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The cold that's going around

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Yesterday at work, my new manager mentioned that some of her family members seemed to be getting the cold I've had for the past couple weeks. I said I guessed that made me an early adopter. She said I had beta-tested it.

It's beginning to sound like everyone's getting it now. So I figured I'd toss in a couple of thoughts about it:

The main symptoms for me have been sore throat and exhaustion. I felt bad about missing work on account of a sore throat—it seems like such a minor thing—but it was the exhaustion that really did me in.

And a lot of that was because I wasn't getting much sleep; I think I was hovering around four hours a night.

Eventually, I remembered the phrase “post-nasal drip.” It hadn't quite occurred to me sooner because (a) it never does (sore throats don't feel to me like they have anything to do with my nose); (b) my nose wasn't running; and (c) my brain wasn't working (see earlier re exhaustion).

But around the fourth or fifth time that I woke up feeling like I was choking, it occurred to me that if I could temporarily dry up whatever it was that was dripping into the back of my throat, I could get some sleep, and that would probably improve everything.

So I finally threw NyQuil at the problem. Usually that would've happened sooner, but I've gotten used to thinking of NyQuil as a sleeping drug rather than a cold medication, and for me it loses its effectiveness for sleep after one or two consecutive days, so I try to use it only when I really need it for sleeping.

But each of the last four or so nights, I've taken one NyQuil “liquicap” just before going to sleep, and I've gone to sleep easily and slept pretty well for six to eight hours. It doesn't seem to be having its usual effect of knocking me out and giving me four hours of very restful sleep, but whatever it's doing is working. I don't know for sure that it's drying things up and preventing dripping, but that explanation would fit with the available evidence.

My throat's still sore (two weeks and counting), but not nearly as much so as before. Now it's more an occasional cough than anything else.

I tried various other things along the way, but none of them helped. Drixoral cold & allergy had no effect at all. Benedryl also didn't seem to do much. Nasal irrigation seemed like it might've helped, except that it revealed that I had a bloody nose (in one nostril, anyway), so continuing to do it seemed contraindicated. Cough drops help, but only very briefly. Camomile tea with lots of honey didn't seem to do anything, bad or good. Odwalla orange juice, oddly, felt kind of soothing on my throat, so I drank a lot of it. I haven't tried various nasal sprays and such that I have around the house from my last serious cold a couple years ago.

A couple of people have asked if I've seen a doctor. I haven't. I used to get colds every fall, and they would sometimes last ten weeks; eventually I would get so sick of them that I would go to a doctor, and I would wait a long time in urgent care and then finally see a doctor, who after two minutes' examination would tell me, “You have a cold. Drink fluids and rest.” And that would cost a hundred dollars or so, and I would feel like I'd been being a hypochondriac.

So these days when I get a cold, I just try to keep hydrated and rested, and figure I'll get over it sooner or later.

(Side note about duration: is it just me who gets colds that last for weeks? I don't get sick often, but when I do, it lingers. I figured everyone got long-lasting colds, but some people seem to get alarmed when I talk about a cold lasting for two weeks.)

Anyway. I don't have any wise advice or panaceas for this thing; mostly I wanted to (a) express sympathy to everyone who's been coming down with it, and (b) mention that, at least for me, NyQuil has been indirectly helping a lot with the sleep, which makes the rest of it much more bearable.

(With the amount of shilling I do for NyQuil, they oughtta pay me. Except then I couldn't mention that liquicaps seem potentially dangerous to me—several times, one has gotten stuck in my throat when I try to swallow it. Lately I've started holding them in my mouth for a while to soften them up first, and that seems to help, though it can reveal the extremely bitter taste of the liquid inside. . . . You may be asking why I don't just use NyQuil in its liquid form instead; it's because in my experience, the liquid is entirely ineffective in making me sleep. I have no idea why that would be, but it's been consistently true.)

11 Comments

Sounds like what I've been fighting off, though in my case the post-nasal drip turned into a sinus infection with a fever that had to be treated with antibiotics. (Hubby got the same drip sans infection.) But it's going on four weeks now and I'm still blowing my nose, though I'm not "cold-ish" per se.

But I remember that from junior high and high school, that it always seemed like once my nose started running, it was going to be months before it stopped. :( I don't know if that's the 10-week cold you're talking about...


These days I usually have stuff that lasts 2-4 weeks, which according to the posters in the doctor's offices is normal, if on the high end. To make it worse, over the last few years doctors invented a new thing, the "cold allergy" which basically means when you get over a cold, your body generates the symptoms for another couple of weeks after the cold proper is over. Personally I don't know if I believe that that is a real thing, I think I just get longer colds. :-)

But 10 weeks is a bit odd--I think that happened once, where I caught one cold then immediately caught another, then got a "cold allergy" (first time I heard about it) all in a row with no breaks.

