We know Hong Kong is quite trigger happy when it comes to bombarding any kind of ailments with antibiotics. We want to keep antibiotics for the really serious stuff. But colds although not particularly painful or life-threatening are an extreme pain in the butt which when not treated properly can linger for weeks, and make life more miserable than having to sit through a 3-hour Les Miserables musical.
So what can be done when the cold wave hits without having to result to heavy meds? What's the paleo way to fight those cold bugs?
- Preventive Hygiene Measures
If it worked against Ebola it'll work against cold bugs. You hardly put sniffy people on quarantine or force them to wear a face mask but you can crank up your hygiene habits: Research by the Hygiene Council shows that people who practice good hygiene get sick less often than those who don't wash their hands regularly or cover their mouths when they cough. Keep your hands clean. Wash them regularly. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. So try avoiding touching your facial area too often no matter how gorgeous you are. Clean and disinfect surfaces you regularly come in contact at work, at school or at home.
- Rest is Best
This is one is so efficient and so obvious it doesn't need to be mentioned if it wasn't so hard to follow through. It usually takes me around 1-3 days of rest to overcome a mild cold. View it as a small investment for escaping the fate of a snot zombie. You spend a few days in hibernation for complete recovery versus weeks of feeling shitty and functioning on half-conscious auto pilot. And when I say rest I mean complete rest. No work emails, conference calls or any kind of annoying stress. Imagine you're in a plane which is about to land, when seatbelt lights are on, the entertainment system has been switched to the info screen and all electronic gadgets are switched off... except that you can lie down, eat and still go the bathroom. Sleep research has confirmed that there is a link between sleep and our immune system. Lack of sleep causes a drop T-cells which are the storm troopers of our immune system. Our immune system is the most active when we're at rest especially while asleep. That also explains why fevers tend to develop at night. While you're out that's the immune system's time to ramp up its defense mechanism.
- Pour Yourself Some Tea
A lot of tea, rather. Topping up on your liquids is not much of new advise but you can make it more effective but choosing what to drink and how to drink it. Aside from the good old water, go green... green tea. It has proven itself through tons of research that it's good for you. The good stuff in green tea are are called flavonoids. Green tea is packed with these plant-derived compounds that are antioxidants. It is also is the best food source of a group called catechins. Lab tests have shown that catechins are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties. Not all green tea is created equal. Try to choose organic high-quality green tea brands which have a higher flavonoid and catechin content and less flouride which might affect your bone health.
- Honey is Nature's Medicinal Syrup
Mary Poppins adds a spoonful of sugar but we prefer good raw honey. Raw honey can add an extra oomph to fighting a cold as it contains enzymes, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. It is known to promote healthy bacteria in your gut which is beneficial to your immune system. Make sure that the place where you get your honey from sourced them from decent suppliers. Good honey is not cheap in Hong Kong. Still you should make a wide berth around cheaper honey from China. Many Chinese honey exports are banned by the European Union as they often contain traces of lead and often do not contain honey at all. That fake honey consists of a mix of different kinds of cheaper sugars. Due to the popularity of Manuka honey Chinese producers have specialized in selling fake Manuka honey. But you do not have to go for a high-end medicinal rate Manuka honey brand. As long as the UMF rating is 10 or higher it's potent enough to be therapeutic. I like to go for raw UMF 15 Manuka honey. Cheaper and equally delcious alternatives are raw Neem honey or raw Dandelion honey from New Zealand.
- Water that Nose. Yes. Seriously.
You might think with your nose already being like a leaky faucet pouring water into your nasal passages is not much of a great idea, but using a nasal wash actually works... and a bit messy. You pour a diluted saline solution into one nasal opening and tilt the head in an angle so that the water flows out of the other nose hole. Yes, it's gross but it can shorten your stay in cold purgatory significantly. While I was in India there was a severe cold bug making its rounds in the yoga shala and being passed bag and forth between students for almost two weeks. Every evening I blasted my sinuses with a xylitol-salt solution. Took me only three days to completely recover and unlike other students the cold never bugged me again. The reason why doing a nasal wash or neti works is because it thins out mucus and helps getting rid of irritants. I own a squeezie-neti like they use for kids. It requires less coordination and the water goes where it's supposed to go. I also prefer my saline solution to be a bit more concentrated to a degree that it gives me the wasabi burn in my sinuses and makes my eyes tear up. For a few seconds you'll feel like napalm is crawling up towards your frontal lobe, but once that subsides you feel like angels have taken up residence in your nasal cavities.
Do you have any cold recovery tricks and hacks? Let us know below in the comment section.