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You will be wracked with the worst verge-of-throwing-up feeling for hours.
Chicken soup and plenty of rest
Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, steamed veggies are particularly good. That and miso soup couldn't hurt. Tom Ka Gai would be good too. And ginger. Lots of ginger. Motherfuckin' ginger. Raw,.. in tea,.. in carrot-ginger-white pepper soup, whatever. Eat ginger. Ginger's effect was noticeable. With that regimen, plus staying home to actually rest, you should be over the actual virus in three days.
The worst part, though, was the nearly two weeks of feeling totally healthy yet hacking up a lung clearing the catarrh and being generally snotty all the time. A custom blend of tea that included: slippery elm, eucalyptus, elecampane, kava, fennel, & licorice was particularly helpful with that part.
*not true. but tasty :)
Or, all of the above, as the wonders of the placebo effect cannot be understated.
In the early days of the Fat Cyclist blog, Fatty (Eldon, so you can see the need for a nickname) claimed that riding your bike immediately cured any cold. Unfortunately, at the end of the ride, you come down with a new cold that is identical to the previous one. Not one of his best jokes, IMAO.
My handle was chosen for use on that blog, BTW.
So with that in mind, warming up your head is a good idea; hot liquid (tea, broth, &c) can help with that. Also helps symptomatic relief.
I read a paper at some point discussing how pretty much all remedies for the head cold perform no better than placebo, with the exception of nasal and sinus lavage (which improves recovery time). That's the science name for neti-pot. There are instructions online all over, but if I remember right the important thing is to use warm sterile physiologic saline and do it once or twice a day while sick (not more often, and not as a preventive measure; there is no benefit and some harm associated with those).
I do that but couple it with a really hot bath, basically as hot as I can stand it. Then I'll pile on the warm clothes and get in bed with hot tea. It's the only thing that gets me a good night's sleep if I have a fever.
One thing about the neti pot -- really, use distilled or boiled water. Just plain tap water can GIVE you a cold or flu.
For a cold, the first sign, drink Emergency C three times a day and wash your hands a lot. It may back off and not get established.
If it does, then treat the headache and, like all others say, rest and clear fluids (not soda or coffee). Eat sparingly. Wash your hands a lot. (You're trying to protect everyone else.) If your nose is running, maybe a decongestant (I like Musenx for both running noses AND draining down the back of your throat).
For flu, much different. A flu is not going to back off so resign yourself. You'll not just have a headache but body aches. Get TheraFlu, chicken soup, and just rest. Make sure there is someone who might be able to bring you these things because the flu really hurts.
Again, wash - your - hands. (In cold/flu season, try to not touch anything - railings, door handles, elevator buttons - that can house germs.)
Eat the whole damn thing. You will not want to be alone with yourself in enclosed spaces for the next couple of days, but you *will* feel better and faster.
Mine is a miracle worker.
Get the spinal column to work properly and you will get better sooner and stay healthier longer.
At onset, elderberry ( I just get the concentrate from super supplements in the white bottle, natural sources is the brand), mixed with water (or rachel's ginger beer or soda water), plus olive leaf extract (herb pharm is my preferred brand but, the herbalist and others are good too). I do about two tablespoons of elderberry in a glass of water every hour or two. I expect my links won't work, but there's research available about this stuff: http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/her… has the overly simplified bit on elderberry success, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15869… is just one on olive leaf.
Aside from that, fluids, stay warm, and sleep are really the best things you can do.
The flu on the other hand. Well you feel it while it is still being fought by your body. Win and you still feel like shit for however long it takes. Lose and you get to find out for certain if there is life after death. And while there are a few here I would urge to be around coughing people a lot most of you on slog would be missed... SO GO GET YOUR FLU SHOT.... NOW!!!!!!