Friday, December 22, 2006

Message smuggled from quarantine

We're all getting over our Hanukah illnesses in time for Christmas, hopefully. I haven't bothered updating my workout log this week in the right sidebar. It's all zeroes, in case you're wondering, although I plan to swim today.

It sure would be nice to avoid all these colds and sniffles and coughs, but I think they're inevitable with a kid in preschool.

Ellie and my training buddy David are both urging me to take Airborne. I say show me the evidence. Yes, that's non-anecdotal. I'd get my Skeptic Credentials revoked if I bought some of that.

Zinc nasal spray has too many cases of loss of ability to smell associated with it. Too risky.

Zinc lozenges have slightly more research behind them, but the results are still quite equivocal. They mess with your taste buds and you have to take them every two hours, starting at the first set of symptoms. It's always too late for me to run to the store when I figure out I'm coming down with a cold, it seems.

Even Sudafed (pseudoephedrine hydrochloride) is hard to come by these days, unless you go straight to the pharmacist for it.

I'm pretty sure that eggnog and rum works best, though. Or hot tea and whiskey. And our humidifier. And quarantining the entire premises. I'll stick to those approaches for now. It's a damn hassle putting up that concertina wire around the perimeter, though.

What do you use as your time-tested home remedy?

24 comments:

Iron Pol said...

I have to agree. However, most people who have a "silver bullet" usually do so for a reason.

My mom and sister both swear by Airborne. Scientific research, not really. Personal experience, tons. Both had significant issues, especially with upper respiratory infections, until they started using it. Few to none since.

Personally, I swear by Cold-Eze, but only when OTHERS have a cold. I don't know if it works, or if I'm just lucky. Could be either, but I very rarely get colds, even when the rest of the office or family is down hard.

And pitchers in baseball won't change their underwear if they're on a winning streak. Because it helps...

GeekGirl said...

I used to get constant, back-to-back colds since I work in a school, culminating in an annual case of laryngitist, and my family would get them from me. Since I started running, I stopped getting them. Don't know why. One theory is that running raises your core temperature, somewhat like a fever, which wipes out the little nasties. Another theory is that it strengthens your immune system. Whatever. We're all cold-free, and that's a blessing.

stronger said...

I started coming down with the kids' cold a couple of weeks ago and my FedEx delivery man told me to take Zicam. He said it is supposed to shorten the duration of a cold down to 3-5 days. I aksed my dad about it (pharmacist) and he said a lot of people swear by it. I felt the symptoms on Sunday and took the Zicam Monday night and by Thursday there was no sign of a cold.

TriGirl 40 said...

I have to say, I am not one to usually believe the hype either, but two times that I was on my way to major bronchitis - I took Airborne - and both times, the cold/flu/whatever subsided pretty quickly. Wishing you and your family a great (and healthy) holiday, Nancy!

Flo said...

I've used Airborne as a preventitive, when I'm flying, in crowded places, etc.

Once I feel the cold coming on it's Zicam. I don't know if it really works or I'm just convinced it's going to work, but it works!!!

The good news is this colds and kids really only lasts till their about 8-10, so that's something to look forward to.

21st Century Mom said...

I swear by Airborne if you take it when you first feel a cold coming on. Once I have symptoms it's too late. It is a conglomeration of every holisitic cold remedy in the book and it works! Emergen-C also works pretty well but again, you have to take when you feel that first itch in your nose or it doesn't work. So there's your evidence! It works for me, ergo, it works.

I'm not surprised about the zinc research. I did my senior thesis on olfaction and there was a case of a guy who smelled the smell of garbage constantly. Turned out he was zinc deficient and when he got some zinc back in his diet the problem resolved to a degree. That is the opposite of loss of your sense of smell but the point is that zinc and olfaction are somehow linked.

nancytoby said...

Well, Airborne isn't entirely holistic. The blurb on wikipedia is worth reading - I find the megadoses of some vitamins quite worrisome, personally.

Fe-lady said...

Take advice from a teacher, who works with preschoolers AND special ed. kids (who pick their noses and eat the findings, then want to hold your hand!)- Airbourne has saved me a couple of times this year when I have felt under the weather...(knock on wood)- But then, I have an immune system built up after 33 years in the public schools that is stronger than the Great Wall of China! :-)
Try it tho...it can't hurt. Just vitamin overload and most of it is excreted in urine anyway. Maybe it's the placebo effect, but who cares if I am NOT sick!?

nancytoby said...

