I haven’t been to the doctor (for colds) in years! Have they ever actually helped you anyways? Because in my experiences, they’ve just told me it was a virus and sent me home. The most important thing you can do to combat getting sick is: the first moment that you start to not feel good, DO SOMETHING. The tips below will help you know what exactly to do. If you get ahead of your cold, it doesn’t stand a chance.
Don’t take drugs (painkillers or antibiotics)
Avoid drugs and antibiotics at all costs. I could get into it in detail, but long story short- Antibiotics seriously mess up with your gut and cause your gut flora to become imbalanced which can lead to a wide array of severe long-term issues. Other over the counter drugs such as Ibuprofen and Advil are almost just as bad, if not worse. They also mess with you gut but can cause other issues such as increased risk of miscarriage, hair loss, and heart problems. The drugs and antibiotics you choose to take now can seriously affect your long term health, whether you realize that now or not. I talk a LOT more about the risks that come with taking antibiotics and painkillers in my blog post, Code Red: Menstrual Cramp Remedies. If your sickness is severe and you absolutely must take antibiotics, it is extremely important to counteract the negative affects they are having on your gut. I wrote an article awhile back for my good blogger friend Bree (SimpleHealthyEats) all about gut health and foods to support your gut. You can find that here. Basically, eat a lot of prebiotic and probiotic foods and take extra probiotics when you are taking an antibiotic. I would double your dosage before, during, and after you take antibiotics.
Don’t be impatient
The first time you try using natural remedies to combat your sickness, it probably isn’t going to have the same effect as the strong painkillers and antibiotics that you’re used to. Give it a chance. It may take a little while to kick in; unless you’re in excrutiating pain, wait it out and give the natural remedies a chance. Transitioning to holistic methods may be hard at first, but you have to go into it with an open mind. Try different things, stay positive, and be patient!
DO’S (First steps)
Vitamins: C and D3
The first thing I do when I even start to feel myself getting the slightest bit sick is to pop some Vitamin C pills. I take up to 4000mg each day if you feel yourself starting to become sick, or if you already are sick. (This is my personal recommendation, I am not a licensed professional or a doctor by any means) Vitamin C really supports your immune system and it normally helps me right away. I take Vitamin C every single day for preventative measures, and then just increase my dosage when I feel myself becoming ill. If you would rather take “drinkable” Vitamin C, I do not recommend Emergen-C because of the added sugars. I recently discovered another awesome “drinkable” vitamin C product which seriously helps me feel better when I first start to feel a couple symptoms coming on. It’s called Daily C-Protect Nutrient Booster Powder from the Megafood brand. I boil water and pour the powder in and drink it just like tea! It also tastes fine in cold or room temperature water. Vitamin D is also seriously underrated when it comes to boosting the immune system. I take about 5000 units of Vitamin D when I am sick, but I don’t have your blood lab results and it is different for everyone.
Did you know that you’re supposed to drink at least half your body weight of water in fluid ounces everyday? When you’re sick you should make sure you are doing this and drinking extra water! Dehydration is a crazy thing and can cause so many more health problems than you think. Drinking water can help prevent fevers, sinus infections and prevent nausea. Stay hydrated with clean, filtered water, or water from non BPA water bottles. I’ve been obsessed with Essentia water lately! Another great drink of choice is Coconut Water. Ditch your sugar filled Gatorade and swap it out for a bottle of Coconut Water; it has electrolytes and will do a great job in hydrating your body. My favorite brand is Harmless Harvest Coconut Water.
Clean up your diet
When you’re feeling down, fill your diet with anti-infammatory foods. Sometimes, I lose my appetite when I’m sick. If this happens to you, you don’t need to push it, but be sure to stay hydrated. When you’re mom told you to drink chicken soup when you were sick, she was partially right. Campbell’s chicken soup probably wasn’t the best option but bone broth is a great one. The collagen from the bones makes the broth extremely nutritious and boosts your immune system. I highly reccomend eating Paleo when you’re sick because it is a naturally anti-inflammatory diet. I advise against all grains, dairy, and refined sugars when you are sick. For a more detailed explaination of the Paleo diet, read: What You Need To Know About Paleo.
Gargle ACV, Water, Salt
Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar is a great choice when you’re sick because it is naturally anti-inflammatory and great for your immune system and gut. However, if you have a sore throat, use the classis “gargle salt water” trick, but add a splash of apple cider vinegar.
Elderberries have been proven to have amazing healing properties and been proven to prevent and cure flu-like symptoms. I put this under the sore throat section because people usually think of syrups as “cough syrups” but the truth is, Elderberry syrup should help alleviate all of your cold-like symptoms. Personally, I like the Honey Garden Apitherapy Organic Elderberry Syrup Extract with Propolis, which I get off Amazon. Just make sure your syrup doesn’t have added sugars.
