Getting Over Colds and Influenzas Quicker

March 17, 2016

As I hear Seattle’s weather forecasts including “freezing fog, blusterier winds and chance of snow,” I’m reminded of a promise I made last winter. I am going to create for my clients a cold/flu handout—steps to feeling better quicker.

Our society can learn to sneeze into our elbows, wash our hands more frequently, carry disinfecting wipes for swiping surfaces, door knobs, stair rails, wear gloves and even sport the nose masks that trap airborne germs from spreading randomly. Without a doubt, the flu vaccinations reduce incidents of colds and flus in the very young and senior members of our communities. However, if you are out and about doing your business and living fully, you too will be exposed to random viruses. It is only a matter of time.

Chinese medicine prescribes being sick, so you can get better. I’m thinking “getting better” involves shortening the time of the sick, miserable feeling time. After symptoms begin to develop such as sneezing, watery eyes and/or runny nose, aching joints, headaches and perhaps a mild fever, prepare for the following three-day routine. I recommend for adults the following plan for feeling better quicker.

days: workmates, appoint folks, carpool group, nanny, etc. Clear calendar, blocking out time for feeling better quicker.

Names Numbers


2. INITIATE HOT BATHS: Make bath water hot enough that you sweat a bit—approximately 104 degrees Fahrenheit or as hot as you can stand it for 20 minutes. Take 3 to 5 hot baths daily.

Rational: Virus and bacteria thrive in a 98.6 human habitat. Your immune system functions better at just above normal body temperature. When you take a hot bath or shower, you are intentionally, warming your body to make it more difficult for the germs to be happy, much less survive.

Day One Bath Times

* __________ *__________ *__________ *__________ *__________

Day Two Bath Times

* __________ *__________ *__________ *__________ *__________

Day Three Bath Times

* __________ *__________ *__________ *__________ *__________

3. RELAX AND REST: Nap frequently. Get loads of rest. Wear fresh and comfortable leisure clothes. Watch television. Read a book for fun. Sleep. Should you suddenly feel chilled, take another hot bath.

Day One Rest Time

Naps______ Television______ Reading______ Other______

Day Two Rest Times

Naps______ Television______ Reading______ Other______

Day Three Rest Times

Naps______ Television______ Reading______ Other______

4. EAT EASILY DIGESTED FOODS such as broths, soups with a few vegetables and a little rice, cottage cheese

Food Notes:
5. DRINK PLENTY OF LIQUIDS such as water, teas–warm drinks that sooth the throat and nasal passages. Avoid excessive consumption of sugary fruit juices.

Liquid Notes

Hopefully, at the end of three days you will be feeling better. You are ready, maybe eager, to return to your normal activities. Should the symptoms linger longer than three days, please check with your medical professional of choice. Someone with whom you are able to problem solve is ideal. Take your Cold/Flu Handout with you for records of what steps you have taken in feeling better quicker.

This is what I have put together so far for an easy guide to caring for self during the cold and influenza season. What is helpful? How could the practical handout for feeling better quicker be improved? I welcome your feedback.


I am so pleased to be able to raid files of several friends and my own experience to share three recipes for chasing away the winter blahs.


You remember, no doubt, suggestions made by friends and relatives to use supplements such as zinc, vitamin C, and fresh ginger when suffering from symptoms cold and influenza symptoms. Generally, they do help. To those, I add cut back on your consumption of sugar.

A NEVER FAIL GARGLE that I use when needed is several tablespoons of lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small glass and shake to dissolve the salt. Gargle several times and swallow juice.

From the Early family kitchens comes the WARM SPICED ORANGE/LEMON TEA . It is a tea the family served during special family gatherings and/or to family members with the sniffles.

In a large pot or soup pan mix the following:
Equal amounts of frozen orange and lemon (lemonade) juices. Follow the directions on the frozen containers regarding water. Over a low heat, add these to the liquid mixture

* 1 Cinnamon stick
* 4-6 Whole cloves
* 2-3 Black tea bags or the equivalent loose black tea

Bring just to a boil. Turn off heat and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain if necessary. Add more water and/or sugar to taste. Serve while hot. Save any left over tea in a glass container to cool and them place in the refrigerator.

Later stir or shake liquid. Pour out only the cups of the liquid to be served into a warming pan or by cup in a Microwave. (Warm only the cups of tea needed.) The remaining liquid mixture should be good in the refrigerated glass container for 3 to 4 days.

The second warm tea is one discovered during the 15 years Joan Knutson taught English in a design university in Tokyo, Japan. While visiting her now in the southwest United States during winter months, chances are she will serve you a steaming cup of LEMON GINGER TEA.

Into a 2-3 cup tea pot, pour
* Juice of one lemon
* 2 Knuckle-sized pieces of ginger. (Using a juicer makes this very easy. However, the tea is delicious even when one small dices the ginger.)
* 2 Boiling cups of water.

Stir and then steep for 10 minutes. Strain liquid, if necessary. Pour into cups/mugs, adding a small amount of maple syrup to taste. Enjoy!

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