feed a fever, starve a cold

Or is it the other way around? Greetings from my sickbed! It all started with a very painful sore throat Saturday; I’ll spare you some of the worse details, but let’s just say that life is very messy these days. We all know that time is the only thing that can actually cure a cold; however, everyone seems to have a favorite remedy to make things feel a little less yucky. This episode is dedicated to a few things I’ve been trying lately, and some things that are “supposed” to work…but kind of don’t.

1. Drink hot liquids. I feel like I’ve been living on hot water with lemon and honey. The lemon and honey soothe a sore throat and ease the obnoxious tickle. The hot liquid and the steam from the mug feel really good on nasal congestion. Bonus: water, tea, chicken soup, whatever, keep dehydration at bay.

2. Antibiotics. Mayo Clinic reminds us that a cold comes from a virus, so antibiotics that fight bacteria don’t do any good. Inappropriate or excessive use of antibiotics can also contribute to development of medication-resistant strains (aka the Superbug).

Table of illness accessories: tissues, DayQuil, tea, etc.

3. Chicken soup. It is warm and tasty and mild enough to soothe a tender tummy. WebMD tells me that it’s also an anti-inflammatory that relieves respiratory issues and (look away, squeamish readers) moves mucus through the sinuses faster. Mm mm good!

4. Herbal and mineral supplements. A lot of people take things like zinc, echinacea, or other substances from traditional Chinese medicine to prevent or treat colds. Studies show that, while most of these don’t harm, neither do they really do any good. In fact, some may interact pretty badly with other medicines (including aspirin and some kinds of birth control). Sounds like you should do your research and consult a doctor before you try supplements.

Incidentally, the title phrase is actually “starve a fever, feed a cold,” and it comes from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (holla, AP English!). I guess it originated out of some (totally incorrect) medieval folk medicine. The good folks at Mayo say that no matter what your illness, unless your doctor specifically tells you not to, you should eat at least a little to keep your strength up.

Friends, what do you think? What do you do when you are feeling poorly? Do you have any fun bits of wisdom from folk medicine or your mom/grandma/Chinese herbalist?


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kat
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 22:56:23

    I rock the soup, Mentholyptus cough drops, tea and entire cartons of orange juice. Feel better, lady!


  2. Mads
    Oct 06, 2010 @ 01:22:25

    I usually eat plain pasta with butter or soup, most everything else makes me feel worse.
    It also helps to put a sheet over the couch and grab my favorite blankie. Garbage can, tissues, water/sprite, and meds within arm’s reach.

    I hope you feel better 😦


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