I am sick with the kind of midwinter superbug that was likely brought to me by someone who spends too much time in airports and surrounded by worldwide travelers or by some small human whose parents do not ascribe to the common sense of keeping a sick child at home when they are still contagious. Machts nichts. I have the yuck and now I feel like death warmed up.
So what’s a blogger to do?
Take care of myself, obviously.
If I were Kim at I tripped over a stone, I would cleverly find a way to create a participatory post where readers dutifully respond. If I were DG at Damn, Girl, Get Your Shit Together, I would have a handy dandy shopping list for how to take care of yourself according to my sassy pants. Because I love both of them and bloggers, and because I am all for trying something new to keep myself entertained while I lay in bed feeling miserable, I bring to you a little bit of channeling of both with my own twist, and so I bring to you…
The Hot Toddy Theory, or How to Survive Death Warmed Up
*coughs, hacks, sips whisky*
Once upon a time, your crazy aunt or grandmother swore that she knew exactly how to kick a cold to the curb. It may have included some pretty shady sounding thoughts which at this point have likely been sanctioned online supported by nothing but pseudoscience, the guarantees of strangers of the winningest results, and articles which cite one another or ancient historical documents as evidence that those thoughts work.
Well, you’re all in luck because today I am going to tell you exactly how to kick a cold to the curb and you can trust me. I’m on the internet. A hot toddy along with a few other things is the winningest way to kick the midwinter crud to the curb as long as you’re of legal drinking age, not an alcoholic, and not having any contraindications with any of the ingredients. Also I am not a medical professional so although you may choose to follow my recipe, I can’t actually advise you.
Step one: A Hot Toddy
Alright. There are multiple recipes online for how to make a winning hot toddy but they are all wrong and only mine is right. The first thing you need is a cup of hot tea. I suggest something like this delightful tea that was dumped into the Boston Harbor on March 7, 1774 (found on Amazon… with prime… woot!); this one is loose leaf because loose leaf is far superior to teas found in bags because I’m now your wacky possibly alcoholic internet aunt and I say so but if you must buy the bags, I suppose that will be adequate. *sarcastic eye roll*
If you aren’t into being a Tory and drinking that unpatriotic tea, I suppose you could opt for an Earl Grey (this Harney and Sons is available online at Amazon if you don’t find it at your local Barnes and Noble).
If you’re not amenable to the caffeine in those two choices, I’m delighted to report that this toddy made with a Celestial Seasonings Mandarin Orange Spice tea is actually quite tasty and really a delightful flavor with the whiskey.
Into your hot, steeped tea, add a large teaspoon of local raw honey. This is actually one that is a non-negotiable. Local honey produced within 50 miles of your current location will have pollen for your area. It’s like a natural allergy inoculation as long as the honey hasn’t been pasteurized. It’s creamy looking and might have some beeswax or chunks of pollen in the jar but that is exactly what we want. The honey will coat and soothe your sore throat and the pollen will help your body learn to deal with the local allergens.
Add a dash of lemon or a slice of fresh lemon. The lemon will ideally be raw and organic but I’m not Gweneth Paltrow on her Goopy site selling candles scented like her vajayjay (look… she’s crazy) so I will totally accept lemon coming from one of those little plastic majiggers at the grocery store too as long as it is lemon juice. It contains vitamin C but it also stimulates your mucus membranes which helps to clear your sinuses and chest if you’ve got the crud.
And most importantly, you need a dash of booze. I’m not talking about a full shot or half a teacup, but a dash into the top of an already mostly full teacup. Whiskey, bourbon, and scotch whisky are the choices you have for this part of the recipe. It doesn’t matter if it is the part turpentine lower shelf variety or the top shelf except in what you will taste. They’re amazing decongestants, calm your throat if you’ve been prone to coughing, and help to relax you so that you can sleep, which is really your priority. My current choice is this delicious 12 year old Redbreast Irish Whisky but I’ve had the same benefits from an Evan Williams Honey Bourbon and a 25 year old Glenlivit Scotch Whisky, which admittedly is a bit fancy but one must at times do what one must do. What I’m saying is the price doesn’t matter, only the flavor you find palatable.
I’ve been told by multiple doctors when I’ve complained of a cough from a cold or from someone choking me out too effectively at the gym and they all agree that bourbon, whiskey, or scotch are the best for that cough, far superior than one of those over the counter drugs that pretend to taste like cherries.
Drink it while it’s hot.
Seriously, if you don’t like the flavor while it is hot you will hate it when it is cold. Drink up.
Step two: A Hot Bath or Shower
If you opt for a bath, add epsom salts and soak until you feel even more hot than the water. The salts will help your muscles relax, which aids with the aches and pains. I suggest this Dr. Teals (available at Amazon) with eucalyptus and spearmint. Breathe deeply the steamy air. The steam will help to loosen the crud in your lungs and the eucalyptus will help with inflammation in your body and your sinuses.
If you choose a shower instead, let the water run down your back and front of your chest while breathing deeply the steamy air. You can add eucalyptus oil to a rag and hang it partially under the flow of the water and you can also give your feet a soak in this same salt later on!
Whichever way you go, the hot makes the hurt less and it also helps to burn part of your day while removing the stench from your partially rotten corpse, or at least what your friends and relations assume is your partially rotten corpse from having failed to bathe and or from sweating so profusely from the fevers.
Step three: A Hot Toddy
Okay… So you actually shouldn’t have too much alcohol with a cold because it can dehydrate you and give you a lousy hangover to add to the general sense of wishing for death that comes with a killer cold, but you can have another hot cup of tea with lemon and honey! That is perfectly acceptable.
Step four: Don’t Stop the Fever
Listen. I get it. A fever is a miserable feeling that none of us enjoy, but it has a natural purpose! It burns (with fire) the microbes that make you sick and it also kicks your immune system into high gear (seriously, the heat of infection kicks the T cells into motion… read about it here). I’m not saying that you should completely give yourself over to a high fever (over 103) or fail to use common sense because sometimes the source of the fever demands to be addressed, but I am saying that with a cold, it can be very beneficial in burning out the viruses.
If you’re like me and have a wonky immune system, you don’t actually get fevers. For me, my temperature drops if it does anything at all. Even when I was fighting multiple antibiotic resistant infections that were threatening my life, I didn’t have a stitch of fever. So… I create one. I layer loads of blankets on top of myself along with heating pads (one of these on my front and one on my back) and I make myself into a human taco.
If my body won’t raise it’s temperature, I’ll raise it cause I’m clever like that.
Step five: A Hot Toddy
I’m not an alcoholic but I have been sipping on hot teas and hot toddies all day keeping my cough at bay. I’ve had less than a single shot’s worth over the course of the whole day but it is just enough to stop me from coughing my ribs loose, which is the general idea.
I still feel like death but I am relatively certain I maybe, probably, might could survive this midwinter crud, nevertheless, I’m open to adding to my list.
So lay it on me…
What are your must haves for when you’re lying on the couch feeling relatively certain you look and smell like an extra on The Walking Dead? Top three… and go!