Does anyone enjoy being sick? No way! So is there a way to stop a cold or flu in its tracks? It’s certainly possible, in my opinion. (A lot depends on your current health status and the type of virus you’re dealing with.) There are a lot of ways you can put the odds of beating an illness in your favor, most having to do with responding correctly the moment you feel symptoms.
What Are Some Symptoms to Look For?
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 back to normal again. If I had known then what I know now, those two-week colds would have never existed!
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
- A fever, cough, and shortness of breath – if you feel these symptoms, you should stay in your home and call your doctor for an opinion as soon as possible, as these are the main symptoms of very contagious viruses such as the flu. Staying home will prevent spread of illness to others and will help you feel better, too!
Ways to Help Stop An Illness in it’s Tracks
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”. 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.
- 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. Here are some recipes I recommend:
- Avoid cold foods and drinks.
- Avoid sugar and sugary foods and drinks of any kind.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Cut way back on caffeine.
- Skip your workout for the day.
- Consider taking a garlic supplement a couple times a day until you feel better. Or, simply slice and peel a garlic clove into pill-sized slivers and swallow them like you would a pill. Garlic is believed to shorten the lives of colds.
- Consider taking a vitamin C supplement.
- Go to bed as early as possible that evening and take a nap during the day, if you can.
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.
What If I Still Get Sick?
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. If you are concerned, call your doctor right away.
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!
Be well, my friend.
*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.