I always get a cold when I travel. This doesn’t surprise me too much; after all travel can be quite stressful on your body. You’re in a new environment, often in small spaces with lots of people (trains, planes, hostel dorm rooms, etc) making it easy for colds to spread. Added factors like jetlag, and late nights, don’t help either.
While I’m not a health care professional I have figured out some things to take with me that have definitely helped me recover from my colds a lot quicker than it normally would.
1. Cold FX
Cold FX are over-the-counter cold prevention pills. I’ve found that taking Cold FX helps to shorten my colds, and it makes them less intense. The label recommends you take 2 pills a day, every day to help prevent a cold. A standard bottle of 60 pills is about $30. So a year’s supply will run you over $360.
Yikes! That’s a little too much for me. Instead I follow this secondary option. When I begin to feel a cold coming on I’ll do the following regimen:
Day 1: Take 3 pills 3 times a day.
Day 2: Take 2 pills 3 times a day.
Day 3: Take 1 pill 3 times a day.
Day 4 and up: Take 2 pills 2 times a day until the cold is gone.
Usually my cold is gone by day 4. The only downside is that COLD-FX is only available in Canada.
If you can’t get COLD-FX where you live, Astragalus is quite effective at shortening colds.
You should be able to buy Astragalus at a health food store.
2. Ginger Tea
This is the holy grail of my “I’m gonna kick this cold’s ass” kit. It’s a recipe for ginger tea I got from my mom. In Vancouver for TBEX I caught a cold, so I stopped off at a grocery store to pick up some ginger root, went back to my hostel and made ginger tea in the kitchen. I then carried my ginger tea with me all weekend.
This makes 6 cups of ginger tea. You can easily half or double the recipe if you need to.
- Ginger root approximately 5 fingers big. You should be able to buy ginger root at a local grocery store or market.*
- 10 cups of water. Make sure the water is safe to drink.
- Honey (optional).
- Cutting board.
- Small cutting knife.
- Vegetable/potato peeler (you could just use a knife, but having a peeler will make things easier).
- Saucepan that holds at least 10 cups of water.
- Stovetop or hotplate.
- A coffee cup.
- A large water bottle or juice jug for leftovers.
- Take the ginger root and peel it. Cut the peeled ginger root into small chunks, about an inch. Don’t worry about being exact – this isn’t a cooking competition.
- Fill the saucepan with 10 cups of water and add the ginger.
- Cover the sauce pan. Bring the water to a boil, making sure the pot doesn’t boil over.
- Let the water boil down from 10 cups to 6 cups. The water will turn a cloudy yellow colour. The darker the colour, the stronger the mixture.
- Take the saucepan off the burner and let it cool a bit (you don’t want to burn your tongue when you drink your tea).
- If you want to leave the ginger in you can, but once the ginger water has concentrated down taking the piece out won’t lessen the potency.**
- Fill a glass or mug with ginger tea and drink. The taste may seem strange at first, and can be quite strong. If you need to add a little honey you can, but it’s best to drink the ginger tea straight as it will be more potent.***
- After the mixture has cooled you can store any leftovers in a juice jug or water bottle. Then simply reheat the tea when you need to, either in a saucepan on the stove, or in a microwavable mug in the microwave.
*If you don’t have access to a kitchen go to grocery store and see if you can find diced ginger in a jar. Try mixing a tablespoon of the diced ginger with a cup of hot water. While it’s better to make fresh ginger tea this solution is better than nothing.
**Once the ginger tea is made I’ll take the ginger pieces out and keep them. It sounds strange but when I get an earache with my cold I’ll take a piece of ginger, wrap it in a some paper towel and rest it against my ear. It’s really effective at relieving the pain. Don’t put the ginger directly in your ear, as that can cause more problems.
***Ginger is also good at relieving nausea. However this recipe might be a little too harsh if you have an upset stomach, so I recommend watering it down.
Disclaimer: You should talk with a trusted health care professional before trying these remedies. Not all remedies will work the same for everyone. If your cold lasts longer than a few days go see a doctor. Don’t take chances when it comes to your health.
About the Author: Alouise Dittrick is from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she is attending University for Professional Writing. She loves musicals, and traveling, especially if it involves road trips. You can follow Alouise on Twitter or on her website Traveler Ahoy.
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