This post has (almost) nothing to do with any deal. It is part of the “Off Topic Tuesday” series.
Considering all the hacking, sneezing, and nose blowing on MUNI I think it is fair to conclude we are deep in the throes of cold season. Therefore, in the spirit of community service I thought Off Topic Tuesday needed to be devoted to cold remedies – what works and what doesn’t. Had I known I was stepping into a minefield I would have stuck with my original post idea.
The original post was another type of community service – how to get an extra 40% off all sale items at J Crew. Unlike deciphering cold remedies, the J Crew sale is straight forward and without controversy. Simply use the code “GET40 ” at checkout. Done. This works either in the store or online. The J Crew deal is good through 11:59 pm on January 29. The clock is ticking so move fast.
Back to the cold “remedies.”Google is usually my BFF in researching my posts. But not this time. The information on cold remedies is a study in contradiction. For example, several posts wax poetic about zinc and its amazing cold reducing properties. Just as many good sources debunk zinc’s amazing cold reducing properties. Ditto sambucol, Halo Oral Spray, Vitamin C, and pretty much all the over the counter “cures.”
The only consensus is management not cure. So un-American. If you have a cold, try some of these management tips. One thing is certain, tips or no tips, with time you will feel better. I guarantee it.
Tip # 1:`The Best Cure: Prevention
Tip number one, aptly called the best cure, is simply preventing a cold. Here are some tried and true cold prevention tips.
• Wash your hands – a lot. Before meals, before touching your eyes and mouth, and definitely after you get off MUNI or BART. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. STAY AWAY from antimicrobial soaps that contain triclosan.
• Disinfect surfaces that can keep germs – computer keyboards, telephones, handrails, door knobs, remote controls, counter tops, and sinks can all harbor viruses for hours after use by an infected person. Wipe frequently with soap and water or a disinfectant solution.
• Try to avoid people who have the cold virus (ah, duh.)
• Avoid being indoor with a lot of people (like riding public transit!)
• Use paper towels in the kitchen and bathroom for hand washing since germs can live several hours on cloth towels. I keep a roll of paper towels in the bathroom for family and guests to use instead of cloth towels. (Yes, I recycle them.)
• Throw tissues away after use. Used tissues contain the cold virus and can contaminate any surface where they are left. Ewww.
Tip # 2 Consume Liquids.
Liquids prevent the throat and nose from drying out. Additionally, liquids remove toxins produced from dead cells thus increasing the body’s ability to fight the virus. Try drinking:
• Tea. It is soothing and lubricates the voice box. Jujube tea is rich in Vitamin C and is good for relieving aching throat muscles.
• Chicken Soup! Tradition.There actually is research that shows the ingredients of chicken soup reduce the swelling of the nasal cavity and promote faster healer. Also the protein from chicken helps the body build antibodies to fight viruses. Okay, any hot soup is good since it helps keep the body hydrated and the hot vapors are soothing.
Avoid coffee and alcohol. Darn. Both tend to dehydrate the body.
Tip # 3 Take a hot shower or hot bath.
Steam breaks up congestion and moisturizes your nasal passages. If you don’t want to take a shower or bath try standing in the bathroom with running hot water or carefully inhaling steam over a pot of boiling water. Very low tech.
Want to go high-tech? Get a humidifier. This can help avoid a stuffed nose.
Tip #4 Salt Water/Saline.
Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle. This will relieve your sore throat and help clean the virus from the back of your throat.
And then there is the neti pot. This sends salt water into one nostril and out the other. Do this over the sink! Only use it with distilled or boiled water (NOT TAP water) and use the saline packages that come with the neti pot. You can get a neti pot at any drug store. It sounds gross but it works well.
Tip #5 Watch your diet.
This is not universally accepted but many believe eating fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C help you heal faster. The theory is the Vitamin C in food contributes to better functioning white blood cells which helps fight the virus. Other foods to aid in cold recovery include: garlic, honey, peppermint, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, parsley, celery and cauliflower.
As for honey – darker varieties of honey, such as buckwheat honey, have more antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Try honey loquat syrup (they sell it at the health food store) – it soothes sore throats.
Tip #6 Rest
Experts suggest staying home and resting in a warm environment. This allows your body to direct its energy to fighting the cold virus rather than keeping you warm.
Bottom Line: Interestingly cold remedies are a lot like hangover cures – best to prevent and the only certainty is time will cure it.
Fine Print aka Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or doctor. The tips and advice in this post are from my experience, and are not medical advice.
Do you have a surefire cold cure? Share it with us!