Surviving Sickness: Cures for the Common Cold

Every day this week I’ve had to peel myself out of bed and hop into a steamy shower so that I can breathe. I have a cold. At times, my lips and nose are so dry I feel that if I smile, they’ll bleed. I have not been able to speak above a whisper for three days.

If you are a student, caretaker, or can’t take time off work I’m sure you know that regardless of illness, the show must go on. I’m proud of how well I have been operating while under the weather. I’ve cooked dinner every night, my house is clean, and I’ve made it to all my classes – all while unable to speak or breathe through my nose! One of the reasons I’ve been able to function (albeit quite groggily at times) is by actively fighting my cold symptoms.

My first tactic to defeat a nasty cold is:

#1 Address your Ailments

This may seem obvious, but often the last thing you feel like doing when you’re sick is making soup or taking medicine. You have to take an active role in fighting your cold symptoms.

Sore Throat:

Once you’ve medicated (with an antihistamine like Benadryl), go for the classic cure-all: tea! Tea is really soothing on your throat. There are even teas made specifically to treat a sore throat, though I’ve found that they tend to taste terrible. If you don’t like tea, try Apple Cider. Cider has the added benefit of Vitamin C.

Cough drops are also an indispensable resource – especially to keep from coughing in class or at work. Thankfully, cough drops don’t taste disgusting anymore. I’m a big fan of Halls’ mixed berry cough drops. But if you want to change up the flavor you can also use hard candy, like starlight mints or caramels.

Popsicles are my final go-to for a really bad sore throat. This time around I didn’t have any popsicles on hand – so I sucked on ice cubes. Weird, I know, but it worked well and kept me hydrated.

Be sure to get sugar free varieties of popsicles and cough drops. The last thing you want is to rot your teeth by soaking them in sugar for a week.

As far as meals go, canned soup is your friend. You won’t feel like cooking – but soup is a soothing and delicious option.


You need a decongestant (shocking!) like Sudafed. You will be able to breathe again!

If your throat isn’t hurting you too badly try some culinary decongestants. Horseradish, wasabi, and other spicy foods work wonders. I also like a steamy bowl of soup for decongesting.

When bed time finally comes around, I highly recommend Nyquil. It works better than any other decongestant I’ve tried. It tastes horrible, but it clears out your nasal passage so you can finally get to sleep.

Tender nose and lips:

This product has been discontinued, but you can get it on Amazon (here).

Rose Salve! I discovered this Blueberry Rose Salve on super sale at Bath & Body Works. It’s multipurpose for “face, cuticles, and lips.” I’ve been using it over my dry, irritated nose and lips. It’s amazing! It moisturizes and heals my tissue-rubbed skin.

Unfortunately, I have not yet found any sure-fire way to clear that groggy, fuzzy feeling I often have during a cold. Please let me know if you have any methods – they would be invaluable!

Check back for part 2 of Sickness Survival: Planning ahead to make life easier!



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