'Tis the season...of colds and flus. All three of us got hit with one cold already this germy season. Thankfully, it was just the scratchy throat, intense sinus congestions variety. But it was still tricky to manage without being able to reach for my usual cold meds that keep my nose dry and prevent it from sneaking down to my chest, turning into a hacking, lung rattling cough. So what's a sick, breastfeeding mumma to do?
Most cold meds are off limits to pregos and breastfeeding mummas - you should talk to your doctor before taking ANY meds while making a baby or milk.
Here's my au naturel recipe for fighting the seasonal cold:
Gargle. Uck. I know. But it works to soothe any sore throat. Do it at the first sign that you have been invaded by a cold bug. As salty as you can stand it. Count to ten. Spit. Repeat.
Sleep. Lots of sleep. Easier said then done when you have a little person ruling your REM cycles, but do what you can. Nap when they nap. Go to bed when they go to bed.
Lemon and honey. This is the best thing. A thick slice of lemon + a heaping teaspoon of (pasteurized) honey. Brew to yumminess.
Nasal douche. Also known as a nasal wash, or even better, nasal irrigation. Sounds terrible, I know. And apologies for the picture above of the chap in the midst of irrigating his sinuses, but this is the key to keeping sinus congestion and pain at ease. I skip the weak little Neti pot and use a more powerful squeeze bottle to blast out the gunk. I use the saline solution that it comes with or make your own:
1 tsp of salt + 1/8 tsp baking soda, dissolve in 1 cup of warm water
Squirt the saline solution up one nostril and watch in awe as it pours out the other. I suggest doing it in the shower because it can get a weeeee bit messy, especially when you are sick and really snotty. Okay, nasal washing is actually really gross. But it works like a champ.
Stay humid. Especially in the fall and winter months when our heating systems are sucking every bit of moisture from our houses, your cold symptoms will appreciate added humidity. Use a humidifier (don't forget to keep the filter clean!).
You can also lean over a bowl of hot water, with a towel draped over your head, for a mini steam room (avoid burning yourself, please). Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water for extra sinus relief.
Stay warm. My mum would always tie a scarf around her neck when she was sick. Her 'sick scarf' was a pretty green and yellow number. You knew mum wasn't feeling well if she had that thing on. I tried one once and it worked like magic.
Keep warm and cozy when you're fighting a bug, but watch that you don't overheat, especially if you are pregnant. You want that bun to cook, but lets not roast it. Don't crank up the heat in the house, just add warm, cozy layers.
Good food. Good fluids. Eat your fruits and veggies, and drink plenty of water - avoid sugary juices, pop or power drinks. And if your blood pressure can handle it, reach for some salty soup. If I don't have the energy to make it myself, I'll head to Farm Boy to buy their ready-made soups. They are salt'alicious!
Avoid refined sugars, starches and processed crap - if it's white, don't eat it. These things suppress your immune system.
A few lingering questions that you might have:
What supplements should I take to prevent and/or fight a cold? Ideally, none. Talk to your doctor or midwife before taking any vitamins or supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
When should I see my doctor or midwife?If your symptoms persist more then a few days without any relief, if you have a fever, or if your symptoms are causing you to have difficulty breathing you should see your doctor or midwife asap.
What is your pharma-free cold fighting routine?