Can't ... Get ... Sick ...
March 11, 2014 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Help me stay as healthy as I can as my life gets even crazier!

Hi y'all,

So I have always been prone to getting sick when I am exhausted. I realize this is pretty common, but I feel like for me it's especially true - I know my own symptoms like the back of my hand, and usually they turn into a cold-like, sinus thing if I don't catch them early. I have gotten better at recognizing when they're coming and fighting them off with things like Airborne, tea, and of course, lots of sleep.

This past weekend, I went to NYC for a long-planned weekend for a friend's wedding which I knew would be exhausting. I already felt run-down beforehand, so I tried my hardest to take care of myself before the trip but proceeded (as expected) to get little to no sleep while I was there. I got back yesterday, totally zonked and feeling not 100%. Then I got a call from my dream job ... back in Manhattan. They want me to come back in on Thursday for a second round interview. They also gave me a writing assignment to complete before then. This is AMAZING. Of course I will go back. But I am already feeling the sad tired cold symptoms. (seriously, they couldn't have called a few hours earlier? Oy!)

The kicker is that this coming weekend is the Jewish holiday of Purim and my voice has to be able to read lots of the Megillah and sing kind of loudly. I will try to find other people to take at least some of the burden off of me, but there are definitely some parts I just *have* to be on for. I have been practicing for months and I am a little bit indispensable in this particular case. The weekend is planned nonstop from Friday night through Sunday night and I hate to miss anything, but I don't know how I'm even going to make it through the interview and weekend when I already feel like a hoarse tired zombie. Of course I'll try to prioritize as best I can.

Mefites, give me your best tips and tricks for avoiding getting sick, or at least for minimizing the damage - how can I make it through this interview while looking and feeling confident? And how can I save at least some of my voice for the most essential parts of the weekend? (People who travel a lot for work must deal with issues like these all the time, right? How do they do it?)

Thanks. :)
posted by bookgirl18 to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: (Should clarify: I am in Boston, which is approximately a 4 hour train/bus ride away. So that's the travel I'm dealing with. Muchas gracias.)
posted by bookgirl18 at 8:58 AM on March 11, 2014

OK, so Airborne and things like that are the equivalent of snake oil, and are not good replacements for taking care of yourself. How much sleep are you getting? How much exercise? How hydrated are you? How much down time do you have?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:02 AM on March 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

I have had surprisingly good (or confirmation bias-y) success with Zicam lozenges and tea with buckwheat honey this year. Knock wood.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 9:03 AM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think these really prevent getting sick, but I think there is actual documented evidence that garlic and acetylcysteine (available some places in the supplements as NAC) both reduce the severity of cold/flu things. I'm not totally sure if they work once you're already sick, but the garlic at least is an easy one to do just in case.
posted by Sequence at 9:05 AM on March 11, 2014

Lots and lots of water (maybe with some apple cider vinegar splashed in), some green vegetable juices, and as much sleep as you can get.

I have no idea if it works or if it's placebo, but I imagine all the water I'm drinking is flushing pathogens out of my body before they can take hold. If that's not how it works, at least I'm plenty hydrated.
posted by magdalemon at 9:06 AM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sleep as much as possible, offload what you can, and eat VERY healthy. And if your voice is something you want to preserve, speak as little as possible.

The above methods were field-tested by someone with a stage career (mostly backstage) and a day job for 10+ years.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:10 AM on March 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

Wash your hands a lot. Avoid touching your face as much as possible, especially in public.
posted by drug_dealer73 at 9:16 AM on March 11, 2014 [12 favorites]

1. Wash your hands a lot. Use that handi-wipe to clean the cart handles when you go to the grocery store.
2. Sleep of course.
3. I also can not get sick so if I even get a twinge in my throat I take garlic capsules (because I don't want to eat a raw clove, yuck) and this has been working for me for two years. Have to do it at the slightest twinge. Or take garlic when you have been in a crowd or you have something big coming up you can't miss.
4. My weak point is my bladder. If I'm stressed out I will start to get a bladder infection. At the first twinge I take cranberry capsules or drink unsweetened cranberry juice. This has been working for me to cure bladder infections for the last five years. But I never let it get past the first twinge.
5. I take fish oil capsules to prevent gum infections which lead to all kinds of ills. I just take a couple, you can overdue the fish oil. Be careful.
6. Take acidophilus or eat yogurt to insure you have good bacteria in your gut. This might be more important than anything.
posted by cda at 9:24 AM on March 11, 2014

Use the time in transit to rest. Read a nice book, page through a magazine.