Yeah, 10 weeks seems a bit long, actually.

As for the choking you mentioned, I just got over *that* cold. It took a lot of anit-histamine to get to the point I could sleep without waking up due to the post-nasal drip. Ugh.

Feel better!


Mine are regularly weeks to months. Sigh. I just figure I have a weak constitution. I'd never survive in a D&D world.


Dear Jed,
Out here in the great Midwest we call winter colds snotcloggers. Okay I made that up. I’m getting pretty good at making up compound words! Which is the subject of this week’s tirade about poor editing.
Best,
Sam

Blood, Blood
by Abbey Mei Otis

Dear Karen,

Being a grammar hierophant of the first order, I was shocked—shocked I tell you—to find that school work, is one word—schoolwork. Like homework or busywork.

I don’t expect you to change anything, knowing that the editorial process at Strange Horizons is foolproof. Damned tricky compound works are everywhere though! Please believe me when I say I don’t mind if you decide not to make any corrections. However, bathrobed and anchoredness are madeup words—like the word I just madeup. I too want a literary license to make up words in my makeup world (circle one). This whole thing may be or maybe over your head (circle one). I promised myself that I was not going to write you anymore or any more (circle one) but, well it’s so much fun. This story may’ve or might’ve (circle one) reached a new low in literary grammar circles.

If I were you, I’d hire a compound word proof reader or proofreader. And might even buy a dictionary, cause or because (circle one) like you, I have a lot of good ideas, but I can’t spell’em.

P.S. you might substitute the word robed for bathrobed. Be careful not to put two bb’s in the word (robbed) or the word becomes something completely different. Words are funny that way. I don’t know what you can do about anchoredness???


Just came down with the "cold that's going around." Must have picked up the germs on Saturday or Sunday because my friend and I ate out, 2 different times during the weekend. My friend came down with it on Tuesday and I started getting "it" on Wednesday:. Non stop Runny nose in the evening was the first symptom and an hour's session of sneezing, A little bit of non productive coughing that night, like a tickle in the throat. Thursday: Woke with runny nose, I took chewable vitamin C and chewable Echinacea every 4 hours, and Sudafed x2 which helped keep the runny nose at bay. Took cough medicine at bedtime and in the middle of the night. Woke today, Friday: with headache (which I seldom get) and feeling limp. Out of denial and into surrender, i'll remain in bed and on course with Sudafed, Echinacea, Vitamin C and chicken soup, it's true, study has shown it has healing enzymes. Had to cancel all weekend activities as I don't want to pass this on to anyone. My friend got relief from the Nettie Pot and warm salt water. We're both coughing and days 3 & 4 with runny noses.


textjunkie: :( on sinus infection. I hope you're both doing better by now.

Mine is still lingering slightly, but only a little bit; have even been able to sleep without drugs the past couple nights.

it always seemed like once my nose started running, it was going to be months before it stopped

Yeah, I think that's the kind of thing I mean about ten-week colds. I now wish I had kept better records of those times; it's been a few years, and I'm not remembering details, but I'm almost certain that I counted once and the cold I had at the time had actually lasted for ten weeks.


allogenes: Thanks for the info about the doctor's-office posters; I thought I had read something like that at some point, but wasn't certain, and hadn't taken the time to go look it up again.

Somehow I think there's an idea in some of my circles that a cold tends to last about one to five days and then it's over. I guess I've had that happen now and then, but I don't think it's happened very often.

Interesting re "cold allergy." Now I'm curious whether that really happens.

I think that happened once, where I caught one cold then immediately caught another

How could you tell it was a different one?

Glad you're over this most recent one. I get the impression a bunch of people are just starting it. :(


Mary Anne: But in D&D world, you'd be a magic user, and you could ask the party's cleric to cast Cure Light Colds or something. :)

(Come to think of it, I don't recall the subject of colds ever coming up in D&D games. There were injuries and there were plagues, but just regular viruses that make people a little sick? I also don't remember anyone having to deal with things like cholera outbreaks from unclean drinking water. Maybe the gods don't like germs and have wiped them all out.)


California Marge: Sympathies. Hope you feel better soon!


Great!! Thanks for sharing


The comment from "Truthful Press" is obviously robospam, but I was amused by it in the context of talking about a cold, so I decided to allow it. You're welcome, Truthful Press! I'll share my cold with you anytime!


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