Home > Uncategorized > The Dreaded Cold.

The Dreaded Cold.

As I write this post, I feel a slight tickle in the back of my throat as I swallow. The dreaded cold, is it coming? For one month, I have so consciously resisted the virus that has plagued what seems like everyone around me. Taking a daily multivitamin, eating as healthy as possible, and washing my hands multiple times a day are among my efforts to stay germ free. Despite my many precautions, when I woke this morning with a stuffy nose and that sand paper feeling in my throat, a wave of dismay fell over me. After complaining to my roommate about my upcoming sorority retreat and midterm, she suggested I try zinc lozenges to prevent and/or shorten my looming cold. For years, I had thought this remedy among others to be a complete hoax, but my roommate insisted I try one. Instead of opening my dresser drawer and reaching for the plethora of over-the-counters I had stockpiled for this exact reason, I decided to give it a shot. As I sucked on the cherry flavored tablet, I held the Whole Foods labeled bottle in my hand and thought about the topic for my essay, scientific myths and what we believe as the truth.

Defaulting to Google for some more information, I came upon this article. In short, it indicates that research has shown that zinc can potentially reduce the length of the common cold.  In no way are zinc supplements a proven remedy, but the WebMD article offers some interesting facts about zinc’s properties in fighting the common cold. While the label directs users to dissolve no more than one every four hours, I can’t help but wonder, is there such a thing as too much zinc? Taken every three to four hours, according to one physician, can reduce the length of the common cold by almost 50%, why wouldn’t I just dissolve half the bottle? Is zinc much more than a naturally occurring element? Much to my surprise, the article goes on to say there are indeed drawbacks of zinc overdose, some of which can be potentially fatal.

With this, I rethink my outlook on homeopathic remedies. While I default to Sudafed, Mucinex, and NyQuil, others rely solely on zinc, salt water gargles, and Vitamin C. Is there truth among the ancient pharmaceutical practices of billions of people across the globe? I guess I’ll find out as my cold progresses, but for now, hand over the kleenex.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. October 2, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    As someone frequently plagued by disease or infection of some sort, I too was urged by a friend to start taking zinc supplements a while back. Now I also thought it was more of that “hippie dippy granola-medicine” but upon research realized that the way zinc actually works is that it helps boost your immune system which makes your body more able to combat disease, both present and future. The thing that I found truly surprising however, was when the “hardcore” medicine I’ve always avoided made me even sicker just a week back.
    I’ve always been one to believe that the best thing you can do when you’re sick is just let your body handle it. After all, it knows what it’s doing. But after a few miserable days in class and a handful of missed deadlines, I decided it was time to buck up and just shoot back some cough syrup like an adult. For what felt like innumerable and miserable years, I was sleeping two hours a night, kept awake by coughing fits so violent that I was throwing up and stealing minutes of rest sitting on the bathroom floor. Jump forward one week, I’m sitting in the office of Dr. Souroush at Student Health Services who’s telling me that what started out as a simple case of sinusitis developed into some nasty bronchitis because I’d been swilling over-the-counter medicine all week long. A prescription of Biaxin antibiotics, some nasal steroid mist, a bronchial inhaler, and a bunch of plain Mucinex later, I’m feeling almost normal again but that’s the last time I trust the green goop to help me sleep through the night.

  2. October 3, 2011 at 3:00 am

    I am recently recovering from this viral bug that has been sweeping through campus, and I have some interesting finding to report on getting over the illness. For me, it started off with two days worth of headaches. My usual cure for a headache, at least the massive ones that I had, is 2 Alieve, 2 Tylenol and a can of regular Coca-cola. The Alieve works fast while the Tylenol kicks in and the sugar and caffeine from the Coca-cola give you a jolt to keep moving. But that didn’t help this time, so I knew was in for a rough ride!

    Next came the sore throat and the sniffing. I went through that for the last three days, not taking anything except a Mucinex, which didn’t do much. I finally went to Student Health Services to make sure it wasn’t something different than this bug, which is exactly what it turned out to be. And because it turned out to be a virus, there was nothing to do but wade it out.

    What finally helped get me over this sickness, was a combination of the most “revolutionary” and “state-of-the-art” remedies in history! What was this miracle cure? Sleep and water! Well, actually, it was A LOT of sleep and A LOT of water. Between Friday and Saturday I felt like utter garbage, but this morning I was good as new!

    So, what did I learn? While modern medicine is a wonder for most things, sometimes old problems, like the common cold, require old remedies. While we may push the boundaries of what we know to be science, see “Sub-atomic particles possibly break the speed of light – Einstein’s Relativity may be broken,” there is some science, like prescribing a good night’s sleep, that has proven to be a solid as rock (assuming you ignore tectonic plate shifts)!

  3. October 3, 2011 at 3:55 am

    Responding to your title: I am not excited about this temperature drop what so ever. Sure, hot and muggy isn’t great, but I find it much more preferable to freezing and shivering in the winter. Plus, I have yet to get to sick from being to hot, but it often happens when I am consistently cold.

    When I’m sick, I tend to just drink an incredible volume of water. In the past it usually works, and I’ve noticed my sick times decreasing. But during the last few weeks at GW, I have been struck by the “Thurston Cough”, and no matter how much water I drank, I did not get better for 3 miserable weeks.

    The only thing I could do was relieve my symptoms with over the counter medications. But I would have done nearly anything to shorten my time coughing and wheezing. The zinc idea seems interesting, and because I’m sure I’ll get sick again in the confined spaces of Thurston, I plan to try it as a remedy.

  4. October 3, 2011 at 4:49 am

    While my mother is a physician, my father is a huge fan of homeopathic remedies. As a product of both of them, I’ve become a fan of Zyrtec, Sudafed, Vitamin C, Garlic Tablets, and something called Oil of Oregano. When it comes to basic seasonal allergies, Zyrtec does the job. When the pollen count gets high, I combine with Sudafed. When it comes to the common cold, especially living in Thurston, I fall back on my witchcraft potions of Vitamin C, Garlic, and Oil of Oregano. While these smells may not be the most appealing to fellow residents of Thurston, they do just as good of a job fighting the germs as they do my friends. Like everything else, a balance and a mix of ideas usually yields the best results. For me, when I combine these remedies and take them daily my cold doesn’t stand a chance. I can say i’ve never tried zinc, however if Thurston throws an illness at me that my usual remedies cannot handle I think i will try zinc in moderation.

  5. ms
    October 16, 2011 at 3:18 am

    Over two weeks later, looking back on my sickness makes me even more proactive in my efforts to prevent myself from coming down with another virus. Reading the homepage of yahoo, I came across this article (http://health.yahoo.net/articles/flu/photos/9-ways-stay-sniffle-free#9) that highlights some simple ways to prevent a cold/the flu this coming winter. Keep them in mind as we battle the cold and mind your sniffles!

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