Thursday, October 07, 2010

Cold Remedies

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What we call the "common cold" is uncommonly frustrating and miserable. Who can stand the smothering feeling of congested sinuses? Or being woken up every three seconds because of a cough or sore throat or involuntary throat clearing? Or not being able to fall asleep at all because of that stuffed-up nose? And if you do fall asleep, you don't fall asleep very deeply...the dreams are irritating, they barely qualify as dreams, more like disconnected thoughts that make no sense but pretend to. What can be worse than a nasty cold? They don't call it a "rhino-virus" for nothing--since the miserable things come charging through your system like a rhinoceros.

As Bluto Pippy writes, in "The Head Cold":

Who filled these nostrils with inharmonious,
Uneuphonious stones?
Who filled these nostrils with pillows?
Pillows and dusty, stuffy cushions.
Now there are rills
From my nostrils.
My nostrils have been walled off
With a wall of concrete.
Would that my head
Were carved from a large, cool mint.
I cannot breathe the spring breezes.
I cannot breathe.
The aroma of barbecue
Cannot enter the futuristic furniture of my nostrils!
Nasty bug,
Vacate my nose!

--Bluto Pippy, from Inter-Departmental Mail

If you are suffering from a cold right now, I do not envy you. In fact, I wouldn't wish that kind of thing on my worst enemy (well...). But if you are suffering, take heart! There is relief available. I was able to take advantage of available natural resources to relieve my misery, and you can too!
Some things to do when you have a bad cold:

1. Steam ("Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Kiss that Congestion Goodbye!")

First, remember to be safe and careful. Steam can be hot. You must be sure to regulate the temperature so that you don't harm yourself. Got it? Be careful. Make sure the steam is of a safe temperature. Turn on your shower to hot and let the bathroom fill up with steam. Now you will have turned your home bathroom into a sauna worthy of a Hollywood movie mogul. What could be better than that? The steam will break up the congestion like nobody's business. Also, as long as you are careful, try a warm compress on your chest. The warmth will also work to bust up that stuff in your chest.

2. Chinese Remedies

Do you like hot, spicy food? I do. And I like it even more when I have a cold. A great way to get over a cold is to order in some Chinese food like Hot & Spicy chicken and Hot & Sour soup. Another great way to break up the congestion and move that cold along! Think of the times you've complained when spicy food made your nose run--now it's to your advantage! Don't you feel a little guilty that you complained before?

3. Saline Away!

Are you addicted to those medicinal nose sprays? Just can't breathe without 'em? That's because remedies like that have a rebound effect. They end up causing your sinuses to be more swollen in the end. That's why I've stopped using them and only use saline spray now. Saline spray is just that--a saline spray. You Latinists will recall that "saline" derives from the Latin word for "salt." Salt spray in your nostrils--think of how cleansing and refreshing that will be. It really gets the gunk out of there. And all without that nasty rebound effect.

4. Sleep In

Yes, we live in a 24/7, connected, postmodern world, where everybody's at work all the time, even in their sleep. But to recover from a cold, you must get rest and you must sleep. Much as it goes against the postmodern grain to do so, you must take some time out for yourself to get better. You'll be amazed at how quickly you will recover if you will just allow your body's healing energies to work it out on their own. It's kind of like your body is a cellphone and your energy is the battery. Let's say you're running out of battery charge. Do you immediately start using the internet on your phone and taking pictures and playing games and so on? No, you let it rest. So be like a computer and hibernate!

5. Overcome Hydrate-Phobia!

Yes, you must drink plenty of fluids to get better. Drink water. Drink herbal tea. Drink green tea. These things will really help. Think of yourself as one of those dehydrated instant dinosaurs--you just add water and they flourish!

Now, the above musings on head colds will not appeal to those of us who want the quick fix and the instant gratification. Realize however that those kinds of medicines have rebound effects. They do things to your sinuses to make them feel better for a little while, but then your sinuses are in worse shape than before. So I don't like those kinds of remedies. Because when I do the things above, I may not feel instantly better, but when the cold does go away, it goes away a lot sooner and it doesn't linger.

Remember, there is always a price to pay for instant gratification. Personally, I think that a lot of cold medicines out there are the equivalent of junk food. It might make you feel good for a moment, but then you hate yourself later when the consequences hit home.

I would much rather research the ancient wisdom and see what's available out there that doesn't involve nasty rebound effects and the prolonging of the cold. I would rather seek out knowledge about how to restore my body's balance.

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