Have you ever been just fine on one night, and woke up with a sore throat so bad you wished you were never born? That happened once. For example, on the evening of Friday, May 3, 1974, I was the energetic, silly little eight year old kid who wanted to go outside. It was Friday. I had the weekend to be free, not to have to worry about boardwork, reading groups, or anything remotely connected to Miss Green’s second grade class–so I thought.
But on Saturday morning, May 4–the day of a wedding I had looked so forward to going to–bam! I found myself with that all-too-familiar sore feeling right underneath my tongue. I was sniffly–and clearly not feeling well. That night my mom decided I was so sick I was not fit to go to that wedding. I broke down and cried, and my mom commiserated with me. She didn’t punish me for crying, I think she really felt bad for me.
But that is how quick this thing, this annoying little bug called the common cold can hit. One minute you’re fine, and the next minute you are barking like a dog.
You cannot always avoid the common cold altogether, but you certainly can take steps to lessen your chances of getting one, and keeping one.
First, I can’t stress it enough. Take a strong multivitamin. Make sure your multivitamin includes Vitamin C. It builds your body’s natural defenses. It builds up the immune system so as not to be so sensitive to such bugs. So that if someone were to cough directly on you without covering their mouth–you won’t end up coughing too.
The second thing I can recommend is wash your hands. This is especially true of teachers, or anyone who makes his or her living around kids. We love them, but they are germy. Wash your hands every time you even think about it, but especially after you’ve touched money, a doorknob, a musical instrument, a TV, or any part of your body, especially your eyes, nose, mouth, or private areas. Of course I don’t have to tell you to wash your hands following that trip to the bathroom!
Third, be sure to wrap up very well. The winter of 2008-2009 will probably be one of the roughest on record, so wrap up. Dress in layers. Have a hat, a suitable winter coat, and gloves. It does make a difference.
Along similar lines–don’t leave the house so soon after a shower, or after having washed your hair. Germs are in the air, and your pores are still open, allowing elements in the air to seep in, and begin to affect you. In wintertime, I would recommend you shower the night before. This will give you time for your pores to close.
The fifth thing would be to make sure your bedroom is free of any drafts. That is how I caught the majority of colds while in college. I mean, when I first started grad school at Western Michigan University in the fall of 1991, I caught a cold the night of September 25, a Wednesday. It was the first night in awhile the temperature flirted with forty. I come back to my room, and danggonit, my roommate has the fan running, with the window open. I laid under that fan, and, sure enough, the next day, I was NOT feeling well. It was a really bad cold too. I remember not feeling very well that Saturday as I moved out of that room (I had requested what was called a temporary single. I didn’t want the likes of the roommate I had–was his name Todd? I don’t remember–again.). Until this day, I try not to sleep under drafts, open windows in the winter, and so on.
BUT WHAT IF I GET SICK?
Good question, and so glad you asked. Rest in bed, drink plenty of liquids. Be sure to take cold medicine, not only to relieve the symptoms, but to ensure you get the proper rest. Rest is a powerful force against colds. Take NyQuil. Take lots of Vitamin C, and drink plenty of orange juice–a good source of Vitamin C–and water. Some Halls will help with the cough and sore throat.
Remember also to cover your mouth when you cough. Coughing spreads germs quicker than anything will. It’s true what the Delsyn commercial says, “When you cough, everybody suffers!” Well, it’s true. Cover your mouth, and be sure to cough AWAY from people.
Also remember that while you are sick, this is not the time to be cuddling with that little cutie of yours. That girlfriend (or boyfriend–or wife or husband) does not want to end up taking time off from work because you’ve infected him or her with your cold. So right now–no hugging, kissing, or cuddling up. Sleep on the couch; anything to protect your loved one.
Remember a cold lasts a week if you go to the doctor. It is seven days if you don’t. Remember that it is not a permanent illness, and that everyone gets colds from time to time. You can’t cure the common cold, but by using a little common sense, you can speed up your recovery and decrease the likelihood of a second cold.