Eat incredibly well, limit carbs (carbs make me drag ass) fresh fruit, veggies, no sugar, and limit caffeine. It's too tempting to drink espressos and eat cookies to power up, and the crashes are brutal!

Don't spend any time this week out and about over and above what you're scheduled for.

Take Monday off if possible, or take tomorrow off. Loaf.

Don't do any cleaning this week it can wait until you've had a chance to catch up on your rest.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:29 AM on March 11, 2014

I always make a hippie cure all soup: garlic, onion, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, mushrooms, broth. I also always eat mostly organic, so, maybe take that into account when purchasing vegetables. I also don't shy away from caffeine, but I do avoid sugar. Drink smoothies made with fresh greens and frozen berries...add cinnamon and honey. Drink white or green tea with honey. Rest a lot and drink a lot of water (with more lemon).
posted by semaphore at 9:34 AM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sleep and wash your hands is about all that I think can actually help. That and drinking my healing ginger tea everyday.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 9:38 AM on March 11, 2014

When I feel a cold coming on, I use Zand Elderberry Zinc and Orange C lozenges. One each about once an hour. I hardly ever get colds anymore (and I work in healthcare) and when I do they are shortened considerably.

And warm salt water gargle for a scratchy throat is a lifesaver. Good luck with the interview. A writing job in Manhattan sounds so glamorous!
posted by Beti at 9:57 AM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Drink lots of fluids, you want to keep those mucous membranes nice and moist to trap germs, and wash nasties down into your stomach to dissolve.

Wash your hands a lot with soap and water and try not to touch your face. Watch yourself touching surfaces other people have touched a lot.

If your throat is sore, salt water gargles and suck on a teaspoon of good quality honey. Hot teas with lemon and honey in can help with this too. Simple cough lollies/lozenges can help you soldier through by helping keep your throat feeling less harsh.

Get enough sleep, if you can, if not at least keep regular sleep hours.
posted by wwax at 10:17 AM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

wrt to the actual trip, if you can afford it, take the train, and during off hours, so you miss the rush. It'll give you 4 hrs to center yourself and rest. Amtrak is so much calmer to deal with than a bus.
posted by larthegreat at 10:36 AM on March 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Two magical things which kept me cold-free all of this winter:

- chew fresh ginger root, good god DAMN it is spicy but it's like it burns the germs out of you, my GP actually recommended this one and wow, it sure works.

- cut sugar out of your diet during the emergency-health-need time. if you can do this, you just eat better stuff and don't do sugar highs and lows all day. it worked for me!
posted by greenish at 10:53 AM on March 11, 2014

Saline nasal spray. STAT.

Use often!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:06 AM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

sleep all the time. Like go home, shower, put on comfies, eat something and go to bed even if it's 6:45. overdose on sleep. mornin, noon, and night, if you don't have something scheduled sleep, or at least lay in bed with no screens on.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:28 AM on March 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Use acidophilus from the refrigerated cabinet at the health food store - two a day at least - to help keep the right bacterial balance throughout your GI tract - including your throat.

Rest, lots of fluids, OTC throat soothers, juice, REST, semaphore's hippie soup, fluids, REST.

And know that all this will pass and things will be back to normal soon (and maybe with a new, wonderful job!)
posted by aryma at 7:50 PM on March 11, 2014

I'm like you, and my doc has recommended doing the nasal rinse (netipot is one of the versions, and I have a plastic version that I think is cheaper) at the first sign of any nasal symptoms. I do it 2 times a day when I start to feel symptoms, and I think it helps flush all the gross stuff out. Just make sure you use bottled water so you don't get brain parasites. :)
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:25 PM on March 12, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice! Thanks to lots of fluids, a lot more sleep, and as many fruits and veggies as I could manage while in transit, the cold is passing through with a whimper instead of a bang. I'll definitely check this thread again when in need!
(And the interview seemed to go well, so we'll see what happens!)
posted by bookgirl18 at 6:09 PM on March 14, 2014

« Older How can I be less needy?   |   Help me find a warm puffy coat for NEXT winter. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.