Now that the winter holidays are upon us, the last thing you want to do is get sick! No one wants to have a stuffy nose, cough, and congestion with guests around. But in the event that you do get sick, here are some tips to speed up recovery and get you back on your feet!

1. Rest. Do not underestimate your body’s need for rest and sleep. This is the time for recovery and to allow your body to do what it knows and needs to do to recover faster. Oftentimes, we ignore this because we have to stay on a schedule and meet expectations or deadlines but this will only further drain your resources, lengthen recovery time, and make you less productive. (Really, how productive can you be when you’re sick anyway?) In reality, if you just give your body the rest and relaxation it needs at the beginning,  you can get back to work sooner and be more productive.

2. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. When you’re sick, your body’s fluid demand increases. Water is the best source of hydration. Juice contains a lot of sugar and can put more stress on the immune system. Caffeinated drinks (like soda and coffee) and alcohol can dehydrate you further. Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty.

3. Make a hot tea with ginger, lemon, and honey. Ginger has anti-inflammatory effects and may help relieve any nausea or stomach upset. Lemon is a good source of vitamin C and can help cleanse your body. Manuka honey has natural antibiotic properties.

4. Drink soup with garlic and onions. It’s best if you can tolerate at least 2 cloves of raw garlic a day at the beginning of an illness for its antibiotic properties. But if not, make a soup out of it with onions which have natural antioxidant effects. Add in some carrots and celery for more flavor and nutrition.

5. Take high dose vitamin C. By “high dose,” I mean 1000mg 3-4 times a day or more when feeling unwell. (For children, I recommend 500mg 3-4 times a day.) Emergen-C and Airborne packets contain 1000mg of vitamin C each.

6. Suck on zinc lozenges. Zinc is a mineral that’s needed for the immune system to work properly. Taken within 24hrs of the onset of a cold, zinc may lessen the severity and shorten the duration of symptoms.

Remember to avoid getting anyone else sick by washing your hands frequently and covering your cough or sneeze with your sleeve or clothes (not with your hands). If symptoms don’t improve within 1-2 weeks or if you have an unrelenting fever, productive cough with wheezing, nausea/vomiting and are unable to tolerate fluids, then please see your doctor.

May your holiday season be filled with health and happiness!

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