Can I whine for a second? Because being sick is the worst, and I was very sick recently. Boo.
Firstly, I was angry that I even got sick. I take good care of myself, so when I woke up a couple of weeks ago with a raw throat, I tried to convince myself that if I drank enough tea that day, the cold wouldn't happen. Oh, but it did.
I'm OK at being sick for a day or two, until I become mentally defeated by the physical symptoms and my only thought is, "I need my mommy." Colds are especially terrible in the summer in New York City when the streets are steaming hot and you're stuck inside with no A/C, melting from both the fever and the mugginess.
At first, I was too exhausted to leave my room, so I tried the "sleep it off" method, but it's kind of hard to sleep for long when you can't breath through your nose. By day two of the cold, I took my haggard, feverish self out of the house and journeyed to a vitamin store.
This is what colds do. They turn me from a woman who always looks presentable in public into a knotty haired beauty derelict who cares about nothing except her quest to get better. Obviously, I can't exist in this state for very long, so I picked up my cold fighting go-tos: vitamin C and oil of oregano.
You've obviously heard of vitamin C and its cold-fighting powers, but have you tried oregano oil?
Oregano has powerful antioxidant properties and has been called nature's antibiotic. It's not something you'd want to cook with unless you want your food to taste INTENSE in a bad way. It's really good for you, though, so you should keep it on hand in your kitchen for that reason. If you'll be buying it, look for the Wild Mediterranean variety that's not mixed with anything for the purest, most potent oil of oregano experience.
You probably have to go to a speciality shop to find oil of oregano, as I tried CVS and they were like, "You want olive oil instead?" Um, NO. I love olive oil, but O of O is made from super-concentrated oregano oil and tastes like what I might imagine a Death Eater's breath might smell like.
Its cold-killing and immune-system-boosting abilities are powerful. I put two drops under my tongue three times a day, letting it absorb for about 30 seconds. It tastes nasty, so if you can't take it, put a few drops in a bit of juice or water and shoot it back.
In my experience, you have to take the oregano oil immediately when you notice you have a cold to ward it off, not two days into your cold. Unfortunately, I was still really sick after I started taking it, but it does help to cut sick time down. Oh, also: be careful not to take too much of it, as it can be bad for your liver in large doses.
Oil of oregano is a bit pricey, so to keep your cold cure costs down, do as my Nonna does and reach for the garlic. Garlic tea is both soothing and smelly and was created right in my Nonna's kitchen by the woman herself.
It is exactly what is sounds like. Take a medium-sized, fresh garlic clove and slice it so thinly that Vinnie would proudly use it in his pasta sauce. You don't have to use a razor, but you could.
Pour your boiled water over half of your garlic slices and a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered honey and let the whole thing steep for a while, then start sipping. It's soothing and honestly doesn't taste that bad with the honey in it. (I say this now, but I had lost my sense of taste at that point, so it could be a total lie.)
The thinner the garlic slices, the more you won't notice them as they slip down your throat with the tea. Garlic is well known for its potent anti-germ, health-boosting properties. In fact, if you want to straight up eat the raw garlic, or chop it and swallow it down with water, do it. I find the tea makes consuming the pungent bulb a bit more... civilized.
My at-home cold cures, which included using my Neti pot twice a day, were working pretty well, but I was still delirious and exhausted from the illness. On the sixth day of my cold, I woke up with a special surprise: I couldn't open my eyes. They were sealed shut thanks to the eye goo that comes with conjunctivitis, street name "pink eye."
You might be thinking, Carla, most normal people would take themselves to the doctor if they were sick for a week and then developed pink eye, and I would agree with you. By all means, go to the doctor if you find yourself in this situation and you can.
I, however, am a broke Canadian in the United States. I'm confused by and scared of the healthcare system here, so I did what I always do in times of panic and duress: I Googled some home cures and called my dad.
Between Googling and talking to my dad, I came up with a rinse to use for my pink eyes (because of course it travelled into my other eye.)
Apparently, there are two types of pink eye. The bacterial kind you get from someone farting in your face, or a baby wiping poop into his eyes and then touching you, or something similar. You should proooobably get antibiotics for this kind, because poo. The kind I had was viral because it was caused by my demonic cold, but also totally cureable at home--for me, at least.
To cure pink eye with my brew, you will need:
- pure chamomile tea
- raw, unprocessed, unpasteurized honey
- a small lemon wedge
- boiled water
- a water-pouring device
Boil the water and let your chamomile tea brew in a mug for about five minutes, then stir in one teaspoon of honey, squeeze in the slice of lemon, and let it cool to room temperature. It feels quite relieving to pour this concoction into your eyes when it's still a little warm, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T POUR BOILING WATER INTO YOUR EYES. Thanks.
At first, I was trying to rinse my eyes out using a cup like a chump because the old noggin wasn't so sharp at the time. I totally soaked and missed my eyes completely. I was defeated for a few minutes and even cried a bit because WTF I have the worst cold and pink eye and my life feels like it's going down the toilet. Then I had the brilliant idea to use my Neti pot and things got a little better.
Don't worry, I cleaned the pot thoroughly beforehand. I didn't want nose germs in my eyes and vice versa.
Neti worked like a charm. I rinsed my eyes diligently three times a day and the pink eye was gone in two days, like: Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am.
Now I'm better and enjoying the little things in life like being able to wear mascara and sleeping through the night.
If you have the misfortune of catching a summer cold, I hope my witchy at-home methods bring you back to health lickety-split!