How to deal with the Saskatoon sniffles: tips, tricks, and dispelling the myths

Sick dude has a cold

Getting sick is one of the harsh realities of living in Saskatchewan. A deep set cold can leave you clueless and desperate for a quick fix, but don’t be fooled by some of the latest cold fighting trends. We’re here to dispel the myths and provide you with some tricks for taking care of yourself over the next few months.

Sore throats and sugar

There has been a rumour going around lately that eating marshmallows will soothe a sore throat. While the marshmallows may feel good, the sugar in them won’t help you recover any faster. The same applies to any sweet treats, like fudgesicles, ice cream and popsicles. A better alternative is to freeze orange juice or other low-sugar juices cut with water in an ice cube tray or popsicle mold.

Cold FX

In a report by CBC news, Dr. Andreas Laupacis, a clinical trials expert at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, said that he has not found evidence that Cold FX will “stop colds and flu in their tracks” during clinical trials. Cold FX may help in the long term but know that you can’t count on the overpriced pink and white capsule for immediate relief. It’s not a miracle worker.

Eating spicy foods to sweat it out

Some people swear sweating out a cold works. But while eating spicy food might be the best way to sweat out a cold and to loosen congestion, it’s more important to make sure you’re eating healthy. Many people reach for the $0.99 package of ramen noodles simply because they’re convenient and because hot soups are always a favourite when you have a cold. However, these ramen noodle soups have too much sodium to be really beneficial. Instead of eating ramen as the instructions direct, only use half the pack of seasoning and add some fresh vegetables, like broccoli and carrots, a bit of Sriracha or cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice to the broth.

Dealing with congestion before bed

The worst part of fighting a cold is trying to sleep at night when you’re congested. Nose spray, vaporizers and Vicks VapoRub don’t always work. The reason you’re feeling so stuffed up might not always be just phlegm: a day of blowing your nose every five minutes can rupture blood vessels, causing them to expand and the air pathways in your nose to swell, making it harder to breathe. Taking an antihistamine or allergy medication may help to reduce the swelling.

Garlic and zinc

Zinc and garlic can help boost your immune system. You can purchase zinc lozenges at pharmacies but lemons are also a good source of zinc, so a hot glass of lemon water without any sugar is a good boost to your immune system and can help loosen congestion. Some of the antioxidants in garlic help fight inflammation. If you’re worried about your breath, consider roasting the garlic in the oven or taking garlic pills that you can get from natural health food stores.

Go see a doctor

Usually all a doctor can and will do for you is prescribe an antibiotic (which they really shouldn’t be doing at all — it doesn’t do anything) or send you to the nearest drug store for some Tylenol. Still, if there is anything peculiar about the way you’re feeling, get yourself checked out.


Illustration: Samantha Braun/The Sheaf