Ain’t it crazy that, with all of the science that’s floating around here, no one has been able to find a cure for the common cold (yet)? And since reportedly, a whopping one billion of us catch one every year and since they also have the potential to annoyingly run between 7-10 days, each and every time the virus happens to catch hold of one of us, and since most of us don’t have the luxury to just take off work whenever a cold comes our way, I thought it would be cool to do y’all a solid and share some tips that can help to cut, shoot, at least a couple of days off of the longevity of your cold, so that you can get to feeling like your old self again in no time.
1. Pour Some Peroxide into Your Ears
I’ll tell you what — while it’s annoying as all get out, on the rare occasions when I do feel a cold coming on, if I’m able to catch the first signature symptom quickly enough (for me, it’s a sore throat), I’m usually able to nip it in the bud by pouring half a cupful of hydrogen peroxide into each ear and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes (wait for the bubbling to stop). Apparently, what it does is kill bacteria and virus cell walls, so that they aren’t able to continue to grow. The key here is to go with a three percent grade. Again, I can’t think of too many things that are more irritating (sensation-wise) yet if you can bear it, it’s worth it. Oftentimes, I won’t even get a full-on cold when I do it. Real talk.
2. Suck on Some Zinc Lozenges
As far as the common cold goes, most of them are caused by a virus known as the rhinovirus. It makes you sick because, when it gets a hold of your upper respiratory system (throat and nasal passages), it tends to multiply and lead to cold symptoms. The reason why zinc can be beneficial in shortening the lifespan of a cold is there is data to support that it is beneficial when it comes to keeping the rhinovirus from thriving; it also can stop it from “putting roots down” into your nose and throat.
Since zinc is also beneficial when it comes to strengthening your immune system and reducing oxidative stress, it is an absolute must that you keep some zinc lozenges close by.
3. Up Your Vitamin C and D
Because Vitamin C is a top-tier antioxidant and antioxidants help to keep your immune system nice and strong, this is why it’s a “signature nutrient” for getting over a cold. However, it should go on record that there’s no point in “overdoing it” when it comes to Vitamin C because it only stores what it needs (the rest, you end up urinating out). However, you can never go wrong with having some citrus fruit, orange juice, or even some broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or potatoes when you’re sick. They all can help you to feel much better.
Speaking of vitamins, make sure to get some Vitamin D in there too. Again, while there is currently not a cure for the common cold, there are studies to support that upping your Vitamin D intake can reduce the longevity of the infection by 10-15 percent. Foods high in Vitamin D include salmon, tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, and fortified cereals (watch the milk, though; that can “trigger” mucus production. A milk alternative is so much better).
4. Take Some Elderberry Syrup
Elderberries are dope because they are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. They are especially high in Vitamin C which you already know can boost immunity and fiber which can help to detox your system. Elderberry also has a good reputation for helping your system to increase its white blood cell count. The reason why Black elderberry syrup makes the list of smart cold-fighting recommendations is that there are studies to support that it literally reduces the severity and length of the flu (some experts say that it can result in the flu lasting for no longer than four days). So, the next time you go to your local health store, make sure to cop some.
5. Cop a Saline Spray
Something that a lot of people don’t realize is, when they have a stuffy nose, the mucus isn’t the problem. Actually, mucus is a sign that your body is working overtime to keep viruses and bacteria from overtaking your body. The reason why mucus is such a pain when you’ve got a cold is that 1) your nasal passages are usually inflamed and 2) your mucus is oftentimes thicker due to the virus that has infected your system. A saline nasal spray can help with all of this because it works to wash out your nasal passages which can also shorten your cold’s “shelf life.” Saline sprays are easy to find at the local grocery or drug stores. It’s always a good idea to have one in your medicine cabinet. Just in case.
6. Apply Eucalyptus, Cedarwood and Basil Essential Oils
I’m a huge fan of essential oils and when I have a cold, I’m really all about them. Eucalyptus contains antiviral and antimicrobial properties that aggressively attack cold-related symptoms. Cedarwood works as an antifungal, antiseptic, and astringent that can thin out mucus and help you to feel calmer and more relaxed (so that you can sleep easier). Basil is cool because it helps to soothe your respiratory system.
