Skepticism

Afternoon Inquisition 4.18

It appears I’ve finally come down with what the guys at work have officially dubbed “the crud” (which is basically some sort of horrible coldish virus that is currently making me feel like the inside of my head is full of liquid hot magma). It seemed to have pretty well made the rounds, and I thought I’d been lucky enough to avoid it, but alas, no, I was not.

So I’ve spent the past two weeks being slightly annoyed by my coworkers (whom I do love dearly) extolling the virtues of their various cold remedies (airborne, zinc, echinacea, nasal saline spray, vitamin c, blah blah blah). At this point I almost wish I didn’t know that none of this really works so I could take it and enjoy a blissfully ignorant placebo effect. Which brings me to today’s question/assignment:

Entertain me with your creative suggestions for dealing with this ailment. You can invent ridiculous cures, suggest diversionary tactics, or whatever you feel is appropriate. Help me!

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62 Comments

  1. Well, if your head feels like it’s filled with red hot magma, I found the “neti pot” thing to work. It’s basically a warm saline bath for your sinuses, and is far more effective than blowing your nose. It takes a little mental discipline to pour salt water into your nose and not drown, and the huge amounts of slimy, ropey snot pouring out of your head isn’t exactly pleasant, but I found it would keep my head clear for about 1/2 the day, and I would use OTC drugs after that. Not a cure, of course, but it did keep me cleared up enough to get some sleep, or go to work.
    My favorite “remedy” however, is the hot toddy. Pour a good double shot of whiskey or brandy into a mug. Add a heaping teaspoon of honey. Squeeze about 1/2 a lemon into it, drop the lemon shell in. Add a cinnamon stick, and then top with boiling water. Insert nose in top of mug. (NOT IN LIQUID, ouch.) Inhale ethanol fumes. sigh. drink. It won’t cure anything but it will make your condition more tolerable.

  2. To expel the malformed thetans that are giving you the crud, perform the following every 37.5 minutes exactly:

    1. Snap your fingers 3 times, Broadway-style.
    2. Bob your head like a pigeon, and chant “OO-ka OO-ka EE-ka NAY”
    3. Spit.

    The finger-snapping gets the thetans’s attention, and the chanting is actually their ancient mating call. Naturally, they’ll all rush to the source of the mating call, your mouth, and spitting ejects them from your body.

    If you’re nervous about trying it for the first time, please feel free to record a video so we can, uh, evaluate your technique.

  3. My actual cure involves an industrial belt sander, a 6.23″ AAA powered fuchsia vibrator, and a CD consisting only of “The Wheels on the Bus” ala Raffi on repeat for 6 hours.

    …failing access to these items you can always go with the good old stand by of getting liquored up.

    I recommend pouring a coffee mug of 1/2 Johnny Walker Black Label, 1/2 water, microwave on high until the bubble start bubble, then steep two bags of lemon honey herbal tea. add honey to taste.

    …if you can’t get better you might as well turn that clogged sinus into a magic carpet ride. :)

  4. 1) Take all of your blood out of your body.

    2) Place in microwave-safe bowl.

    3) Put in microwave for 5 minutes on high, then 10 minutes on defrost.

    4) Put blood back in body.

    This cure will most likely result in the side effect of death – but there is a small chance you might survive and get superpowers…

    Or leukemia, but at least you’ll be cured!

  5. A guy I used to work with told me once of a remedy that involves eating honey and wrapping yourself in wet bedsheets. He said it works every time, but it actually sounds like more of a hassle than putting up with the sickness.

    I usually employ the ‘water and naps’ method.

  6. My last-resort cold remedy of choice is Nyquil and tequila (aka a Bloody Hell). It doesn’t cure anything but by the time you regain consciousness the symptoms should have subsided. Best taken within falling distance of a soft place.

  7. Into a large mug, combine the following:
    2 ozs Jack Daniels
    1 tblsp fresh lemon juice
    1 tblsp honey
    1 tsp sugar
    fill with scalding hot tea.

    Place a straw is the cup and the other end of the straw in one nostril. Inhale violently. Repeat in other nostril…if still conscious.
    Or, if you are a wimp, try sipping it in front of a warm fireplace.
    Add homemade chicken soup and saltine crackers if available.
    Also, repeat the spiked tea recipe at least once every two hours. It won’t cure you but after a day or so, you won’t care about being sick.
    Hope you get better soon :o)

  8. @colddayinapril: haha, you totally deserve COTW. Although, ironically I have tried your remedy and not only did it cure my ailment, but when I woke up I somehow ended up speaking in tongues front row at a Steven Curtis Chapman concert. My only guess is that Jesus slipped a roofie in my Johnny Walker.

