What I do when I have a cold?

As a natur­o­path­ic doc­tor, I also am accus­tomed to colds and flu. A sum­mer cold I have not been afflic­ted with for some time, but my sched­ule being crazy cer­tainly was a good recipe for dis­aster. Add a few less hours of sleep, and vir­uses or bac­teria of any kind love my body as a breed­ing ground. So what do I do for a cold, when my body needs time to recover?

As a new doc­tor, I used to feel incred­ibly guilty when I was ill. So many people need­ing assist­ance, how could I not be there to help them? I of course real­ized with time that without tak­ing care of your­self, you can­not take care of any­one else. Plus, being a car­ri­er of the plague is not always a great prac­tice attribute ;)

Here were my approaches (not in any par­tic­u­lar order):

  • Take a week off from blog posting
  • Respond to e‑mails on a need-to-know basis
  • Focus on my phys­ic­al self — let’s face it, when the phys­ic­al self speaks, you can­’t help but listen

What did I take to recov­er? I have a tried-and-true for­mula for my colds. I’m also lucky that my colds fol­low a very pre­dict­able format over the last sev­er­al years:

  • Running nose 4 – 5 hours
  • Sore throat with­in 1 hour of the run­ning nose
  • Terribly sore throat for 24 hours
  • Sore throat resolves and hor­ribly run­ning nose for 24 hours
  • Stuffed nose for 48 hours
Echinacea spp
Echinacea spp

I know…gross. I’m a doctor…so none of this grosses me out. I think of it as a sci­entif­ic exper­i­ment. My treat­ment approaches include:

  1. Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep.…did I men­tion sleep?
  2. Vitamin C — once a cold has arrived (regard­less of ori­gin) there are numer­ous research stud­ies that demon­strate high doses of vit­am­in C help to resolve the cold faster than any placebo
  3. Echinacea spe­cies — Echinacea help to boost the immune sys­tem in colds and flus and are not overly stimulating
  4. Arnica montana — When my throat is aching, I am a big baby. I take arnica in homeo­path­ic form to help with the raw aching feeling
  5. My reg­u­lar sup­ple­ment régime — If you are cur­rently tak­ing vit­am­ins or sup­ple­ments for a cur­rent health con­di­tion, you can­not just stop because you feel like throw­ing in the tow­el (lit­er­ally!). While it feels like you won’t recov­er, you even­tu­ally will
  6. Understanding and kind­ness from your­self — As a type A per­son, I am incred­ibly hard on myself in times where I need more R & R — when I do less, when I think less, when I am less motiv­ated. I wish I could turn off my brain when I’m sick, but I can­not. However, I have learned to under­stand that while I men­tally feel “fine”, my body does not. We’re here for a human exper­i­ence, and so we have to have it, even if that means a cold.
  7. Saying thank you to your silent her­oes — I have a won­der­ful part­ner who was kind and help­ful and under­stand­ing of my need to rest. When you feel like a human and not a zom­bie, always say thank you. It’s free and always appre­ci­ated, even if they do not expect it.

Now that I am feel­ing more like myself, expect more things to come!

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