Skepticism

Afternoon Inquisition, 10.24

Hello everyone! Hope you’re  having a fun Friday!  I must apologize for my blog silence the past few weeks – work has been really crazy for me, and I’ve been travelling and running around like a headless chicken.  When that happens, my body will periodically force me to stop by giving me a cold.  This happened this week and I had to take a couple of days off to rest and recuperate.  Of course, with a regular old cold, there really isn’t much you can do but rest and drink lots of fluids.  So, in the spirit of cold season, today’s question is:

What’s your handy ‘cure’ for the common cold?

Masala Skeptic

Maria Walters (a.k.a. Masala Skeptic) has spent a lot of time in ‘furrin parts,’ including Hong Kong, Trinidad, and Pittsburgh. Although her passport is from India, she’s spent most of her adult life in the United States. She currently lives in Atlanta and has an unhealthy affection for science fiction, Neil Gaiman and all things Muppet.

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60 Comments

  1. Colds, like many things, are better when shared. So I suffer through mine and give it to my co-workers for their enjoyment. Then, when they all fall victim and have to stay home, I have the office all to myself where I blast punk music and marvel at my awesomeness.

  2. Slow down, drink more, keep warm.

    That’s about it for me. Sorry, boring answer.

    I’m guessing there will be at least 10 answers involving some kind of sex, by the time we reach 60 comments. And Gabriel’s comment will specifically mention the clitoris.

  3. @Gabrielbrawley: mmmm Bushmills omg. I might have to make this this weekend even if I’m not sick lmao.

    Anyway, I get as much rest as I can, avoid over-the-counter meds unless I NEED them (they tend to make me feel worse because they hurt my ability to sleep, especially anything that’s supposed to be used as a “sleep aid”), and drink TONS of water and juice.

    That’s about all you can do, really.

  4. SLEEP. I find that if I take a day or two off work, and do little but sleep, it’ll be over a lot faster than if I keep slogging to work the whole time. Especially if I take the time off at the beginning of the cold. seems the longer I go without serious rest, the more likely it’ll turn into a sinus infection

  5. Coincidentally, I started to come down with something on Tuesday night before bed. Wednesday, I took Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom before going to work, and upon getting home, took a chewable Sunkist Vitamin C, and drank lemon flavored green tea all day, and kept my chest and throat covered when I went outside. I took a nighttime cold medicine before bed and actually felt just about completely fine the next day. Lemon tea and Vitamin C again on Thursday, and today I am wholly normal -er, well, feeling healthy, anyway.

  6. I have two methods, one sucks but has worked for me 3 times in a row. The other I just learned and sounds more appealing, to me anyway.

    The second involves hot tea and about 2 or 3 inches of a good brandy. Yummy.

    The tried and true method? At the first sign of a cold, I typically wait until the start of the second day to make sure, you simply drink an entire bottle of eldeberry extract.
    It is think. It stinks. It tastes like ass. It makes me gag. But it works. The next day you wake up clear as a bell.

  7. What apparently works for me is marrying someone who’s more susceptible to colds. The cold germs run from me like a Bible salesman on Bourbon Street and go right up the nose of a certain spouse.

    I’d gloat, but that leaves me Extra Dog Maintenance, Additional Dinner Acquisition Responsibilities, and of course Wading Through The Snotty Kleenex Piles (we’ve gotten about three inches this week!).

    Ummm… Masala doesn’t read the comments, does she?

  8. Green chile, either made with pork or with seitan. Doesn’t seem to make a difference there, but the green chiles are what do the trick.

    And afterwards, as long a nap as you can manage, either alone or with a friend.

  9. Sadly, I don’t have time to be sick. Therefore I pretend I’m not, get really grumpy, and get on with what I need to do.

    Yes, it makes me more tired and takes longer to get over it. Yes, I wish with every fiber of my being that I could go to bed with a cup of tea and a good book. But work doesn’t look kindly at not showing up, and Mom never gets a rest at home. Everything still needs to be done.