  9. Am sad enough to post a real symptom easer:

    Head over a bowl of just boiled water, towel over head and bowl together, for as long as you can stand. There is all kinds of gubbins (essential oil, Vicks, menthol crystals etc.), but it is the steam that does it.

    With a hot toddy, proper whisky works better than the meths peddled by the Irish/North Americans.

  10. If your problem is that you’re very stuffed up, I definitely recommend Afrin no-drip nasal spray, the stronger the better. Not a saline spray, but a good old-fashioned blast of chemicals you can’t pronounce.

    It’ll definitely clear your sinuses, but the downside is that you’ll be blowing your nose every 10 minutes for the rest of the day (which makes me wonder why they call it “no drip”). So, when you buy it, be sure to buy some lotion tissues.

    Also, if you use it longer than 3 days, it’ll prolong your congestion.

  11. If you’re stuffed up and/or have a runny nose, go buy some cheap nasal spray. It works.I disagree with Bevans– I use it every time I get sick and it dries up my sinuses really well without dripping.

    If you’re coughing, go buy some cough drops and basically have one in your mouth at all times.

    In any case, drink water like there’s no tomorrow. Or drink lots of tea if you like. That usually seems to help me.

  12. If your head feels like it’s full of hot magma, I recommend catastrophic thinning of the crust over one of your subduction zones. The resulting ash cloud may annoy your coworkers, though, so I recommend standing outside the rear entrance with the rest of the smokers.

  13. @Bevans:

    (which makes me wonder why they call it “no drip”)

    Ah, that refers to what used to be called “post-nasal drip,” a condition which seems to have joined catarrh and ague in the Museum of Obsolete Symptoms. That’s where your excess mucus production runs down the back way, across your soft palate and down your throat. A side-effect of the old Benzedrine-based inhalers, I believe.

  14. My daughter had a mild cold a couple of weeks ago and was complaining about her ear hurting. She said so that an older could hear. He told me to put a clove of garlic in her ear overnight and she would be fine by morning.

    I suggest you add sauce, mozarella, ricotta cheese to the garlic (and possibly a nice red wine). Leave this in your ear overnight and you will have a nice evening meal.

    Good luck.

  15. What makes you think that knowledge of inefficacy prevents a placebo effect?

    There are lots of things that I know don’t work, but I still take them and they still work for me. It’s the human gullibility factor. (What? Is that just me?)

  16. @Chakolate: well, i dunno…i have a very hard time convincing myself to do anything i know is ultimately pointless. it would be interesting to see a study of people knowingly taking placebos vs unknowingly taking them…has anyone done that?
    also, i really hate the idea of giving money to the placebo-peddlers.

  17. Snuff. Seriously. It dries up the sinuses, and gives you a serious head rush.

    No, I’m not talking about the “dip” or the “chew” or any oral chewing tobacco. That’s just gross. (Coming from someone in Mississippi who has accidentally had a swig from one too many “spit cups”).

    I’m talking about old fasioned grandma’s snuff, the kind of dried ground tobacco you SNORT UP YOUR NOSE!

    Not only does it give you the “woooo, I’m doing cocaine!” feeling, it really does clear the hell out of your sinuses, numbs your nose and nasal cavity area, and causes cancer.

    But you don’t get “the crud” THAT often, do you?

    Really. Snuff. I’m sooo not kidding. You can get an ounce for 5 bucks.

  18. I also love my neti pot. I don’t know if it helps actually clear the virus faster (doubt it) but it sure does help clear the mucus so you can breathe for a while. Also, sleep. When I feel a cold/flu/crud/funk coming on, I sleep for 15-20 hours each day (with brief breaks for food, fluids, and bathroom breaks) until I stop feeling awful. I find that when I just allow myself to stay home and sleep, sleep, sleep instead of forcing myself to go to lab, I feel better in 2-3 days rather then 2-3 weeks. Hope you’re feeling right as rain soon! Take care.

  19. @Steve: I’ve always loved NyQuil but it never occurred to me to make a proper shot out of it! I’m not a tequila fan. How do you think this would go with vodka or rum? I’m coming down with something now so I am in prime condition to experiment with this.

  20. I have two words for you, Beer Sauna.
    Take your favorite ale, stouts and porters do not have the aromatic punch for this. Heat up some rocks, (a large iron skillet could serve indoors). Place a towel over your head to catch the steam, and pour the beer over the hot rocks. Now breath in the heady vapors before sitting down to stop the world from doing that funny spin thing it does.

    Otherwise, get well in 7 to 10 days!

  21. A note on the neti pot…

    I have discovered them this year and I do love mine. However, if this is the first time you’ve ever done it and you’re seriously congested? I’m gonna hesitate to recommend it.

    The first time you do it and you’re not overly stuffed up it’s bad enough. If you’re experienced and you do it when you’re really stuffed up and then have the saline solution make you choke because it can’t force through what’s in there? Ick.

