So I’ve finally come down with the requisite annual cold/cough flu condition. Every one has their own prescription of remedies that will help them get well.
Traditionally, it’s chicken soup. A food columnist claims burritos works for her. Joe’s is orange juice. Chinese loquat syrup (for sore throats): it’s like cough syrup in texture, but more brown, herbally and homeopathic in nature, (based on an ancient recipe favored by an Emperor’s mother.) Bak fah yiew (or Tiger Balm) under the nose, at the temples or on the throat, or even on the chest (works likes Vickvaporub, but can multitask as a salve for soreness, bruises, cuts and insect bites.)
Actually, these remedies are not really a cure of the disease, it’s more to minimize the duration of the symptoms, which are annoying, distracting and a hindrance to daily life. The flu virus: the body’s own immune system will deal with (for most people at least.)
Everyone’s personal prescription works best on themselves, and for the most part, depends on the faith that person has in ‘getting them well.’ The rest is experimentation and acculturation.
For me, a lot of it is based on my grandmother’s principles:
Lots of it. Warm or hot. No cold drinks. Water. Tea. Honey. But no milk or creamy products, that will increase the phlegm. Best is a warm concoction of hot water, lime juice, sugar and salt. Lemon juice is OK. Joe swears by orange juice, but for me it’s cold and worsens the throat. Room temp 7-up or ginger ale works. Some of my friends swore by boiled coca cola with lemon, but I think that it’s a placebo for the loquat syrup.
Comfort foods. No fried foods, or ‘hot energy’ foods, in case the cold/sore throat is of a ‘hot origin’ No cold temperature foods either (like ice cream). Broth/Soups. Congee. Fruit .
Avoid it. Keep warm. Tie a scarf around your neck. Stay indoors. When sleeping: tie a face mask or bandana around the nose and mouth (adding a drop or two of bak fah yiew is optional to clear the sinuses), so that it will warm and moisten the air you breathe while asleep.
PERSONAL HYGIENE: My grandmother would never let us take showers or wash our hair when we were sick. A sponge bath was it. My need for a daily shower is too great. Besides, a warm shower usually makes me feel better, wakens the senses a bit. But hair washing episodes when I’m ill are also the only times I bust out the hair dryer.
Only works if you’re feeling really ill. If you’re feeling only moderately ill, I only sleep fitfully and it doesn’t help, in which I turn to
I usually get really bored by day two, if I’m staying home sick. Because at that point, I can’t really sleep. I’m not feeling well enough to stuff that I should do around the house, like cleaning the bathroom, or organizing files. The lethargy is overcome by either TV or books. Cooking is a stretch. If I’m not stocked up on reading material, the TV will entertain me for, what, 4 hours, at night. Daytime TV is pathetic. (thank god for Netflix)
That usually drives me back to work, because working will take my mind off of being sick, and then I get better. It’s odd. I think the body’s immune system works the way paint dries. When you think about it or stare at it nothing happens, but take your attention away, and boom, voila. Weird. The problem with going to work sick is that you might bet your co-workers sick.
OVER THE COUNTER DRUGS:
Except for loquat syrup, I just don’t dig pills that are constantly advertised on TV in the winter months. Oddly enough, my parents do. Maybe it was their way of rebelling against their parents, and I’m rebelling against them. But I just don’t like the way meds make me feel woozy.