    Then I whine to my husband, who ignores me (as he should).

  10. Sleep, lots of water, and drugs (I have found that pseudoephedrine works the best for me). Recently I have tried some light exercise, it actually did make me feel better the last time I had a cold.

    If you want sex could work for exercise. The point was to get my blood flowing faster.

  11. Hair dryer

    You put it on your face and breathe!

    It clears your sinuses and stuff, and it’s supposed to kill off all those bad germs or whatever.

    I like to keep believeing it works because I’m not going to mess with the placebo effect.

  12. Stay warm.

    Lots of hot tea and Nyquil.

    Break out all the movies that have explosions, but require no brains. Even better if they DEMAND no brains.

    Of course, since I work at home, I really don’t get sick days, I just phone it in.

  13. You have a choice. You can just keep your hands clean so as not to spread the germs, drink adequate fluids and go about your normal activities. If you follow this course, the cold will last for 7 days.

    Or you can hunker down with blankets, tea, toddies, honey, lemon, Vicks VapoRub, Vitamin C, zinc lozenges, vaporizers, Dayquil, Nyquil, Duskquil, what-the-frack-ever and beat the cold into submission. Should you choose this course, I am delighted to inform you that your cold is unlikely to last more than a week.

  14. Nyquil with a tequilla chaser. It doesn’t actually cure anything but, by the time you regain consciousness, the cold will have run its course.

    Disclaimer: This may void your warranty. No user-serviceable parts inside. Not liable for damages due to use or misuse. For educational purposes only. Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

  15. I have a kind of nasty cure that really works for me. I mix up salt water at the ratio of 1/8 teaspoon of salt in an 8 ounce glass of water and heat in the microwave to a decently warm temperature. This mixture is unsufflated (suck it up your nose like cocaine, as I have heard that explained), and keep blowing it out until your nasal mucous is clear. Repeat as necessary, as many times as you need per day when that itchy, burning sensation starts. It has the added benefit of flushing out all that mucous that will drip out during the day when you have a regular cold. It doesn’t hurt, because of the salt making it hypotonic, but it takes a little getting used to the action of sucking water up your nose. My theory is that the solution makes it pretty inhospitable for the virus while flushing a lot of the little boogers out of you nasal cavity at the same time. If you let the solution trickle back into your throat as you “snort” it, that also serves to clean your throat out. Not TOO hot, now, just tolerable, and you know that the viruses don’t like it hot.

    On a side note, I make short work of sore throats by gargling hydrogen peroxide. You have to be careful to avoid burns, though. I just gargle with about an ounce- maybe 15 seconds- and flush copiously with the same salt solution as above. Sore throats last max 2 days for me on this regime.

  16. Back in the olden days (when skepticism was much more mainstream than it is today), there was an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies where Milburn Drysdale started to come down with a cold. He mentioned it to the Clampetts, and Granny said she had a sure cure for the cold. Mr. Drysdale, dollar signs in his eyes, asked for the cure.

    So Granny made him a poultice of asafoetida, mustard seed, and garlic. She told him to wear it around his neck.

    “And this will cure the Common Cold?,” said Mr. Drysdale.

    “I guarantee you,” said Jed Clampett. “You wear that around your neck every day without fail, and in seven to ten days, your cold will be gone!”

    My advice? Any combination of alcohol, lemon, and hot water is soothing. If you go the alcohol route, drink extra water to make up for it.

    I don’t like multi-symptom cold medicine. Buy some Benedryl (antihistamine), some pseudoephedrine (decongestant), some Guifanesin (expectorant), and some dextromethorphan (cough suppressant) individually. Dose yourself according to your symptoms, and according to whether you need to function during the day. (E.g., Only take Benedryl at night before bed. Take Guifanesin on the weekend, when you can spend time bringing up phlegm, etc.)