OK, my question to all you advocates of Airborne is this: if it's so darned effective, why isn't there any actual research substantiating its efficacy? Why did they take all references to colds off the packaging? Especially since it's "one of the fastest selling health products in retail history" they should have plenty of funding for clinical trials, right?

nancytoby said...

Here's a great Airborne article, if anyone is interested:

http://oracknows.blogspot.com/2006/01/airborne-created-by-schoolteacher-so.html

GeekGirl said...

I'm huge on the research aspect of things, that's why I haven't tried anything even though it was invented by a teacher like myself. I want double-blind, clinical trials. I also follow the advice of my family dr., who's a standard GP. I won't use herbs or crystals or needles to cure my ills, just exercise, rest, occasional meds and a good diet, and that's why the other Vegans won't let me play with them.

nancytoby said...

Awww, they don't let you play their reindeer games?? :-(

GeekGirl said...

He's talking a bit (in that article you gave us) about subjective validation - to a degree, we'll look for patterns and connections in events to validate what we already believe. Here's another article:
http://www.ncahf.org/digest05/05-04.html#airborne

GeekGirl said...

and to your question, no. Apparently there's not enough hemp in my wardrobe to join in. :-))

nancytoby said...

I'm pretty sure I don't want anything called "schizonepeta" inside my body, anyway....

Al said...

I have not found an effective way of prevention other than to wash my hands very frequently, which is difficult to do when dealing with pre schoolers.

When I do have a cold, I go for sympathy and chicken soup - don't know if it helps but I like it.

I also keep running because running helps me breath better and clears me out, at least for the time I am running. It seems to make me feel better too.

Spokane Al said...

P.S. The previous post was me. I don't know why I was logged in as just Al - new blogger issues I suspect.

Comm's said...

Men's health just did a blurb on airborne vs. coldeze vs. zicam

Go to www.menshealth.com and in the search box type 'down cold' and follow the link. Very short article.

I read a similar article by a different study with the same conclusions in another magazine but couldn't find the link online.

Coldeze and Zicam. Never trusted echanisa or however you spell it.

BTW from my understanding it takes 3 weeks for Vitamin C to build up your immune systems so start taking it now and not then.

runr53 said...

salt water gargle when that tickle starts in the throat, be sure you do it real warm and let a tad bit drizzle down the throat just before bed! Run Good!

Downhillnut said...

I like Cold Eeze, and have had success with them even without consistently taking them every 2 hours. Keep a stash somewhere for when you need them.

There's nothing like a good hit of Hot Lemon Brandy to help ease cold symptoms, too. Into a mug put 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp honey (generous if desired), 1 oz (liberally measured) of medicinal brandy (ALL brandy is medicinal) and then fill the mug with hot water. Most effective when drunk in or near bed.

Wendy said...

For general declogging: ginger tea, carrot apple ginger juice (fresh), hot and sour soup, tea with lemon (my doctor always says and honey, but I find that way too sweet) and Fisherman's Friend losenges.

nancytoby said...

Oooh, hot and sour soup! Never thought of that! I wonder if I can find it in cans about here....

Wendy said...

Nancy, I am lucky to have a Bejing/Szechuan style restaurant around the corner, but I did find a Thai product at the grocery store that is "instant hot and sour soup paste". Boil water and add paste, mushrooms, etc. I confess, though, it is still in the cupboard ...

Ellie said...

Ah, at last I feel compelled to rise to the challenge:

Having succumbed to this Hannukah-Christmas cold..... neither do you have your own anecdotal, empirical evidence of what might have been if you HAD taken Airborne at the first symptoms :-)

If I tell you the crabcakes at a particular restaurant are the best I've found to date (and you know about my search for the ultimate crabcake), are you going to request the recipe from the chef, as well as his culinary-education credentials, before you go try the crabcakes?

Try Airborne next time. Hopefully there won't be a next time :-)And no, I'm not a doctor, nor did I sleep at the Super 8 last night, nor do I have any vested interest in whatever company puts out Airborne :-)