I’ve had a cold or flu or something awful for a week-and-a-half, and as I’ve survived off plentiful dosages of Sudafed (the pseudoephedrine kind that actually works, not that other poser kind), I’ve stopped at times and considered a post-apocalyptic world. And I’ve realized that even having the common cold would be DANG AWFUL during an apocalypse or after. But no one really talks about that. I even googled it. Nope, nothing. So let me say, once and for all, that having a cold in the apocalypse would be AWFUL.
First, what do you do when you need to blow your nose all the time? I went through THREE Kleenex boxes this time. I guess you could just go outside and blow your nose straight into the ground, or use leaves or old rags, or figure out how to make your own paper. But it would be rough compared to that sweet aloe Kleenex, and the damage to your nose would be awful. My nose is already peeling and I’ve used lotion-infused Kleenex. I’d look like a monster in an apocalyptic world. :(
And what about congestion in general, when you can’t breathe at all and need a decongestant just to sleep or get through the day? If you didn’t hoard that or find a pharmacy that wasn’t picked over, you’re out of luck.
Cold medicine-fueled epiphany: these extreme couponers are the only ones surviving zombie apocalypse
— Katie Cruger (@KatieCruger) October 9, 2012
And as for calming that awful cough (mine only allowed me to sleep three hours at a time), well good luck. No Nyquil unless you hoarded it somewhere.
If I could only have 1 item with me during the zombie apocalypse it would totally be cold medicine. Can't fight zombies while being sick
— Aaron DeAngelis (@mcstiches) September 16, 2013
And if you have a headache, you’d want to be stocked up on ibuprofen or some other pain reliever, which might be hard to get. That’s why you’d need to know a lot about natural remedies. Thanks to some friends, I discovered that the Doterra essential oil called “Breathe” (which is made of eucalyptus and peppermint), actually works BETTER than Vicks. So I think seeking out some eucalyptus or peppermint might be a good place to start.
Here are some other natural cold remedies that might work well in a post-apocalyptic world:
- Alcohol (preferably whiskey of some sort) and honey. This was recommended to me SO many times. I think it counts as a “natural” treatment.
- Lemon and honey. This can also help a sore throat and cough, and in certain situations, you could find this in an apocalypse. (Others recommend honey and tea.)
- Drink lots of water. A life straw could help if you weren’t sure if the water was OK.
- Chicken soup. Probably not too hard to make in a post-apocalyptic world, but maybe you’ve also stocked up on canned varieties in your shelter.
- Steam, steam, steam. Put a pot of water over a fire and hang your head over the steam.
- Pro tip: DO NOT use a Neti Pot in a post-apocalyptic world. Neti Pots should only be used with distilled water or you’re at risk of getting brain-eating ameobas. :(
- Gargle warm salt water.
- Stock up on ibuprofen, Dayquil and Nyquil. But remember: if you’re in the U.S., you can only get the good decongestant behind the counter. Sadly, you can’t really stock up on that anymore.
- Some people swear by eating garlic, so if you’re growing that in your post-apoc back yard, you can give that a try too.
- Healing Harest has a recipe for a natural decongestant here that’s made of apple cider vinegar (which you can make yourself), honey, ginger, cayenne, and cinammon, plus horse radish if you have it on hand.
- For a headache, try lavender, basil, or peppermint scents. (Yes, it’s looking more and more like you’ll need an herb garden in your post-apoc homestead to help you through the cold.)
- To suppress a *dry* cough at night so you can sleep, Holistic Health suggests California poppy, valerian root, thyme, mullein, or red clover.
- If you have a wet cough, Holistic Health suggests expectorant herbs, including elecampane, ginger root, bee balm, hyssop, osha root, horehound, and usnea. Or making a ginger tea. (Note: I can’t vouch for any of these herbs in this bulleted list. Research them yourself for more details.)
I’m not even getting into the more serious stuff that we’re all familiar with, like when you get an infection (heaven forbid pneumonia), and you need antibiotics. You’d want antibiotics like amoxicillin, doxycycline, and penicillin on hand. But that nasty MRSA that’s developed would need something stronger. That’s probably for a different story.
If you want more information, there are quite a few books out there with tips. There’s the Complete Homeopathy Handbook, there’s Herbal Remedies, and Herbal Medicine from Your Backyard, to get you started.
How would YOU survive a cold in the apocalypse? Let us know in the comments below.