Does anyone enjoy being sick? Heck no! So is there a way to stop a cold or flu in its tracks? Heck yes! But the trick is you need to be able to recognize the very subtle signs that illness is creeping up on you and know what to do about it right away.
I used to get colds all – the – time in my early to mid 20’s. At least twice a year I’d get so sick that I would completely lose my voice and it would take two weeks to feel completely better. Taking time off of work was tough on both my finances and my employer. If only I had known then what I know now, those sick days probably would’ve never been needed.
The secret is being able to listen to what your body is telling you. If you feel any of the following symptoms, you may be coming down with something:
- A very subtle ache in the back of your throat
- A very blatant sore throat (obviously)
- A headache
- The strong and out of the ordinary urge to sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Body aches, even very subtle ones
- Feeling unusually cold or experience chills
- Frequent sneezing with or without slight sinus pressure
Once you recognize one or several of those signs, first and foremost drink a big glass of warm or room-temp water and see if the symptom(s) go away, as some of these can be brought on simply by dehydration. Next, think carefully – is there any chance that you are experiencing symptoms brought on by allergies? If the answer is “no” and drinking a glass of water didn’t help, this is what works for me in terms of stopping a possible cold or flu in its tracks:
- Be honest with yourself and do not try and “tough it out.”
- Start drinking a hot decaffeinated beverage, such as chamomile tea, as soon as possible. If you don’t have any around, plain hot water in a mug will do. Continue to sip away; at least one mug per hour that you’re awake.
- For your next meal, have a hot, broth-based soup such as butternut squash or vegetable. Plain hot stock will do, as well.
- Avoid cold foods and drinks.
- Avoid sugar and sugary foods and drinks.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Skip your workout for the day.
- As soon as possible, do your best to completely shut down physically and mentally. Go home, put on warm and cozy clothes and socks, try to avoid your phone or computer and do your best to stay quiet and stress free. I know this isn’t always possible when you have kids to take care of, but if there’s another family member or friend around that can help you out, this would be the time to call on them.
- Consider or speak to your doctor about taking a garlic supplement until you feel better. Garlic is believed to shorten the lives of colds.
- Go to bed as early as possible that evening.
Try to think of it this way: If you can stop the cold or flu from developing into full blown misery-mode, you may save yourself several days of feeling awful and prevent spreading the sickness to your family, co-workers and the general public.
If you wake up the next day still feeling like you’re coming down with something, continue doing as many as the above steps as possible as they may still shorten the length of your cold or flu.
I have to say, doing all of the above things as soon as I had started to feel the slightest bit sick has really helped prevent me from becoming miserably ill over the past decade. There were times that I had to cancel dinner plans, skip workouts and turn down sweets and glasses of wine in order to pull it off, but it was always worth it. The moral of the story: when your gut is telling you that you might be getting sick, be your own BFF and listen to it!
*Please consult your doctor or medical professional before performing any exercises, trying any weight loss techniques, or following any dietary advice shown or described on this website, as there may be personal medical or health considerations that only your doctor or health professional is competent to assess.