Photo by Jaime Pérez via Flickr Creative Commons

Cold Fighting Strategies

By Jeanette Nishimori

A little morning chill tells us fall will soon bring relief from the sloughing, ominous Fresno summers. We also know that winter and the equally sloughing and ominous cold season will soon be upon us.

For much of my seven something decades, winter illness has been a curse. Endless days of the blahs, sneezing, stuffy nose and listening to my friends and neighbors complain of the same.

In the past several years, I have learned a few therapies that have helped me through these times and I wish to share them with Community Alliance readers. I am neither a medical professional nor a science researcher and can only say that these have worked for me in my winters of discontent.

Here are my suggestions:

Keep warm. This means wearing plenty of warm outerwear, scarves around the neck, gloves and, most important, a hat.  Seventy percent of the body’s heat is lost through the head. I firmly believe that if you get cold, you catch a cold. Why else would colds happen in the winter rather than the summer? Keep your home warm.

Drink echinacea tea or take Airborne as a preventive every few days. Just one cup of the tea or one Airborne tablet in a large glass of water.

Echinacea tea comes from the roots and leaves of the cone flower, a daisy-like plant often used in gardens. It has been found to have immune-boosting properties and was widely used by our wise ancestors, the first peoples of America. It can be found in any health food store and drunk as a tea. Steep it well, add some honey (it’s a little bitter) and drink it hot. I have gone from a practically bedridden state to ambulatory after two cups of this tea. I believe in it.

Airborne can be found in any pharmacy. After using it for several years, I finally looked at its list of ingredients. Along with vitamins such as C and A, it contains (surprise to me!) 350 mg of echinacea.

Since I began taking Airborne before airplane and train rides, I have never gotten sick. Before that, I would frequently become ill due to recycled air and fellow passengers with colds.

When you feel a cold coming, start fighting it immediately. This means take echinacea or Airborne twice a day (I don’t recommend any more; it is a medicine after all); take your NSAID of choice (such as aspirin) as instructed on the bottle; immerse yourself in a hot bath with a cup of epsom salts (relief for achiness); and make yourself a hot pot of soup. Go to bed. When you wake up in the morning, continue with this strategy until you feel better. It is important to continue attacking the cold rather than letting yourself be run down by it.

My favorite cold fighting soup is an easy one, lugaw, a Filipino recipe: one carton of chicken stock and 1–2 cups of water, a handful of rice, 3–4 coins of fresh ginger, some chicken wings or drumsticks. Simmer for an hour. Top with cilantro or chopped green onions and a little soy sauce.

Other therapies that might be useful. Use a neti pot to keep the nasal passages clear and moistened. Wash hands frequently. Get plenty of rest and good nutrition.

*****

Jeanette Nishimori of Fresno is a world traveler, foodie, aspiring artist and grandmother to Layla and Reid.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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