1) See the doctor.
The doctor will check all those vital signs that are supposed to be ticking along in good order. The doctor will listen to your chest. The doctor will tell you if you have bronchitis, or asthma, or both, and prescribe drugs that will ultimately cause you to feel better. Maybe you have pneumonia. You would want to know that before you kill yourself running around. Do what the doctor tells you.
2) Stay home.
There is nothing noble in bravely soldiering on with a contagious disease. Dragging your germ-ridden body to work, infecting your friends, coughing and sneezing on your co-workers, is a bad idea. You're sick, for cat's sake. The world will get along just fine without you for a little while.
3) Take naps.
This is not to say, go to bed and stay there. You don't want to do that. It will give you pneumonia. (My sister told me so.) But take naps, get as much rest as you can, and when you do go to bed at night, prop up your head and shoulders on a foam wedge or a pile of pillows. It helps a lot with coughing. You might even get a full night's sleep.
4) Drink a lot of ice water.
I know, I know, you'd rather have whiskey. Or fruit juice. But, listen, you can't taste it anyway, so why not drink the very healthiest thing? It will loosen up your cough. It will wash away impurities (whatever they are). Fruit juice has a lot of sugar, which encourages germs to grow. Whiskey is better consumed when you can appreciate it.
5) Watch Fred Astaire movies.
You're scratching your head. What, you ask, will Fred Astaire do for my cold? Well, I'll tell you. When you're planted on the couch in front of the television, your lungs full of glue, your ass made out of cement, your feet nothing but dead distant lumps, Fred will model what it is to get up and move with energy and grace. Look at what he does with his hands. Couldn't you do that, if you tried really hard? Already you're sitting up straighter. Can your feet be far behind?
© 2013 Kate Gallison