I heard that you were feeling ill ...
September 28, 2012 8:27 AM   Subscribe

I have a cold/flu thing. What can I do to speed my recovery as much as possible?

I started feeling sick on Wednesday night. At first I was just a bit congested, and I went to work yesterday (Thursday) morning for a meeting, but by noon I knew I had a fever and had to go home. I got about 10 hours of (Nyqui-assisted) sleep last night, but actually feel worse today.

My symptoms are fever, headache, body aches (mostly in my torso), slight congestion and a nasty cough.

What I'm doing:

- Taking it easy. Doing a tiny bit of easy work, but mostly watching TV and sleeping.
- Taking a small dose of dayquil during the day to be less in pain, and nyquil at night to sleep. Do these drugs slow healing?
- Drinking lots of liquids: water, emergen-C (made with hot water and honey) and orange juice.
- Eating as healthy as possible: yesterday I ate mostly chicken, rice and salad.

Normally I'd just figure I'm going to be sick as long as I'm sick and deal with it, but I'm working on a political campaign and election day is just over a month away. I would really love to be back in commission by Monday. Is there anything I can add to my current regime to speed my recovery? I have a drugstore pretty close to me.
posted by lunasol to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sleep. When you wake up, hydrate. Maybe take some vitamin C and or mucinex. Sleep moar.
When I am down, a good 48 hours of as much shut eye as possible does me good.

Get well soon!
posted by pointystick at 8:33 AM on September 28, 2012

The drugs don't slow healing, they just make you more comfortable while you are healing.

Resting, liquids and chicken soup are about all you can do. If you can tolerate aspirin, you might want to substitute it for a dose of Dayquil, as Dayquil uses aceteminophen, which IMHO is a less effective fever reducer.

I find that the first two days are the worst. Then you slowly begin to feel better.

If you feel okay on Monday, all but a cough or some congestion, then go back to work, but don't over do it. If you still feel shitty, you might want to think about seeing a doctor.

When you are fully recovered, get that flu shot!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:34 AM on September 28, 2012

A friend of mine swears by echinacea tea, Dannon Active, and Emergen-C. I also sometimes use the Zicam zinc meltaway product, but you have to time that carefully if you're doing vitamin c - you can't take it together. Other than that, rest, and lots of liquids. Feel better!
posted by needlegrrl at 8:34 AM on September 28, 2012

Sleep as much as you can! All the sleeping! Don't feel like you're being lazy or whatever, and ffs do not let anyone guilt you into feeling like you're lazy for taking care of your health. Those people are Bad People.
posted by elizardbits at 8:35 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is what works for me:

High doses (short term) of vitamins A and E.
Consuming food and drinks that skew the body a bit more towards alkaline, like lettuce, corn, apple juice, and (diet) tonic water. Plus I avoid anything strongly acidic/pro-inflammatory, like peanut products.

Plus, get adequate salt (in addition to the obvious liquids), especially with a fever.
posted by Michele in California at 8:47 AM on September 28, 2012

Zinc lozenges. I swear by Cold-Eeze but you have to take it immediately, as soon as you start getting symptoms. It doesn't work if you have a full blown cold.

I like Zicam too.
posted by shoesietart at 8:58 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

My experience with echinacea is that its good to try to kill a cold in its first blush, but once you're sick, its rather useless. YMMV.

Do as little as possible. Let your body use its energy to fight the cold. And while you should take something at night so your cough doesn't keep you up, don't underestimate the value of coughing while you're awake to let you body get rid of all the phlegm.
posted by dry white toast at 9:22 AM on September 28, 2012

I think once you're at the fever and body aches stage (which points more toward flu than cold, I think), there's not much you can do to speed recovery besides rest and plenty of fluids.

I find Mucinex-D (the pseudoephedrine formula that's behind the pharmacy counter, not the one that just has guaifenesin) to be a wonder drug for fighting symptoms, though. Way, way better than the 'Quils.

Echinacea capsules work well for me if I start taking them at the first sign of a scratchy throat, but not once it sets in the way yours has. If you're still sick on Monday, stay home... your team will lose more overall man-hours if you spread it to a couple of people than they will if you stay home an extra day or two.
posted by Kriesa at 9:22 AM on September 28, 2012

This may be unpopular advice, but when I'm sick I always let the fever take its course. A fever is your body trying to burn away some of the infection. As long as it's not too high, a fever isn't a bad thing - just a really uncomfortable thing.

Also, ginger tea.

Oh, and also: Steam. Clears the sinuses. Boil a pot of water, put it on the table, drape a towel over your head, sit leaning over the pot until it's no longer steamy. Every couple of minutes blow your nose.

Some people use a neti pot to great effect, I'm told. I know nothing about this contraption, however.
posted by Urban Winter at 9:24 AM on September 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sleep. In my experience, resting while watching TV/reading doesn't help me get better as fast as when I continuously knock myself out with nyquill/tylenol PM. 24 hours of actual sleep (instead of just taking it easy) usually makes me all better.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 9:25 AM on September 28, 2012

Here is a funny one, a friend told me the other day that if you take decongestants, it can actually make you end up being ill for longer, as it stops your body from using it's natural defences against germs. So maybe don't do that. But I do not have a citation for it - if it helps said friend is super-geeky, that has to count for something.
posted by greenish at 9:35 AM on September 28, 2012

Nthing sleep. Loads and loads of sleep. Make like a hibernating bear. It really helps.

Also, take a hot bath and put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the tub. Drink hot, salty liquids like miso or chicken soup. I find that a hot and spicy meal (like Chinese hot and sour or Thai lemongrass soup) really clears out the sinuses. Drink plenty of regular liquids, like water.

If you are uncomfortable because you are feverish then take Advil or Tylenol - otherwise it's fine to let the fever run its course.

If you are blowing your nose a lot, a dab of Vaseline on the nostrils helps soothe them.

tl;dr Time, sleep and liquids are the best way to go.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:13 AM on September 28, 2012

Pound vitamin C like nobody's business.

A few weeks ago I got a sore throat and most of my colds start out with that, so I doubled up on my vitamin C intake (with food - 3 pills in the morning, 3 at night, total of 6,000mg per day) and within a week I was back to normal and it never progressed past a sore throat.

I'm not a doctor or nutritionist, but just from personal experience, I totally heart vitamin C.
posted by E3 at 4:54 PM on September 28, 2012

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