    Take only minimal doses of these upfucking drugs. It’s about management, not cure. Guifanesin, in particular, is nasty, but as disgusting as it is, it gets that shit out of your body.

    They also sell sterile saline solution (9%) that you can squirt up your nose. This is biologically neutral, and helps tremendously if you’re having trouble breathing. Also good? Those nasal strips that keep your nose open without decongestants. I like the kind that are laced with menthol.

    I actually think Granny’s poultice sounds pretty good, if you mixed it with a pot of mixed greens (spinach, mustard greens, collards, meat optional) and served it with some brown Basmati rice or good crusty bread.

  17. I’ve always found that fighting the symptoms with medication only makes the cold last longer. I mean, are not the symptoms of a cold the product of the body fighting it?
    You give yourself a fever to kill germs. Don’t take a reducer unless the temp gets too high.
    Don’t fight the runny nose. The mucous helps to expel the germs, blow your nose often.( @phlebas: I feel your pain with the kleenex mountain ranges. When I’m sick, I go into the bathroom to blow my nose with toilet paper, and flush it when I’m done. My wife makes heaps on the bed, couch, floor …)
    A sore throat, so I’ve heard, is a product of your immune system destroying germs, but destroying some healthy cells collaterally. So I guess that would be one symptom to fight.
    I also recommend staying active against hunkering down in bed. (Though of course sex is good for WHATEVER ails you!)

    When I get a cold, one of which is presently on the wane, I stay active, continue with my workout schedule, blow my nose constantly, and drink all the water I can to replace the mucous. For a sore throat, I find sipping diet Dr. Pepper to be oddly efficacious, more-so than any other carbonated beverage I’ve tried.

  18. “When that happens, my body will periodically force me to stop by giving me a cold.”

    Funny, I always thought colds were caused by viruses –but what do I know, I’m a skeptic not a doctor…lol…had to look up and make sure I was reading a skeptical blog, and noone else commented on it? Or is it a case of my sarcasm detector not functioning?

  19. @Howard: “…an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies…”
    I was thinking the same thing, but you beat me to the post! :)
    I used to take a “Snakebite” and go to bed. Always felt better in the morning:
    2 oz Yukon Jack over ice
    add a splash of lime juice

  20. @mikekoz68: I should clarify – when I said that I mean: “I’ve been insanely busy, I have been eating badly, not sleeping enough and under high levels of stress. That means my body is more susceptible to a virus. I was summarizing :) I don’t actually think my body is plotting against me. Although sometimes I do wonder…

    I’m feeling a lot better and all these suggestions are awesome :) My basic response this time was lots and lots of sleep (not just rest – sleep), advil for my sore throat and enough fluids that I feel like I’m going to float away…

  21. @Protesilaus: Hiccups?

    Take one 16 oz. plastic cup of water. Stand in an open area with your feet planted firmly a little more than shoulder width apart. Bend over as far as you can go and drink from the far side of the cup. Continue taking breathes while drinking.

    It takes me at most, half the cup.

  22. Heat the sauna up to a nice, balmy 80-90 degrees Celcius. Plop a sixpack (or two) of beer in the water bucket. Retreat into the sauna and consume the beer at a sensible place. Cures the common cold in only 72 hours (as opposed to the natural run of about three days).

    Note, do NOT try this if you have a weak heart, since it can cure the cold by killing you. Also remember to take breathers outside if you start feeling woozy, as you can easily cause yourself heatstroke if you don’t. It’s more pleasant to have extended sauna sessions if you err on the low side of the temperature range. Do NOT try to have sex in the sauna, as it’s not really a good sex environment.

  23. Gabriel @ #18 & 19:

    Certainly Jameson is efficacious for The Whooping Cough. Obviously, for The Whooping Cough; but also for The Cold, The Blue Wobbles, The Skittles, The Walking Pancreatic Fever, The AIDS and Softening of The Liver.

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