I’m trying to recoup from bronchitis that recently knocked me off my feet. The fever and body aches are gone, but a deep hacking cough, which leaves me gasping for air, remains. (Yes, even doctors get sick.)

It’s been a difficult winter for many battling persistent and recurrent upper respiratory infections. In my practice, I'm seeing lots of people with coughs and colds that simply linger and refuse to get better. So, I wanted to share what I’ve been doing to help with the symptoms and get me back to my healthy self.

1. Rest.

These viruses simply knock the energy out of you. Stay supine as much as possible. You may want to forgo the gym (which is probably where you picked up the virus) while trying to get better. Your sleep requirements increase when you're sick, so lights out and get 8 solid hours when possible.

2. Try a warm salt-water gargle and nasal rinse.

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I do this 4 to 5 times a day. I find that it's the most effective way to keep the breathing passages clear of mucus. The warm water acts as a compress on inflamed nasal and pharyngeal passages, and the salt has a bacteriostatic effect. This is great for sore throats, smokers, and nasal and sinus congestion. I actually recommend doing this throughout the dry, cold winter.

3. Use eucalyptus essential oil as an expectorant for chest congestion and coughs.

Place 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a massage carrier oil or lotion blend. Rub the mixture on the chest or back as needed to relieve congestion. I also mix eucalyptus with Bregamot and orange oil in my diffuser, which fills the room and allows me to breathe better, especially at night.

4. Take probiotics.

I like the liquid probiotic "shots" that I pick up at Mrs. Greens or Whole Foods. They are usually 50 billion count. At the first sign of illness, I take this twice a day for about five days, and then drop it to once a day. It’s a great idea to take a good probiotic daily during cold and flu season, like Xymogen's ProBioMax Daily DF.

5. Take Vitamin D, as prescribed by your practitioner, for immune function.

Of course, I ran out about three weeks before I got sick, and completely forgot to purchase more. I am certainly back on my regimen of daily Vitamin D. Be sure to have your Vitamin D blood levels checked at least once during the winter. 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D in your blood should measure between 50 and 80 nmol/L.

Whether you're battling a cold, a cough, bronchitis, croup, the flu, or what I call " the crud," the above remedies are simple, inexpensive, and effective steps to get you back on your feet.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com


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