Hey ladies,

I’ve spent the last week struggling to fight off a nasty cold/flu like illness that seems to be going around right now. If you take my advice and travel somewhere warm this winter, you might think it’s smooth sailing in terms of avoiding those winter bugs. But unfortunately they persist even in full sunshine (mine certainly did, even with Oakland on a record 90-100 degree high this week) and the stress of traveling only aggravates things. Finding a doctor while on the road isn’t easy and the ordeal is best saved for more serious conditions, so here are some home remedies and tips with ingredients that are hopefully quite easy to find, mostly tested by me throughout this week.

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-Hand sanitizer or wipes above hand washing in public spaces. The handles of public washroom sinks, doors, and so on are far from hygienic. I would rather be stuck with my own germs than subject my newly clean hands to be freely colonized by whatever is lurking around the public washroom. Bring your own stash of hand sanitizer or wipes to use when needed.

-Vitamins. Hopefully you are eating well, but it doesn’t hurt to be taking a multivitamin or a vitamin C pill daily. You can also try taking a few tablespoons of sambuccus, or elderberry, syrup everyday.

-Ginger. Brew it in hot water for a strong spicy tea, or cook it into dinner. This is good for stomach problems as well.

-Tumeric. Cure your cold with curry! Gargle with warm water, salt, apple cider vinegar, and tumeric or breathe in the steam from toasted tumeric.

-The neti pot. These little plastic or ceramic tea pot things retail for around $11. Add saline solution and lukewarm water and have fun trying to get it to drain through from one nostril to the other. Though it can be difficult and hilarious, it’ll make your sinuses feel like a million bucks. Be creative if you don’t have an actual neti pot and improvise with something else laying around.

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photo by Artpottery

-Have a stiff drink. Personally I like to avoid alcohol when I’m sick, but I’ve known people who have sworn by taking a shot or two of vodka or brandy if they wake up sick in the middle of the night. I think I could maybe convince myself to have a hot toddy if I had trouble falling asleep…

-Taking your mind off of it. Though rest is absolutely crucial to recovery, staying in bed for days moaning about how awful you feel is going to keep your mind stuck on your illness and keep you away from enjoying your trip. I’m thankful I have an internship and school, which forced me to down my Theraflu and leave the house after my two days of quarantine. Go to check out one thing on your “must do” itinerary and see how you feel afterwards. Lay at the park or read in a café near the hostel/hotel/house/what-have-you.

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By all means, if your condition fails to improve, see a doctor! None of my tips are meant to take the place of real medical advice.

What do you do fight your colds on the road?

post by Jackie Clark