Fighting a cold: Late stage

I got an SOS text from a friend last night, asking me how to revive her MIA immune system in order to vanquish a lingering cold. Mostly when people ask me this, the culprit is “working through it” rather than resting. And mostly I can’t blame people when this happens, because we live in a fucked up capitalist society that not only shames us when we ask for time off to heal ourselves, but too often threatens our livelihoods if we do – in many jobs, calling out sick is a recipe for getting fired.

So, for those who’ve worked through it, or for those whose immune system doesn’t seem to work at all, what remedies are best for overcoming a lingering cold?

  1. Everyone knows vitamin C helps the immune system, but did you know you also need zinc to properly process it? Zinc deficiencies are on the rise, as ground soil is more commonly nutrient depleted, leaving fruits and veggies nutrient-poor. The best supplement for zinc, rather than a vitamin, is as a lozenge – sublingual administration leaves more of it more readily available to your body – which will also help a sore throat.
  2. OTC herb supplements, such as elderberry and echinachea, can help revivify the immune system (although many people find that they work best early-on, so buyer beware here). Oregano oil is great for lingering sore throats, and as an antibacterial, generally, as is garlic, however you like eating it.
  3. Warm, well-cooked, easy-to-digest meals, eaten at regular times, are critical if you’re having difficulty getting over a cold. There’s a reason chicken soup is also known as “Jewish penicillin” – because it’s hot, nutritious, and easy to digest. Bonus points if you can get someone else to make it for you.
  4. Stay well-bundled if you’re going outside, and bring plenty of hot beverages and nutritious snacks if you need to work. Not everyone can take time off to rest, but if you must work, you can at least properly fuel your body through the day.