Stuffed: Dealing with a Bad Cold

Saddled with a Cold? What to do…

Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

I would have written sooner but I wasn’t feeling up to it. I have a bad cold.

Of course, it didn’t start out that way—my husband had a cold and I was fine. Like any skilled cold avoider, I was pistol packing Lysol in one hand and Fabreeze in the other, spraying everything in sight—doorknobs, sheets…my husband. But I didn’t stop there- I was taking the awful tasting GrapeFruit Seed Extract, some green powdered amalgam called Green Vibrance, taking lots of vitamins, and drinking juice—which I don’t typically do. So how could I possibly have gotten sick, you ask? Well, it would have been a mystery to me to if I hadn’t woken up in the middle of the night with my husband’s face breathing infected air nearly directly into my nasal passage ways as his head was only an inch and ½ from mine. So much for the Lysol.

Back to Sneezin’ Season!

Cold Symptoms

  • Usually develop 2-5 days after exposed to someone else who kindly shared their cold with you. (My husband got the cold on Friday and I got it on Monday…yup, it was him.)
  • May include: Fever, runny or stuffy nose (yes to both), sneezing (yes), sore throat (at times), cough (yup), headache (yes to that too), and muscle aches (certainly!).
  • Mucus: Likely starts off clear then turns green or yellow after 2-3 days (let’s not even go there).
  • Symptoms usually get worse over the first 3-5 days and then slowly disappear over the next 10-14 days. (What ever happened to only 7 days?)

Treating a Cold

  • I always went for homemade chicken noodle soup—which I made last week for my husband but pretty much ran out by the time I got his cold.
  • It’s not a bacterial infection, so antibiotics won’t work. Taking them is pointless unless you or your child has an ear or sinus infection.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you or your child: Take in extra fluids, use a cold humidifier, and rest a lot—well, if you can—which most of you probably can’t…but we can dream, can’t we?
  • You may want to get a bulb syringe or saline nasal drops to clear nasal passageways for young kids who don’t “get” the whole idea of blowing their nose yet.
  • Some say that  over-the-counter meds might help ease symptoms like fever, congestion, and cough. However, the FDA says that these medications don’t work for children under 6 and more studies are needed to be certain of their effects. There is also concern that it’s easy to give your children an overdose of cold medications. While there has been a public outcry about overdosing, it’s still happening.
  • Zinc lozenges should not be used by children because they’re not often tolerated well and haven’t been shown to be helpful in children.
  • Some are turning to natural remedies like honey. I actually purchased a special kind of honey today, which is said to have many antibiotic and medicinal properties. Wish me luck!
  • Consult your pediatrician for more information for your child.

What are your cold remedies??? Please share!

Have a wonderful weekend-


8 Responses

  1. Great post Dr. Robyn,

    Try my late Great Grandma Smith’s cold remedy:
    (Keep in mind she was in her 80’s and I was in grammar school for these remedies)

    Hot tea with honey, lemon and…wait for it…whiskey!
    And then horehound drops before bed.

    Slept like a baby…oh wait I was. I was a baby sleeping because I was drunk! Heavens.

    Actually Granny had just made her own cold remedy, most OTC’s are alcohol based.

    Now, I just skip the honey and lemon crap and go for the whiskey!

  2. Ahhh. whiskey. Yes, that’s a trick that my husband told me about as well. Not a drinker myself– but I have no doubt it works if your Great Grandma used it!

    Thanks for sharing– I need all the help I can get!

    Dr. Robyn

  3. I also use Dr. Marks’ remedy…no whiskey though…maybe we should start trying that 😉

    I also ramp up the Vitamin C intake during the sick season. We all chew the chewable tablets that taste like Tart-n-Tinies (except for our 19 month old). From what I know about Vitamin C is that the excess is “released” from your body and not stored up.

  4. Alright– more vitamin C…more tea…more “whiskey?”

    I thank you for the info– still dealing with the cold but hoping that I’m on the upswing soon!

    Dr. Robyn

  5. Hey Dr. Robyn how about one more home remedy from South of the Border (at least South of MY border)…try eating hot salsa!

    Salsa has some ingredients that act as natural antibiotics and by turning up the heat and opening up mucous membranes it can help you drain out the evil that is causing your cold.


    Dr Marks

  6. Hot Salsa? I do like spicy food– I wonder if wasabi would do the same thing? Had some last night. I’m really ready to shake this cold!

    Dr. Robyn

  7. Er…do you mean that antibiotics won’t work because it IS a virus (as opposed to a bacteria)?

    Sleep helps for me–but between a plugged nose and kids who are also sick and therefore awake, it usually doesn’t happen.

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