    When you start to get more runny, definitely use it. I live in Wisconsin where the air is arid in winter, and this lets viruses thrive in your sinuses. If you keep them moist and washed, then the virus won’t turn into a viral sinus infection. When you get that, then you have to Neti pot 3-4 times a day, which just ain’t fun.

    But otherwise – yes, I love my neti pot. It’s nice to kill my sinus headaches and not be using increasing amounts of pseudoephedrine which does horrible things to your blood pressure. I always take one ibuprofen before I Neti Pot, and follow it up with as hot a cup of tea as I can handle (for the steam). Within a half hour, the sinus headache is gone.

    Hope you feel better…

  22. @Chasmosaur:

    “If you’re experienced and you do it when you’re really stuffed up and then have the saline solution make you choke because it can’t force through what’s in there? Ick.”

    I had that exact experience at about 2am. Definitely Ick. Neti pot should not be used when overly congested!

  23. You know, if you’re too cheap to buy a neti pot or don’t want to push money on the people who make that sort of thing, you can always just use a small funnel, or a bit of tubing, or a measuring cup with a small pouring spout, or anything of the sort. Also, an enema bulb. But make sure it’s unused.

  24. @Chakolate:

    I’ve definitely found that knowing that something is probably a placebo does nothing to diminish its effect.

    As long as you take anything you’ll probably feel better, because the placebo effect, as people often forget, really makes you feel better.

  25. @Chasmosaur: I agree that a first-timer shouldn’t use the neti pot when completely stuffed up, but I use it effectively even if my nose is completely blocked. Of course, it takes up to two minutes for the first drop to work its way through, but the succeeding drops come faster and faster. Eventually, I’m wide open.

    Do I love my neti pot? You bet. :-)

  26. Hairdryer.

    I’m not kidding.

    YOu put it on low (or high hey I’m not a doctory why not?). Point it at your face. Try to breathe the hot air IN. Even mouth breathe. Get rid of those germs. Point it at your ears…

    but just try to get the hot air IN. It like kills the whatever thingys.

    DRY is better, not that hot steam.

    does it work? Well, it doesn’t hurt and oddly makes things move around a bit. Gotta do it twice and day..

  27. Clearly you have been suffering from an attack of aneristic vibes. Have you been inundated lately by too many things that must be in perfect order? In that case my diagnoses is correct and we can move on to the cure– neutralizing the aneristic pulse and introducing some beneficial chaos into the environment by using the “turkey curse.” When your head feels as if it cannot take any more, face the source of the offending organization and yell “GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE!”

    All will then be well.

  28. With all the attention that the neti pot is getting, I think equal time and consideration should be given to the yeti pot. This pot is a little different; you have to fill it with snow, hurl it at a tree, and yell “ABOMINABLE!” Once the pot is smashed, the lentgh of your sickness will be determined by the pattern of the scattered snow. It usually ends up averaging out to about a week, but the recovery process can be accelerated by simply eating like five goats.

    Keep this in mind, though: you cannot just go straight for the goats. You’ll be worse off if you try to skip ahead. Trust me.

  29. Have a Zombie,
    You may fell like one at work, so…
    And there will be an effect that is not a placebo effect (depending on how many you have)
    There should be no effect on your cold*

    *Warning, this may cause termination of employment if over used.

  30. Mix a pool of warm distilled water and oatmeal and relax in it. Oatmeal has cleansing properties, and you’ve got some dirty cells. The warm water relaxes your muscles and skin, allowing the toxins to flow quicker. Since the water is distilled, it can hold more toxins than tap water. If you can’t find enough distilled water, purified spring water can be substituted, but it will have a decreased effect. Spend about 30-45 minutes in this mixture, and rinse quickly with tap water. Spending too much time in the oatmeal or delaying a rinse may allow some toxins to return to your body.Do this once a week, to cleanse your cells of excessive toxins and remain cold/flu symptom free.

    It also works on a really long list of other problems, both physical and mental, that I don’t have time to list.*

    *This product has not been approved and these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to cure, diagnose, or treat any ailment. Please consult your physician before starting/modifying an alternative treatment regiment.

  31. Late to the game, as usual. I had what sounds like the same malady last week. In order to make myself comfortable enough to sleep or get some work done, I relied on a 12-hour nasal spray. I was using Mucinex Full Blast, but Afrin makes a similar product. Keeps your sinuses clear for 10-12 hours.

  32. You could read some Mark Twain. That’s always fun when you’re incapacitated (well, it’s fun when you’re not, as well). He has some remedies and some advice–give up smoking cigars. I don’t think you need to give up the whiskey–the crud can last for weeks, and you need something to get you through daytime tv. If you go to Tahoe to spread the misery, DON’T take a sheet bath.

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