The temperature’s dropped, the days are shorter, and the germs are going around. Usually around this time of year, I’ll inevitably wake up with a scratchy throat that signals the beginning of a cold. And I hate it. In addition to the discomfort and general loss of energy that comes with a cold, I also know that this usually means I need to slow down on the cycling to give my body a chance to recover. I happen to live with a germ-growing petri dish in the form of a 3 year old boy who seems to come home from pre-school more often than I’d like with a cough or sniffles. Even without your very own little Bacteria container, you most likely suffer from a similar fate. Of course, precautions can be taken: getting enough sleep, washing your hands, dressing appropriately for cold weather, etc. But what do you do when a cold finally arrives?
Here’s what I do the moment I feel a cold coming on:
- Start on Zicam. Immediately. It’ not a cure and it won’t take away your cold but it will shorten the duration. You can get Zicam in RapidMelts, Chewables, Nasal Gel, or Mist Spray. I prefer the Mist Spray
- Mix 1 packet of Emergen-C’s with Orange Juice 3x day. Emergen-C’s are a vitamin supplement filled with Vitamin C and D in a fizzy drink mix.
- Sleep with NyQuil. It works. If I could, I’d sleep with the stuff all the time but I hear using it for more than a week isn’t that good for you.
- As a general rule from what I’ve heard from my doctors over the years, if your cold remains above your neck (throat, sinuses, head) then you can still continue to ride, albeit easily. Don’t go out and do your hardest interval sessions when you’re still sick but keep the legs moving. Probably stay away from Group Ride hammer-fests.
- If your cold is below your neck (lungs, body aches), then take a few days off. Seriously. Just put the bike away for a few days. If you continue to ride, you’ll only be hurting your fitness and lengthen your time of recovery. And I hear that riding with sickness in your lungs like bronchitis can actually cause longer-term damage beyond the initial illness.
I try to be as consistent as possible with this treatment all the way through to when symptoms finally go away.
Please take note: I am obviously not a doctor nor is any of this advice based on scientific research. But I’ve found that it works well for me. Consider it advice from a fellow traveler. If you’re sick beyond merely a simple cold, please by all means go see a doctor and take their professional advice. I’m also not pushing the above products nor do I get a kickback from manufacturers if you go out and buy them (though that would be nice). All I’m saying is that they’ve worked for me and lessened the duration of my inevitable colds so I can get back out on the road sooner.
Do you have any home remedies that you’d like to share?