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January 24, 2009

Take Six Water Glasses of Gin….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Twistie @ 1:35 pm

It’s been a long, phlegmy week here at Casa Twistie. We’ve all been down with the creeping cruds (all except the cat, damn him for being healthy and wanting to play when I would cheerfully give all I own for one night of sleep sans congestion). And so it is that I’ve been remembering my father’s sage advice for colds: take six water glasses of gin, and you’ll feel better in the morning.

I’ve suspected all along (no, I have not actually tried this advice) that it doesn’t quite work that way. It seems to me that alcohol poisoning probably doesn’t feel better than the average cold. Besides, I never saw him try it, which was a dead giveaway to me.

Still, it’s been six days and I’m still blowing in the Kleenex to a fearful extent. I’ve downed more licorice tea than I can shake a stick at, I’ve drunk obscene amounts of orange juice, and I’ve had so much chicken soup that the local poultry farms are beginning to speak of me in hushed tones to bad little eggs to make them behave.

If anyone out there has a good idea that doesn’t include scary amounts of booze, I’d be forever in their debt.

Red, chapped noses are not superfantastic.



  1. Take one teapot. Slice up a chunk of ginger and throw it into the teapot. Follow with the juice of one lemon, and zest from said lemon. Add two tablespoons of honey. Cover in boiling water. Allow to steep for 10 minutes before you drink. Repeat as needed.

    Comment by meloukhia — January 24, 2009 @ 1:48 pm

  2. In two cups of water boil one or two cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of thyme, oregano, or rosemary (thyme’s better), and a tablespoon of salt. Lots of black pepper or a dried red pepper (the little Korean ones) are optional. Let boil for at least five minutes.

    Strain into a soup bowl with a beaten egg in it. If you’re congested, I would recommend against adding grated romano or parmesan. Once you’ve achieved your Italian egg drop soup, add a tablespoon of olive oil.

    It soothes the throat. The garlic and herbs all have anti- bacterial, viral, and fungal qualities.

    Comment by Fabrisse — January 24, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

  3. Nyquil? At least for sleeping, I find it’s the best thing when I’m sick. Good luck!

    Comment by emily — January 24, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

  4. If you want to go the medicinal route, nothing works better for me than a steaming cup of TheraFlu. I swear by that stuff and everyone I’ve ever recommended it to has thanked me. It doesn’t taste great, but it’s certainly not undrinkable, and it WORKS.

    I hope you feel better soon!

    Comment by Cat — January 24, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  5. I’m a big fan of NeoCitran, which is similar to TheraFlu. Question though: is the congestion in your chest, or in your head?

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — January 24, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

  6. The ginger fix is the way to go. If you’ve got any Asian markets near you, they should sell a sort of ginger tea concentrate that looks like a big jar of jam. Drink it until you can’t drink no more.

    Comment by Plumcake — January 24, 2009 @ 4:40 pm

  7. Here’s how to clear your nose: “Forget Sudafed. An easier, quicker, and cheaper way to relieve sinus pressure is by alternately thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you’ll feel your sinuses start to drain.”

    Here’s another method via holding your breath:

    Comment by Kat — January 24, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

  8. My doc recommended pseudoephedrine (original Sudafed, not PE), Guafenesin (Mucinex or Tussin), and a decongesting nasal spray, preferably prescription strength, like Nasonex or Flonase.

    Guafenesin will loosen up the mucus. The pseudoephedrine will shrink your membranes and allow drainage. The spray will help you breathe during this process. This probably won’t get rid of all your symptoms but it will help keep the infection from spreading to your chest or the nice moist insulation your body provides during congestion causing a secondary infection.

    She actually told me antihistamines (Benadryl, NyQuil) probably won’t do any good. You can take it, sure, and it’ll help you sleep, but it’s not a substitute for the other 3 drugs.

    Research is now suggesting honey is the best remedy for a sore throat. Tea with honey and lemon always makes me feel better. And Tylenol or Aleve usually knocks out any associated pains.

    So yeah… now I sound like medical spam, huh?

    Comment by Jennifer Hiller — January 24, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

  9. You have ALL my sympathy – I was in the exact same boat this last week – phlegmy, congested, coughing up a storm and pretty miserable.

    I dont have any medicinal advice to add, EXCEPT that you really might consider going out and getting those “lotion/aloe” tissues to replace the normal kind – I’ve been using Kleenex, but Puffs does a version as well. I’m completely not kidding. They’ve been a life saver on my poor battered nose (honest to God, I’ve gone through a box and a half in 6 days).

