As some of you may have noticed there have been very few new updates on my blog in recent weeks and the reason for that is that I have had wonderful opportunities to travel for about 3 weeks straight. I had a wonderful weekend with two of my best friends, I photographed a beautiful rustic wedding in Virginia and then I topped it off by being the very lucky photographer of a destination wedding in Bermuda. It was wonderful! However right around the same time, my husband, who works with teenagers for a living, came home from a week long camp and brought me the gift of another child’s germs. So upon returning to these United States I promptly got a cold.
Growing up as a child with allergies and asthma and then turning into an adult on a continuous dose of immunosuppressants I thought it was pretty normal that 90% of all colds turned into sinus infections or bronchitis that had to be treated with a 10 day course of antibiotics. However, that all changed last spring when, after two courses of strong antibiotics, I ended up with an Ulcerative Colitis flare that lasted over a month. With that experience came the stark realization that the balance in my body I have worked so hard to restore is tedious and the harsh effects of synthetic medications are not something to be taken lightly. So, when I got sick this time I decided to start incorporating some natural remedies into my routine. I won’t lie, after being gone for 3 weeks getting a cold was not going to stop the onslaught of catching up I had to do in my real life so I did initially lean on my long-time routine of dayquil and nyquil to get me through the first few days. However, the funny thing is they didn’t really work that well. Sure, Nyquil knocked me out so I could sleep, but when I woke up I was still just as unable to breath through my nose as I had been when I went to bed.
The interesting thing about cold medicine is that it is really only approved for continuous use over a 2-3 day period. Take medicated nasal spray for more than 3 days and it begins to lose its effectiveness entirely, or take Nyquil for more than 3 or 4 nights and you’ll have an increasingly difficult time falling asleep for days. This would be ok if the average cold only lasted 2 days, but in my experience it usually lasts about 7 to 10. So what should us sniffly suffers do for the other 5-7 days?
Well, I don’t have a lot of answers for you yet, but I was able to discover two remedies that seem to have taken the edge off for me, both are natural and both actually seem to have the potential help heal a cold rather than simply mask the symptoms.
Natural Nasal Spray:
– 1/2 Tsp Distilled Vinegar
– 1/2 tsp Salt
– 1 cup of boiling water
Boil one cup of water and stir in your salt and vinegar. Allow it to cool and then pour the mixture into a nasal sprayer (I used an emptied out Afrin bottle). Use just as you would any other nose spray, a couple of sprays in each nostril when needed.
This definitely seemed to help loosen up my congestion and from the research I’ve done the vinegar has the potential to change the pH balance of the nasal cavity making it less conducive to cold germs and potentially shortening the length of the virus.
Tee Tree Oil Vapor Therapy:
– Tee Tree Oil
Place a couple of drops of tee tree oil in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Standing near or over the pot inhale the steam through your nose for 2 minutes or more.
This worked amazingly well! I have tried this before with just plain water and had only partial success but the addition of the tee tree oil worked like a charm. My sinuses immediately opened up and I even felt some of the overall pressure in my head and ears be relieved. The best part though? I did this before bed and I was able to breath perfectly all night!
Tee tree oil is a know natural antiseptic and antiviral so it too has the potential to kill cold causing bugs rather than just masking the symptoms they cause.
So, next time you get hit by the miserable cold bug think twice before raiding your local pharmacy and try some natural remedies instead. You may be surprised which treatments come out on top.