If there were awards for stuffiest nose, I’d win. If it was a matter of deciding on most convincing performance for Help Me! I Can’t Breathe Through My Nose! (Not Even a Little Bit!), my nose would win best actor. For hard core method acting.
(What’s up with the drama analogy? Dunno. Roll with me.)
In 2019 I underwent septo-rhinoplasty – ie. surgery to correct a deviated septum. It wasn’t a walk in the park but I’m glad I did it. During the 2 weeks post-surgery, I had huge plastic splints all the way up my nose, which was sheer torture. They cause mucous production, so it felt like the world’s worst cold – a mean trick to play on someone who’s had way too many stuffed up noses in her life because of a darn deviated septum.
Having a cold is yucky but being fully congested when you have trouble breathing properly out of your nasal passages on a regular day is ROUGH.
Thankfully, the surgery was successful, and I’m now breathing easier.
How to Stop a Cold: Why I Was So Determined to Figure This Out
Since I spent 35 years on this earth with a severely deviated septum and experiencing the “lovely” enhanced effects of a stuffy nose, I’ve learned to do everything possible to avoid getting colds.
This has evolved into a full protocol that I employ when I feel those cold germs tingling in my throat, trying to take over my body.
Since I’ve perfected my protocol to the point where I’ve successfully avoided colds ENTIRELY for two fall/winter seasons in a row, I thought I’d share it here. To be clear – I definitely had exposure to cold viruses, and I know my body was fighting them off. I was just successful in stopping them before they went into full blown colds. (Hallelujah!)
The instant I feel a cold coming on (I’ll share below how it progresses for me – it took me years of getting tuned in to my body to consciously notice it at the earliest stages) I start the protocol, and so far – I’ve had amazing success with kicking those cold germs to the curb before they can even really get going.
My First Signs of a Cold
Day 1: a few big sneezes for no apparent reason (other signs you may notice: fatigue, a tingle in your ear, very mild body aches – you might mistake it for being “just tired”)
Day 2: more sneezing, and a tingling in my throat. Might be mistaken for the type of soreness you get when you wake up in super dry environments (like in the dead of winter).
Day 3: Fully sore throat, feels horrible. Nose may start to get congested.
Day 4: Nose gets fully congested… misery ensues.
Typically, I have no problem noticing the signs super early, but it took me years of becoming more connected and aware of my body before I was able to do that. It also helps if you notice when anyone around is fighting a cold (or obviously, if you’re in contact with anyone who’s fully sick).
Here are some other considerations to be aware of:
- If I’m at a gathering of people in close quarters during the height of cold/flu season, I just assume I’ve been in contact with viruses.
- If any of my family members sneezes, sniffles, or coughs – I assume we’ve got a virus in the house.
- If I feel a little extra run down or achy, I use the protocol for that too. Even if I haven’t specifically been exposed to a cold virus, I adopt the “better safe than sorry” mantra here.
How to Stop a Cold (What to Do & When to Do It)
The instant you feel ANY symptoms, warning signs, intuitions… start!
Step 1: Use germ-killing essential oil roll-on
At the first signs as indicated above, the very first thing I do is slather my neck area with my Germ Destroyer roller bottle. I also do the rest of my family, too.
The oils in this blend have anti-viral properties and they penetrate beautifully through the skin (did you know that whatever you put on your skin absorbs into your bloodstream?) I rub it right into the area that the virus tends to settle in first – the neck/throat, and I keep doing so throughout the day, whenever I think of it.
I set it on the kitchen counter or breakfast bar where I’ll see if often throughout my day.
Diffuse it too. (They sell it already diluted and in a roller bottle, which I love for its convenience, but I also have the undiluted oil to use in my diffuser.)
Step 2: Drink a cup (or more) of throat coat tea
Make sure you steep it extra long to get the medicinal benefits of the herbs. I usually steep for ten minutes, and leave the tea bag in while I drink it.
I love this brand because it includes powerful herbs like slippery elm and licorice root.
Note: if your sore throat has already progressed past the scratchy, tingly stage – you may want to try my highly effective cayenne gargle. I first used it years ago to effectively address strep throat because I was pregnant and hoping to avoid pharmaceutical antibiotics. The cayenne has antibacterial properties and works super well!
Step 3: Swallow raw garlic
I don’t remember where I first saw this idea suggested, but it’s one of those things that just makes sense. On the current research side of things, garlic is acknowledged for its powerful anti-microbial properties (outlined in this scientific research review, published in a scientific journal). It kills bacteria and viruses effectively.
On the traditional medicine side of things – garlic has been used medicinally in a large variety of cultures for many generations. The exact mechanism and details has yet to be studied in full, but since both tradition and modern research get a vote in my world, I feel confident including it in my protocol.
There are garlic supplements on the market – capsule form, and so on. However, whenever possible, it’s best to get your dose straight from the food itself. So, for a much more potent and fresh dose of germ-fighting garlic, I peel and swallow garlic cloves (cut in half, or roughly the size of a pill so I can chug it back with water). I usually take 2-3 at a time, and typically once a day.
Step 4: Take Elderberry tincture
This randomized double blind study of airline passengers found that elderberry significantly decreased duration and symptoms of colds. It found a potential preventative effect as well, but that link was weak and required further study for corroboration.
I love this brand because it’s glycerin-based (alcohol-free).
You can also try this immune-support herbal tincture DIY if you’re interested in making your own, or in trying different herbs.
Note: I only use the tincture, not the syrup as it generally is made with some form of sugar.
Step 5: Drink extra water
Yup, don’t forget the basics! If you’re dehydrated, your body can’t do its job effectively. Also, drinking water helps to dilute mucous, so if you have any mucous buildup happening already, drinking water helps to combat that.
Step 6: Drink bone broth
Homemade bone broth has a plethora of amazing health benefits (here’s my post about it). In fact, a South American proverb says “Good broth will resurrect the dead.” It’s also long been known as “Jewish penecillen”.
Modern research has shown some promising results in proving the health benefits of bone broth, but there’s a ways to go yet. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) pharmaceutical companies haven’t yet gone after bone broth for patenting into their latest drug for how to stop a cold, so studies are sparse. (Pharma companies fund most scientific/medical research…)
Regardless, centuries of traditional wisdom (with modern research starting to confirm) tell us that chicken broth is good for sickness.
I make my own (here’s my homemade bone broth tutorial) and drink at least a quart a day with this protocol. (And when sick, too!)
Step 7: Rest
You absolutely, 100% MUST go to bed early. Mother’s orders! Guess what, friends – self-care isn’t all chocolate and bubble baths. It’s taking the time to mother yourself by taking care of your needs so that you can be a healthy, thriving person.
Your body absolutely cannot fight off germs as effectively if you are sleep-deprived.
(Take my Go-to-Bed Challenge if you need some tough love and motivation for getting off the couch and into bed at a reasonable hour!)
Sorry to be so obvious but sometimes we forget to mother ourselves.
8. Targeted supplements
Lastly, supplements. Here’s what I specifically take for how to stop a cold dead in its tracks: Vitamin C, D, zinc, probiotics, fish oil.
These are all things that either boost the immune system or help fight inflammation. I don’t love relying on a ton of supplements all the time (food-based nutrients are superior), but sometimes your body needs an assist, and that’s ok. This is definitely one of those times!
There you have it!
That’s my protocol. I use it multiple times a year, and have successfully warded off many potentially bad cold viruses using it. I’ve even gotten as far as the slightly stuffy nose stage, and had it just die off instead of going into full-blown misery – as long as I’m faithfully implementing these steps.
Note: be sure to repeat the protocol every day (or even twice/day for some of these things) until you feel better.