    Comment by Kathy — January 24, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

  10. The ginger advice is right on. Ginger will clear you right out, especially while you’re waiting for the Sudafed to kick in. Lemon and honey are good for the throat. Also, if there’s a Vietnamese restaurant near you, get a big ol’ bowl of pho. I swear that stuff cures anything.

    Comment by Tiff — January 24, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  11. Claritin-D, as in damsel in distress. Totally different animal than plain old Claritin. Much more effective for me than Mucinex, sudafed, etc. I’ve recommended it widely and everyone is always extremely grateful. And yes, ginger and vitamin-c to aid the cure as opposed to fix the symptoms.

    Comment by rosa — January 24, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

  12. Geez, Kat, that works. It feels odder than all get-out, but it *works*.
    Oh, and I’ll second ginger, honey and lemon, and if you’re sick to death of chicken soup, good, rich egg-drop soup works as well.

    Comment by rabrab — January 25, 2009 @ 10:52 am

  13. One more thing to try: nasal irrigation.

    Essentially, you’re using a saline solution (the right solution of salt water is what won’t irritate your sinuses, because it’s the same salinity as your body fluids) to flush out all the excess mucus from your nasal passages and sinuses. It’s not the most comfortable thing — not painful, but not fun either — but in my experience, it gets a whole lot of the gunk out, all at once, and the feeling afterward is lovely.

    You can use a bulb syringe like in the video, or a neti-pot, or a squeezable sports bottle, which is what I use. They also sell kits for this at drugstores, with what looks like a squeezy ketchup bottle and little packets with the right mixture of stuff in them, so you get the right proportions. They’re not absolutely necessary, though. It also helps if you close your epiglottis (by making the motion you use to make a “g” sound), so that the saline won’t go down your throat. It doesn’t hurt anything, but it’s kind of a gross feeling.

    After you’ve used all the saline, wait a few moments and let the last drops drain out of your nose, and then blow your nose.

    Comment by Emily — January 25, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

  14. Well, you can try all those other things, but the things that work for me run closer to your dad’s cure. Either a mug of hot tea in one hand and a snifter of blackberry brandy in the other and alternate sips until your congestion clears or you don’t care any longer (also a sovereign remedy for menstrual cramps) OR combine a shot of bourbon, a dollop of honey, a pinch of cinammon, a wedge of lemon in a mug and fill to the brim with boiling water. Yup. The hot toddy will soothe your throat, open your sinuses AND help you sleep like a top. (And they taste better than that Thera Flu stuff, too.)

    Comment by Omn ibus Driver — January 25, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  15. I second the sudafed, go to the pharmacist’s counter and give them your driver’s license. In return you get some good decongestant and the warning not to buy too much in a 3 month period.
    Gross as the thought is (well, to me), cloth hankies help tons for raw noses.

    Comment by gloria — January 25, 2009 @ 10:20 pm

  16. For the red-red nose – Kleenex/Vicks with Aloe.
    These are magical tissues that I always buy when I have the sniffles.
    I get them as the local CVS.

    And on the herbal side – Elderberry Syrup.
    Hard to find, but a folk remedy for over a thousand years.
    You can put it in tea or yogurt or on top of baked goods.

    Good luck.

    Comment by jojo — January 27, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

  17. I also highly recommend a long, hot shower with one of those weird Vicks shower pucks, followed up by fuzzy pjs and a steaming bowl of pho.

    Comment by Siege — January 27, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  18. I’m with Omnibus on the hot toddy. Its not about scary amounts of alcohol. Its about a solid shot of bourbon or brandy in hot water with lemon and honey. The hot water balances out the dehydrating powers of the alcohol.

    And Airbourne tablet, although that seems to work better when you just start to feel yourself getting sick. Is it a placebo effect? Probably. Do I care? No.

    Comment by Cedar — January 27, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

  19. Put on your warmest pyjamas. The Irish solution to this is to burn it out. Boil a full kettle. Fill your hot water bottle and put it in your bed with loads of blankets over it. Return to the kitchen and put a shot of whiskey in a glass, with a metal spoon. Add a teaspoon of whiskey, three cloves, and a slices of lemon. Top up with boiling water. Take yourself and the hot whiskey to bed. Drink, sleep. Overnight you’ll sweat out the cold, and feel a lot better in the morning.

    I don’t know why it works, but it does.

    Comment by Margaret — February 3, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

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