Although I hate getting sick my body doesn’t seem to care about my opinion and tends to succumb to the flu or common cold at least once or twice a year. Moreover, my traitorous brain communicates my planned vacations to the rest of me with the intent of making me ill right before, or during, the trip. Several times I’ve found myself on the verge of bed rest in a foreign country with a stacked itinerary that I desperately did not want to miss out on. I’ve put together a short list of ‘mobile cures’ that include ingredients you can easily pack or should be able to obtain wherever you are.
Anytime I feel the telltale signs of a sore throat I instantly run to kitchen and prepare this simple remedy. Pour boiled water into a cup and mix in one teaspoon of salt. Let it cool for 5 minutes and gargle your concoction. Don’t hold back either – a full cup will usually require 3 minutes to finish with a proper gargling technique. This recipe will help soothe your throat as the salt flushes potentially bad fluids from that area but it won’t magically fix you up if you have a serious virus. Either way I’ve used this technique many times and now make sure to travel with a little packet of salt just in case I can’t find one when I need it. Don’t believe me? Read more here.
Tea with Toppings
Many herbal teas that target sicknesses like the common cold can be bought but you may not always have the correct packet on hand. Not to worry! Firstly, drinking any kind of tea can help as it introduces fluids into your body but if you want to turbocharge its effects you can add a few natural ingredients into the mix.
Ginger root is a bit of a miracle substance that can treat many things and I like dropping a few pieces of finely chopped ginger into my tea. It is kind of bitter but the hot water helps and eventually you will get used to the taste. Lemons are also a great fruit to add to tea as they contain Vitamin C which helps battle the flu and common cold. Squeeze a quarter slice into your drink and enjoy! Lastly I will mention cranberries which are famously known to combat UTIs but also have a lot of Vitamin C. I drop 5 or so cranberries into my tea as it steeps and use a spoon or fork to crush them which spreads their flavour and makes it easier to drink.
Breathe Right at Night
There is nothing I hate more than being unable to fall asleep at night because of a stuffy nose. I remember the workarounds I used which involved inhaling steam and lying down on a stack of pillows which elevated my head. One day I decided to re-purpose a product meant to curb snoring – the Breathe Right nasal strip. I had received a sample to try out and found that it helped me fall asleep when I was sick! A side note for my readers: I swear that I discovered this use case before Breathe Right began advertising it, but who cares at this point?
It might seem like I’m sponsored by Breathe Right but I assure you I am not – in fact, I recommend trying some of the many cheaper alternatives out there. However I have found that the name brand does a better job of properly sticking to your nose and is easier to take off the morning, YMMV. Anytime I travel I grab a few strips and put them into my pack.
This suggestion is probably the most fun on the list but comes with a huge disclaimer – take this one in moderation. Seriously, alcohol will dehydrate you and that’s not something that helps overcome a sickness but I’ve heard this ‘remedy’ too many times to ignore. Although alcohol can sterilize and kill germs a higher concentration is required to do so than what’s available on store shelves. It also does not always mix well with other medications you may be taking. So, when and why would you take this advice? One thing drinks are good at doing is numbing pain. If you are tossing and turning and cannot fall asleep a shot of liquor can change that. Rest is crucial when you are sick so by drinking you are essentially trading the downsides of alcohol for the benefits of sleep. Depending on your circumstance the latter will hopefully outweigh the former.