The Basics

Someday they’ll find a cure for the common cold. Until then, here’s a few tips to help lessen the misery. It’s also a good idea to make yourself the all-time cure all for what ails you – simple homemade chicken soup with carrots. (Recipe follows.)

1: Blow Your Nose
Honest to God, it helps to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your sinuses where it can cause bacteria to fester and cause even more misery. But if you blow hard, pressure can cause an earache. Go easy: Press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other. Wash your hands after blowing your nose.

2: Rest
Resting when you first come down with a cold or the flu helps your body direct its energy toward helping your immune system battle the invader. This battle taxes the body. Give it a little help by lying down under a blanket.

3: Gargle
Gargling moistens and brings temporary relief for your sore throat. Try a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water, four times daily. Or use a thick gargle made with honey, popular in folk medicine. Steep one tablespoon of lemon juice in two cups of hot water; mix with one teaspoon of honey. Let the mixture cool to room temperature before gargling. Never give honey to children less than 1 year old.

4: Hot Liquids
Hot liquids relieve nasal congestion, help prevent dehydration and can soothe the swollen sore membranes lining your nose and throat. Your grandma was right. Hot tea and chicken soup are good for you.

5: Orange Fruits Vegetables
Believe it or not, eating anything orange is good for you. Carrots, butternut squash and other orange veggies are great sources of betacarotene. And we all know about Vitiman C and oranges.

6: Take a Shower
Steamy showers moisturize your nasal passages and relax you. If you're dizzy from the flu, fill the tub and take a nice warm bath.

7: Menthol Salve
A small dab of mentholated salve under your nose helps open breathing passages and soothes irritated skin at the base of the nose. Menthol, eucalyptus and camphor all have mild numbing ingredients that can help relieve the pain of a nose rubbed raw.

8: Use an Extra Pillow
Propping up an extra pillow under your head can help drain nasal passages.

9: Stay off Airplanes
Flying with cold or flu congestion can hurt your eardrums as a result of pressure changes during takeoff and landing. If you MUST fly, use a decongestant and wear a face mask. You may think you look funny but your fellow passengers will be grateful that you are being considerate.

Word up. If you have severe symptoms or feeling sicker with each passing day, see a doctor.


SIMPLE CHICKEN SOUP
1 medium whole chicken, about 3 pounds
1/2 pound of carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 cup wide egg noodles, uncooked
plenty of water
Salt and pepper to taste


Put cleaned chicken in the bottom of a large soup pot. Cover the chicken with water and add salt. Your pot should be about two thirds full full. Bring to a full boil over high heat. Skim off any foam that rises as it boils. Lower heat to medium and let simmer for approximately three hours, continue to skim off foam so the broth will be clear. If you have a fat skimmer, repeatedly skim off the fat that comes to the top.

Remove cooked chicken from the pot and allow it to cool about 30 minutes before deboning meat. Meanwhile add the carrot coins and sliced celery to the broth. Once fully cooked the broth will be reduced to about half the pot -- add water if needed. Slowly boil the veggies until tender. Add deboned chicken back into the pot and toss in the uncooked noodles. Gently boil just until noodles are cooked and serve.

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