You can either mix these up with a carrier oil like jojoba, grapeseed, sweet almond, avocado, or coconut and rub them on your chest or back, put them into a diffuser, or get a humidifier (which is also a huge win when it comes to fighting cold and the flu) that has a diffuser in it so that you can get the benefits of moisture and essential oils in the air as your work and/or rest. A list of some of the best humidifiers/diffusers is located here.
7. Digest Some Probiotics
Not too long ago, I wrote an article on here about the fact that 80 percent of our immune system is located in our gut (you can read more about it here). Since there are both good and bad bacteria in there, it’s important that the good bacteria far outweighs the bad. One way to make that happen is to eat foods that are high in probiotics (like fermented ones like pickled veggies) or to take a probiotic supplement.
As far as a cold goes, probiotics not only help to keep you from getting a cold to begin with, they also are great at reducing your cold-related symptoms and shortening how long your cold lasts. That’s why I enjoy drinking kefir (which basically like a 2.0 version of liquid yogurt). Whatever you decide to do, just make sure to keep some probiotics in your system on a regular basis. You’ll be really glad you did; especially during cold and flu season (which is now).
8. Eat Honey
I’m really starting to wonder if there’s anything honey can’t do. When it comes to healing a cold, it’s great at soothing a sore throat, suppressing a cough, and reducing symptoms that are directly related to an upper respiratory infection. Honey is also bomb because, if you’re struggling with catching some zzz’s while you’re sick, believe it or not, honey can provide more energy to your brain so that you can remain in a REM state of sleep for a longer period of time. Now, how cool is that?
9. Make Some Bone Broth
At the end of the day, bone broth is a broth that is made from animal bones and connective tissue. Since animal bones contain nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, that’s already a good reason to either purchase some or make a homemade batch from time to time.
When you have a cold, consuming bone broth is beneficial because the gelatin in it can make it easier for you to digest the foods that you are eating in order to get better. Plus, bone broth contains amino acids that fight inflammation (which is a part of the reason why you have a stuffy nose) and, since consuming lots of fluids is always a good idea when you’re sick, that’s another reason why it can be super helpful.
This brings me to my next point.
10. Drink Lots of Water
There are a few ways that drinking lots of water can make your cold shorter. It can help to thin out the mucus in your system. It can help to keep your mucous membranes well-lubricated. It can bring more oxygen to your blood. It can help to flush out the toxins that are bringing on your cold-related symptoms. If you’ve got a fever, it can help to lower it. And, because coughing can lead to dehydration, drinking water can prevent that from transpiring too. There’s no way around why you need to have some water on your nightstand. Make sure that you do.
12. Change Your Pillowcases Daily
I once read that when you sneeze, your germs can travel as much as 19-26 feet (what in the world?!). Now just imagine how much drama is happening with your bedding. Listen, it might be tedious to change your pillowcases on a daily basis while you’re sick yet the less that you’re rolling around in an abundance of germs, the greater your chances are of getting better quicker. So yeah, toss your pillowcases into your hamper every morning. It’ll be worth it in the long run.
Yeah. I won’t even get into the fact that a lot of people end up catching colds because they are so sleep deprived that their immune system was super weak, to begin with (check out “Ready To Try 10 Quick & Easy Immune-Boosting Hacks?”). What I will say is I make sure that I don’t get less than 6-8 hours (and oftentimes a nap too) a night. Then, I up it a couple of hours the week before my period and right when I feel a cold coming on. It’s one of the best ways to get my system ready for the “battle” that is about to transpire. You don’t have to take my word for it, though.
A lot of medical professionals recommend adding an hour of sleep to your sleep routine when you’re under the weather (assuming that you’re getting at least six hours in, to begin with). All of these tips won’t work, nearly as well, without applying this final one. If you really wanna get over your cold, rest is essential. Lots of it. OK, sis? Excellent.
Featured image by Getty Images
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masterdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masterdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masterdating All About?
Masterdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masterdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masterdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masterdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masterdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masterdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masterdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masterdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masterdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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