Your alarm goes off and you get out of bed, but despite those eight hours, something just feels...off. Your nasal passages sting. Your eyes won’t open up all the way. Your muscles feel like you sleepwalked to a bar sometime during the night, threw back a few shots, and initiated a fist-fight.
Oh, no. Could it be the flu? Yeah, probably. This year’s flu season is the worst we’ve seen in a while, and everyone and their mother seemingly has it.
This hypothetical morning actually happened to me two days before Christmas — and the second it did, I pulled out all the stops. I’ve got dozens of alternative health hacks up my sleeve (my friends don’t lovingly refer to me as “The Witch Doctor” for nothing), but this year, one in particular sky-rocketed to the top of my favorites: this nasal swab from a homeopathic company called Cold Bee Gone.
In fact, despite my boyfriend and his entire family catching the full-fledged, bedridden-for-two-weeks flu, my symptoms lasted a total of four days. While I didn’t feel awesome, I was still able to entertain and stand upright throughout Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing day. (Don’t worry — I wore plastic gloves while cooking to avoid infecting my guests.) By December 27, I felt about 85% healthy again, and the day after that, I was back to normal. As far-fetched as it may sound, I genuinely think this nasal swab stopped the flu in its tracks. Every day, I put some on a Q-tip and gently spread it inside each nostril, and every day, I felt better and better.
So how, exactly, does it work? In short, the secret ingredient is raw Manuka honey, which is scientifically proven to be antimicrobial and effective against a wide range of pathogens. When placed inside the nostrils, it alters the nasal microbiome to ensure that it’s well-populated with healthy bacteria, so your immune system stays strong. It also coats the nasal passages with gooey moisture (ew, but also cool), which traps germs and keeps the passages well-hydrated.
But this swab isn’t solely marketed as a flu-prevention remedy. People also use it for the common cold, sore throats, sinus pain, and allergies. In fact, it has surprisingly-high reviews on Amazon from the people who have tried it and feel infinitely better for doing so:
“A few weeks back, my husband and I started to feel like we were getting a cold. I immediately started using the Cold Bee Gone every morning [...] My cold never fully manifested,” one reviewer wrote. Another one said, “I put some on at the airport and the nose feels protected and moisturized. I normally get bad allergies as soon as a plane takes off. Using this for [two] cross country flights, no allergies.”
Others opt to use it as a long-term preventative treatment — meaning they swab their nostrils with it regularly and before the symptoms ever even show up. (This seems to be a common practice among teachers, nurses, parents, and people who come into contact with germs all the time.) I often wonder if, had I been supplementing with this swab all winter, would the flu just have skipped over me entirely? I do know one thing, though: Next flu season, this tube is staying with me at all times.
Please note that if you do have the full-fledged flu, I’m not advising that you use this swab in place of actual treatment. Please, by all means, go to the doctor or an urgent care clinic. Take what they give you. Follow their advice. But if you’re looking for additional remedies to help you heal faster (or if you’re looking for a way to make sure you stay healthy in the first place), this one worked wonders for me.