UPSET STOMACH/ NAUSEA
I use ginger for just about everything, but I use it most for stomach issues. If you’re feeling nauseous, ginger should help settle your stomach. This is another instance where our Mom’s were kind of right when they told us to drink Ginger Ale. They were on the right track, but they are loaded with sugar which kind of defeats the whole purpose. Ginger Tea, however, is an amazing choice. The hot drink will soothe your throat, especially if you add honey and the ginger will settle your stomach. My favorite brand is the Yogi Ginger tea. I also like drinking kombucha when I am sick because it is a great source of probiotics. My favorite is the GT’s Gingerade Kombucha. Another choice is to brew your own ginger tea. Grab one small piece of organic ginger, peel it and chop it up into cubes. Bring water to a boil in a pot, add ginger cubes to the pot, and simmer for around 20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the stronger the ginger flavor will be.
I am absolutely obsessed with essential oils and I use them for everything. One great trick if you have any pain or cramping in your stomach is to rub peppermint oil on it. You don’t need a lot. Place about 4 drops of pure peppermint oil on the area that is in pain, rub it in, and wait at least ten minutes. You should feel a tingling sensation on your stomach which should numb the pain. You can also do the same thing with Eucylyptus oil. Find which oil is your favorite and carry around a small bottle in your purse or pocket or even leave one at work! My favorite brand of Essential Oils is Young Living.
Coconut Charcoal Pills
If you think your stomach may be upset from something you ingested, Coconut Charcoal Pills are a great choice. Just last night, I ate some slightly undercooked chicken and was not feeling well. The charcoal pills helped immediately. Charcoal flushes out your stomach and intestines from toxins and substances. The only thing to note is that charcoal may flush out the “good stuff” out of your stomach as well such as vitamins or other medicine you are taking. I use the Bulletproof Coconut Charcoal pills and I found them at Whole Foods.
I’m telling you, I use Peppermint Oil for anything and everything! Whenever I feel any sort of headache coming on, I rub peppermint oil directly on my temples, or the area that is in pain. Warning: it can be pretty strong and I have accidentally gotten it in my eyes before. Not fun. I recommend diluting it first with either jojoba oil or even olive oil. My favorite brand of oils is Young Living. Aside from Peppermint oil, Eucalyptus oil is also a great pain reliever. I also use Lavender for just about everything because it is my favorite scent, and it has relaxing properties. If your head hurts before bed, you can take a washcloth and soak it in hot or cold water. (Hot water if your body temperature feels fine, cold water if you’re burning up). Then, add drops of peppermint oil and lavender oil onto the washcloth and place it on your head as you are falling asleep.
Holding long, easy poses can help bring blood circulation to your head which can help with headaches. Mild inversions are great for headaches. (I think when people hear inversions they think advanced poses like headstands, but an inversion is any pose where your head is below your heart. “Legs up the wall” pose is a great start; you can even do it in your bed! Bring your butt right up against a wall and send your legs up against the wall. Laying like this has so many benefits and relaxing properties. Another great pose is “Child’s Pose.” Come to your hands and knees, bring your big toes to touch behind you and spread your knees out wide, then lean your chest to the ground and place your forehead on the ground. Be sure to take deep, full breathes in through the nose and out through the nose to increase effectiveness. Find poses that work for you and don’t put strain on the body. You can try downward dog, forward fold, bridge pose, or anyting else that feels good in your body.
Taking a hot shower or even doing a face steam can tremendously clear out your sinuses. A hot shower will do the trick, but sometimes the heat can increase my headache or nausea. If you feel okay to take a hot shower, hanging fresh Eucylyptus in the shower does wonders and has the same effect of aromatherapy (essential oils). If you’re not up for a shower, try a face steam! Franklin and Whitman makes amazing face steams (and products in general) and their Jefferson Square Botanical Steam with cinnamon bark, cloves, and hibiscus leaves smells like Fall! I’m obsessed. All you do is put the steam in a large bowl, and pour boiling water over it. Place your face above the bowl (option to place a damp towel over your face) and breathe in all that steamy goodness. The steam will not only clear your sinuses, but open your pores and do wonders for your skin as well. Make sure you do the face steam without makeup on. You can use the code: SHAPEDUPSAM for 20% off all orders on franklinandwhitman.com.
I know I am beating a dead horse with the essential oils talk, but they are seriously so powerful and have so many uses. Breathing in oils is another great way to use them. I have an Ellia Essential Oil Diffuser and I love it. It’s afforadable and it works great. I recommend diffusing Eucylptus for allergies or for clearing your sinuses. You can even stand about the diffuser and breathe in. If you didn’t catch it the first two times, I love Young Living Essential Oils!
Whether you’re feeling sick right now, or just looking to prevent sickness, I hope this helped! Just remember to keep an open mind and a positive attitude. For more specific questions that you may have about your personal symptoms, feel free to ask me anything on my Advice Page! It’s completely anonymous and I will answer your question as soon as possible. You can also always DM me on Instagram or email me!
All photography for this blog post was done by Allyson Manzella Photography. For inquiries, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.