The Common Cold Revisited

When I retired from teaching 12 years ago, I stopped getting colds and would only get one once a year. It is largely from going to school, work, concerts, sports events, or being in a crowd of people that one gets colds. When I taught, I probably averaged severally a year, being variously infected at work or at home by my own kids. Recently, with the addition of a grandson who goes to day care, the number of colds have increased to about 3-4 a year.

The pattern in dealing with a potential cold situation whether going out into a crowd situation or having a sick family member over is the same. Automatic starting of a Cold FX 3-pill regimen, starting Vitamin C (1000mg  effervescent tabs of Redoxon can be helpful) and Echinacea, no alcohol, more rest, and getting enough sleep. Sometimes taking zinc, though it affects one’s taste. usually there is no hand contact with others, more washing of hands, and no touching of one’s eyes or nose. The first twinge of any symptom/s begins the Cold FX regimen for sure.

But sometimes one is doomed, usually signalled by the onset of general body achiness 9lasting the duration of a cold) and a full or congested head. If the nose starts to run, it is usually curtains, though meds like Tylenol can stop the flow. It becomes harder to think clearly and movement usually slows down. I find I don’t and can’t regularly exercise, and try to keep myself flowing with coffee (no tea–it contains tannic acid which can dry the throat and lead to coughing) and oranges. SK oranges available in January-February are fantastic for C-dosing. Soups become standard for lunches and it is important to keep the body warm with heating pads or body blankets.

Afternoon naps are a must for some recovery and rest. If one is coughing, especially out of control, Benylin DM or a sleeping pill may be necessary at bedtime to give the coughing a break. I haven’t used kleenexes in year and keep a large supply of handkerchiefs, preferring their softness, leaving my nose area less dry, red or chapped. One sometimes does go through 3-4 a day when the cold is at its heaviest, so these may need to be washed and cleaned to meet the need of daily running. The old Vicks inhalers still work when lying down to dry out the nose. Lately, I have been using a product my daughter gave me called No Snore, which I inhale during the day which seems to keep the nose open. Fishermen’s Friend lozenges are also good on the throat and, if you need to numb your throat when it stabs in pain, the cherry Cepacols work well.

What used to be said about colds being three days arriving, three days staying, and three days leaving is standard for a regular or bad cold. But I find that the symptoms can often be stopped in their tracks early and one can get only a mild or very phantom version if one is on top of one’s pills.

BTW/I am just finishing day 9 of my first cold in several months. I dodged one before Xmas, but this time I was a goner with my grandson coughing in my face as we played for several hours 2 Sundays ago. One would do well, incidentally, to avoid travelling with people who have colds in cars. if you are with them for close to an hour, you are likewise doomed. I keep the outer sleeve of my jackets open or loose so I can withdraw my fingers into the sleeve when opening doors or punching buttons in public. My only other recommendation for those in large crowd situations is to retire as soon as you can! You’ll see your no. of colds drop from 6 or so a year to saner nos. like 1.

Looking back and reflecting on raising a family, there were always colds on in the home every couple of weeks or so. On trips there were always 1-2 people sick. When I travelled on planes to conferences and drank more, I usually had a cold when I got back home. And when you start to think about the meetings and special occasions like Christmas and Easter that get spoiled by colds, you start to realize how the billions of germs around us daily have their ways with us even in hot summer sometimes.

Makes me wonder about historical events and times and how many people from the past were likely sick in any moment or episode. I’m sure you could see those runny noses and hear sneezing and hacking coughs in important meetings and places perpetually 365 days a year back then.

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