A diet of Sudafed and Emergen-C?
May 29, 2012 8:52 AM   Subscribe

I really, really can't get sick right now.

I'm feeling some increasing sinus pressure and nausea, but I can't afford to get sick for...the next three weeks.

This week, I cannot miss work at all, and will be working 12+ hour days. I am leaving for two weeks (and change) of international business travel starting Saturday. The events this week at work and during travel are incredibly important to me and will be great, and I don't want to miss them. I absolutely cannot miss work this week, though I can possibly pull some days down to 10-hours (but need to be at full capacity). I'm used to working 10-hour days minimum.

I eat pretty healthy, mostly vegetarian. I just had a relaxing three-day weekend, but am under a fair amount of work stress. I work out 3-5x a week (10k training and weightlifting). I wash my hands a lot. I'm allergic to dust and anything with leaves/pollen; I take Claritin every day.

I've taken some Sudafed and am drinking tons of water, but I really feel poorly. I'm in DC, and the heat is really not great for me, either. I have no time to see a doctor before I leave.

What can I do to keep myself from getting sick these next few weeks? Additionally, I'll be traveling internationally to Italy on Saturday/Sunday, so need to not get ill on the flight or while in Italy.
posted by quadrilaterals to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do a Neti Pot or Simply Saline spray or another kind of nasal irrigation. If you get sicker, do it some more.
posted by Madamina at 8:55 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you are having sinus issues, try a Neti Pot - it takes a bit to get used to (esp. if you gag easily), but once used properly, it leaves you feeling wonderful.

You can get a pot and rinse solution at most drug stores - I used the NeilMed brand, as it came as a package, and was the easiest to use.

http://www.neilmed.com/usa/nasaflo.php
posted by GJSchaller at 8:55 AM on May 29, 2012


As a follow-up, I'm feeling the same thing as of late, and I'm up in NYC. I suspect the weather patterns and mild winter have made for a horrific pollen count this year, and air pressure isn't helping. It may not be viral / bacterial in nature, so the sinus rinse will help were cold medicine will not.
posted by GJSchaller at 8:57 AM on May 29, 2012


Sinus rinses. LOTS of them. It's outside the standard labeling, but when I am getting sick, I try to do 5 a day, with two of them being hypertonic. (On my doctor's recommendation.) Also drink an absolute ton of water, and if you're working 12 hour days, then you need to be spending as much of the other 12 hours sleeping. I find the nasaflo bottle easier and faster than the neti pot.
posted by KathrynT at 8:58 AM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's some advice in this previous question.
posted by theodolite at 8:59 AM on May 29, 2012


DO NOT USE TAP WATER WITH A NETI POT.

Make sure you used distilled water or whatever rinse solution they sell you.

This cannot be overstated.

article on this
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:59 AM on May 29, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh yeah, as OTLC says, in DC, it's important to use distilled water. One easy way to get distilled water to warm-not-hot, particularly in an office setting, is to buy small bottles of water, fill the sink up with hot water, and warm the water bottle in the sink.
posted by KathrynT at 9:03 AM on May 29, 2012


If it's not just allergies, yin chiao might help. Available at natural food and health stores. I've had great success with it to cut the duration of a cold, but you need to start it at the earliest signs of illness.
posted by liketitanic at 9:04 AM on May 29, 2012


Be careful with sudafed and other decongestants. If the pain is due to swelling inside the nasal passages, an nsaid might be a better choice. Decongestants basically slow down mucus production, and if you've got "stuff" that needs to get out, it won't. And if your nasal passages are already raw, drying them out makes them more susceptible to being irritated by allergens or viruses.

What I've done when I am sick and can't be sick, is to take whatever I need to during the day to be able to function. But then at night, I do the reverse. Lots of fluids, no decongestants. Basically letting everything that's been stopped up out.
posted by gjc at 9:18 AM on May 29, 2012


Elderberry extract.
posted by caryatid at 9:20 AM on May 29, 2012


Keep your nutrition up, eat well. Take a basic multivitamin like Centrum once per day - and chew it up, don't just swallow it whole.
posted by caclwmr4 at 9:21 AM on May 29, 2012


Yep, keep taking Emergen-C. If you don't want to stick a tube up your nostril and do the whole neti pot thing just insufflate a handfull of water and blow it out. Guaranteed to get some extra goop out.
posted by thylacine at 9:24 AM on May 29, 2012


Wellness Formula. Expensive but it really works, astonishingly enough. Any health food store will carry it.

The biggest thing otherwise is to earnestly take time to keep your stress levels in check. Get as much good-quality sleep as you can, and make sure the last hour before bed is a calm one (no internet, tv or texting). I know it doesn't seem like you have time, but a few times a day you should also take a few minutes for something like gentle yoga stretches, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. It's very easy in these situations to want to be on 24/7, and your body simply can't handle that.
posted by susanvance at 9:28 AM on May 29, 2012


Sleep. As much as you can. Make your sleep space as comfy as possible. Bribe or oust bedmates, pets, children, random hangers on as necessary but getting as much good sleep as possible will help a lot.
posted by pointystick at 9:44 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some people find more efficacy from the other OTC antihistamines- consider Zyrtec and Allegra as options. (warning: if you don't have a single day when you don't need your brain, don't try a new drug; they can have unexpected side effects, eg brain fuzziness).

I take Benadryl at night when things are bad; but this requires you know how long it makes you drowsy for and that you have enough time to recover before you have to work again.
posted by nat at 9:56 AM on May 29, 2012


Garlic (preferably raw - eat a clove or 2 at bedtime. Chop it up and stick it in a baked potato if you need help getting it down raw), Emergen C, capsaicin capsules or just eat some of those spice little red peppers they put in Asian food, get as much sleep as you can, take Rhodiola Rosea for energy, and a really solid multivitamin (I like Bluebonnet multi, Source of Life brand, or Alive.)
posted by MexicanYenta at 10:11 AM on May 29, 2012


Make sure you are using the type of Sudafed that you get at the pharmacist's counter and have to show ID and sign for (if you are in the U.S.). The stuff with pseudoephedrine, I mean.

I heard that the formulation that is just unrestricted OTC has a different ingredient that is not as effective.
posted by marble at 10:13 AM on May 29, 2012


If you are already sick no magic incantations or potions are going to help.

Advil reduces swelling and can prevent absolute sinus blockage.
posted by rr at 10:29 AM on May 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would take some generic guafineisin (sp?) on your trip in case this junk moves into your lungs. Stuff like this may become bronchitis or pneumonia if it gets infected or moves through your upper respiratory tract - a basic expectorant may help you during your travels.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 12:34 PM on May 29, 2012


Avoid alcohol! Not that you'll probably want to drink any when you're not feeling well anyway, but just in case. Drinking alcohol when you're starting to get sick significantly increases your chance of getting sicker.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:47 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Take it easy when you are not working and get as much and as good quality sleep as possible.
posted by marylynn at 4:27 PM on May 29, 2012


Some studies have shown that echinacea can reduce the length of a cold. Worth a shot. I take one that comes with vitamins A,C,E and zinc.
posted by kjs4 at 6:43 PM on May 29, 2012


as said above, make sure you are getting a good sleep, it makes a huge difference
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:52 PM on May 29, 2012


thylacine: " just insufflate a handfull of water and blow it out."

I would make that salt water, or else it's going to hurt like hell.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:20 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


The other thing that I do when I am feeling like I am getting sick is to go to McDonald's and get me a big-ass bucket of orange juice. Maybe it is all in my head, but I believe it works, so it does.
posted by gjc at 6:22 AM on May 30, 2012


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