Partial Bullshit, Uncategorized

Hello, I have a Cold: A Guide to Remedies


I got this gif from here. A listing of things Vaporub can do. 

For three weeks I was a coughing wreck. It would come on strong in the evening as I snuggled down to sleep. The cold, lung-rattling coughs, throwing my head back to lengthen, straighten my throat so that any untoward visitors could writhe out so they could be disposed of.

And yet this monster hung on, wedged in my sinuses wreaking havoc. As is custom, I played the game of ‘Ought I visit the doctor?’

Of course, this is the United States where healthcare is costly and you do everything possible to avoid missing work or ponying up that $30 co-pay on top of the hundreds you already pay per month for service from a company that will ultimately pick and choose what they deign to cover.

And ultimately, it was a cold.

A virus. So I just had to wait it out as they say. Drink plenty of fluids. Get some rest. But I knew there was a secret some where. Everyone has an idea and everyone has an opinion. And you just get to the point – I reached it at 10 days – when you are willing to try any suggestion.

Please find herewith a chronicle of the remedies in various categories I tried and their efficacy or lack thereof based on a scale of ‘Just for Shits & Giggles’ to ‘Meh’ to ‘Sorta’.


  • Fire Cider: This is what the fancy granola kids down at the co-op are doing these days. Horseradish, garlic, onion, ginger, and chiles all dolled up in apple cider vinegar. Here’s the recipe I’m trying.
    • Rating: Sortathis was a good kind of folksy that also got points for harnessing my obsession with Mr. Can Do No Wrong ‘Apple Cider Vinegar’. I don’t know if it did much for my cold. But I now have more hair on my chest, so that’s great.
  • Vicks® VapoRub on the feet + heavy socks: Every single time I have a cold and every single time I talk to Mom, we go over this one again. Before bed slather on a decent amount of Vicks® VapoRub or equivalent on the bottom of your feet. Put on heavy socks. Go to bed.
    • Rating: Just for Shits & Giggles, I’ll keep trying it because Mom says so, but I normally wake up with a cough and sticky, jelly socks.
  • Grandma’s hot toddy recipe – Directly before bed, take an 8 oz tumbler and fill it halfway with whiskey (not the good stuff), add 3 TB sugar, lemon juice and then fill it the rest of the way with hot water. Slam it in one fell swoop. Jump into bed with three extra blankets on top. Sleep.
    • Rating: Meh/Sorta, this one kind of does the trick b/c you’re wasted. But somehow it didn’t actually stop my cough, so I was hacking and wasted. Plus, I woke up at 2am and already had a hangover, so I had to drink a pile of water and take an aspirin. Then I had to get up and use the toilet. So with slight modifications, this one might work.


  • Oil of Oregano: Colds are generally a bonding activity. We all have them, we all have tricks. Janice from Vermont said I should do this one. It took me a while to find. I tried it. Wafts of Italy drifted up from deep inside all day. But with more minor colds it was somewhat effective, I think. With my current cold it did nothing.
    • Rating: Just for Shits & Giggles/Sorta
  • Olive Leaf: See wafts of Italy above.
    • Rating: Just for Shits & Giggles
  • Fenugreek/Thyme: See wafts of Italy above. But Thyme tea is actually pretty effective for chest issues.
    • Rating: Sorta
  • Yin Chao: A Chinese herbal mix that’s supposed to do something. If you let the pills linger in your mouth with water, it’s kind of sugary, which is cool.
    • Rating: Meh


  • Mucinex: Besides a horrible name – though appropriate – this is largely an excuse to ingest a bunch of stuff with difficult to pronounce names that couldn’t do shit against this cold.
    • Rating: Just for Shits and GigglesI have yet to have Mucinex have any effect on anything I have ever had. If there is any effect, it’s mostly that weird druggy, unnatural dried out thing where you kind of feel worse because it does one thing good, but is that feeling any better than being sick? I’m not sure.
  • Sudafed: – On Day 9, my friend Theo shared his sworn-by remedy and slipped me a 500mg tablet of Sudafed while at work. Just take it and keep taking it to dry things out while giving your body a chance to do it’s recovery thing.
    • Rating: SortaTheo’s right. It did take away some of the sinus pressure and reduced the volume of snot coming out. But I also had that feeling that there was some dried up diseasy stuff in my sinuses that was just rattling around and being gross instead of going away.
  • NyQuil: The old standby has nothing on this cold. I just ended up with a dry draft house up in sinus town, a hoarse cough and no sleep.
    • Rating: MehI remember about how cool NyQuil was when I was younger. But at this point, I’d take the hot toddy instead and skip all of the druggy crap here.
  • Anti-Freaking-Biotics (Augmentin): After nearly three weeks with a cough, a tired wife and a sleepy child, I finally went to the doctor. While everything sounded normal, my sinuses seemed weezy and infection-y so he prescribed this stuff.
    • RatingSortait’s tough to tell if the stupid cold was just finally running its course or if this knocked it out. I’m prone to think the former, but don’t want to underestimate the latter. Either way, boosting my yogurt intake for the time being.

So that’s about all I got through. I’m getting tired of this post. What do you get up to when you get a stubborn cold that just won’t quit?



One thought on “Hello, I have a Cold: A Guide to Remedies

  1. My remedies that I find really, really work:
    1. Kick-Ass Immune (Boulder, CO: Wish Garden Herbs): Take at first symptoms.

    2. In hot water, preferably large mug (16 oz is awesome): lemon juice (juice of at least 1/2 one lemon, if not more); tbsp. of honey; finely chopped ginger–at least tsp.–and 1/2 tsp. oregano in infuser at start to steep for several minutes–remove before drinking; 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper ground… THE TRICK is to drink this again and again throughout the day… I could breathe, my sinusy-cold got shot down in 2-3 days.

    On a regular basis in the fall and winter, I also ingest at least a tsp. or more per day of black elderberry syrup (Sambucus is a great brand) for maintenance and drink apple cider vinegar daily. I deal with the public daily with my work; for 14 years I taught college-level writing (one sick day in all of those years!); and for years I was a nanny, which included taking care of sick kids and taking them to the doctor. I am rarely ill.

    Thanks, Kyle! And for the Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Put it on your chest and neck and wrap your neck/chest with a scarf–seems to help somewhat. And sleep with a vaporizer next to you….

    Hugs! Colds-be-gone!

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