Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I have a head cold, and I am pretty sure it is the very worst head cold that anyone has ever had in the entire history of humankind. (Yes, female readers, I am such a typical whiny man.) My sinuses are congested to the point where I think they are going to burst. My nose is constantly running, and NO it is not just trying to get away from my face! I go into fits of violent sneezing that seem to last longer than a presidential administration, and my head feels like the game ball must at the end of the Super Bowl.
Despite all our scientific advances, there is no cure for the virus that causes the common cold. Viruses are notoriously difficult to get a clamp on anyway, and the common cold virus especially so, since it mutates so frequently that finding a cure is like hitting a mosquito with a pea shooter. So in a practical sense, all you can do is treat the symptoms with the remedies of your choice. Here’s what I've been using:
Fluids: They always say to drink lots of fluids when you have a cold. My fluid of choice is good old-fashioned water, although I’ll grab a glass of juice or two during the day as well. Any microbiologist will tell you that water is one of the most fundamental things your body uses to maintain itself, so it only stands to reason that in the fight to ward off a virus and repair the damage it has done, water is important. The trouble is, increased drinking means increased peeing. These past few days and nights, I've been to the bathroom so many times that the tiles on the floor in front of the toilet are starting to show wear.
Chicken soup: It has long been said that chicken soup is good for you when you have a cold. Something about it containing natural antihistamines, I think. In my experience, it does indeed seem like my nose gets a bit clearer during the actual time I am eating the chicken soup, but as soon as I am finished, it’s stuffed-up city again. The temptation is to open up another can of soup for more relief. But a guy can only eat so much chicken soup before he starts to sprout feathers. Chicken soup is a short-term fix at best.
Vitamin C: I've always been skeptical of this cold remedy. If vitamin C was so great for colds, you would think that you’d see better results. I know people who take the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C every day, and they still come down with major colds. I know other people, like me, who have taken megadoses of vitamin C after catching a cold, and have seen no appreciable results. One person I know who buys into the vitamin C theory is very adamant about it. No matter how terrible her cold turns out to be, she claims that it would have been much, much worse if she hadn't taken the vitamin C. To which I typically want to reply “So other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?”, but don’t for fear of being beaten roundly about the head.
Cold medicines: There are few things more intimidating than the wall of cold medicines at your local pharmacy. There are meds for nasal congestion, chest congestion, throat pain, itchy and watery eyes, coughing, fever, aches and various combinations thereof. There are also sugar-free medicines, alcohol-free medicines, children’s medicines, infant’s medicines, daytime medicines, nighttime medicines, liquids, pills, teas, throat drops, etc. It’s enough to make your stuffy head spin right off your shoulders. In the end, I typically just go with something in an orange box or something cherry-flavored, since those are things I like. (Of course it may or may not do anything for my cold, but whatever.)
Rest: This is a tough one for me. I don’t do rest very well. Oh sure, I go to bed at night and get a good eight hours, but once I am up in the morning, I am ready to go, go, go. Staying in the house when I am not vomiting up a lung or nursing broken bones just seems odd to me. But I've been at rest these past few days. At least I've tried to be. Take today for example. I watched the news, did some reading, beat a level on my pirate video game, took a nap, wrote this, and, and, and now what?! It’s only 12 noon! The walls are closing in on me! There are errands to run, people to see, places to go, things to do, and I am stuck in the house “resting” instead! And don’t even get me started on what is probably going on at work without me. Sure my body needs to preserve resources in order to fight off the cold germs, and I certainly don’t want to spread this misery to other people, but I am losing my mind over here!
So here’s hoping that you don’t end up with the same head cold I have. But if you do, stay away from the cold medicine in the orange box. It makes you jumpy and gives you screaming nightmares.