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I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 10:54 AM   #1
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I'm all stuffed up!

I have a bad cold. I rarely get colds. I wash my hands a lot. I remember getting one a couple of years ago. I just read most adults get a couple of colds a year. I used to have a secretary who I swear had them 4 or 5 times a year.

Anyway, I know that there is no cure. But anyone have any tips on making yourself feel a bit better? My bones hurt. My sinuses hurt. I am coughing. I won't tell you much about my nose, but it isn't pleasant. Poor me.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:05 AM   #2
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Just the normal stuff. Lots of warm lemonade (vitamin C). Frequent hot showers or baths. Stand up and walk frequently (alleviate sinus stuffing up).

And most importantly, pray Get well soon.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:07 AM   #3
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

I am convinced that Tylemol Cold and Flu was invented for my DNA.........I take some of those and I am good to go..........

Of course, my dad, the retired pharmacist, swears by Dimetapp and Triaminic Expectorant................
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:08 AM   #4
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
I have a bad cold....I know that there is no cure. But anyone have any tips on making yourself feel a bit better? My bones hurt. My sinuses hurt. I am coughing. I won't tell you much about my nose, but it isn't pleasant. Poor me.
From the commoncold.org website:

"Begin treatment at the earliest sign of a cold

Take a sustained-release first generation antihistamine such as chlorpheniramine, brompheniramine, or clemastine.

Also, at the same time, take a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or naproxen.

Continue with the antihistamine and NSAID treatment every 12 hours until cold symptoms clear (3-7 days).

Add an oral decongestant such as pseudoephedrine and a cough suppressant such as dextromethorphan if the antihistamine-NSAIDs treatment does not control nasal obstruction and cough.

If nasal symptoms, facial pressure, and cough are no better or worse after 7-10 days, consider contacting your physician to treat bacterial complications if necessary (see Complications of Colds)."
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:12 AM   #5
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Advil cold and sinus - really works for me. That and plenty of fluids are all you can really do
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:15 AM   #6
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
I have a bad cold. I

From UpToDate, an online medical text book I like... this is a patient information piece. I'd add that nasal saline solution can be surprisingly helpful.


Patient information: The common cold

Daniel J Sexton, MD
N Deborah Friedman, MD

UpToDate performs a continuous review of over 350 journals and other resources. Updates are added as important new information is published. The literature review for version 14.2 is current through April 2006; this topic was last changed on July 19, 2002. The next version of UpToDate (14.3) will be released in October 2006.
These materials are for your general information and are not a substitute for medical advice. You should contact your physician or other healthcare provider with any questions about your health, treatment, or care. Do not contact UpToDate or the physician authors of these materials.

INTRODUCTION — Common colds are the most frequently acquired acute illnesses in the United States and throughout the industrialized world. Though the infection is self-limited, the burden in terms of lost productivity and expense is high. The common cold has been estimated to cost more than $3.5 billion per year in the United States alone. Forty percent of all time lost from jobs among those employed is due to colds, and annual school absences are as high as 23 million days.

WHAT IS THE COMMON COLD? — What we all know of as the common cold is actually a constellation of symptoms caused by a large number of different viruses. Rhinoviruses, for example, are among the most common viruses to cause a cold, but there are more than 100 different varieties of these viruses. This explains why people can get colds over and over again. The symptoms are usually the same, but the virus causing the cold is generally different.

Symptoms of the common cold usually include nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. A sore throat may be present on the first day but usually disappears while nasal symptoms become more prominent. If cough occurs, it generally develops on about the fourth or fifth day of symptoms when nasal symptoms are resolving.

HOW IS THE COMMON COLD TRANSMITTED? — There are many "old wives tales" about how colds are acquired. Colds are transmitted from person-to-person either by direct contact or by contact with viral particles in the environment.
Direct contact — People with colds typically have particles of the cold virus on their hands. The virus remains alive on the skin and capable of infecting another person for at least two hours. If a sick person shakes someone's hand and that individual then touches one of their mucous membranes, such as their eye, nostril, or mouth, the particles can enter, causing an infection.

Infection from particles on surfaces — Some cold viruses can live on surfaces for several hours. Studies have shown that touching surfaces contaminated with a cold virus can cause transmission of the illness, again by the hands of the exposed individual touching their own mucous membranes, which are the site of entry for the virus into their system.

Inhaling viral particles — Experiments have shown that viral particles that are exhaled into the air by a person with a cold can be transmitted to others and cause infection.

Most cold viruses are not spread by saliva. Most people with colds have no detectable viral particles in the saliva. Thus, kissing is not likely to transmit the common cold.

Colds are not caused by cold climates or being exposed to cold air. However, there are seasonal patterns of infection related to particular cold viruses. For example, some types of virus cause more colds in the fall and late spring, others in the winter and spring, and still others are responsible for most of the colds in the summer.

CAN COLDS LEAD TO MORE SERIOUS ILLNESS? — In most cases, colds do not cause serious illness. They typically last for three to seven days, though a significant percentage of sufferers will have symptoms for up to two weeks.

Certain factors may cause cold symptoms to be more severe than usual. Very small infants, the elderly, people with chronic illness, people taking medications which suppress the immune system (eg, transplant recipients or patients with cancer undergoing chemotherapy), and people who are malnourished are among those who may have more severe cold symptoms.

In some cases, other infections can develop in patients with the common cold. Some viruses can depress local immune defenses, which may allow spread of the viral infection or a bacterial infection to develop. Individuals whose ability to fight infection is impaired by disease or medications, infants, and elderly patients may be particularly prone to more serious infections following a cold. Some of these other infections include:

· One of the more common complications is sinusitis, although this entity too is usually caused by viruses and only occasionally by bacteria.
· Lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, may develop following a cold. (See "Patient information: Acute bronchitis").
· Inner ear infection, or otitis media, can be caused by a cold.
Other complications arising from the common cold can also occur, such as worsening of asthma symptoms in patients with asthma or congestive heart failure especially in older individuals with this disease.

It is worth noting that influenza viruses, which cause flu, also produce cold symptoms in most cases. However, flu is usually accompanied by a host of other symptoms and can be a more serious illness than the cold.

DO COLD TREATMENTS WORK? — There is no specific treatment for the viruses that cause the common cold. Despite therapies touted to shorten the course and severity of the illness, the main available treatments are aimed at alleviating some of the symptoms of the cold. Still other treatments, specifically antibiotics, are clearly not appropriate in the treatment of the common cold.

Treatment of runny nose and nasal congestion — Runny nose and congestion may improve with the use of decongestants. Anti-histamines may also help but cause troubling side effects such as drowsiness and drying of the eyes, nose, and mouth. Nasal inhalers, including ipratropium bromide (available by prescription) and cromolyn sodium (a non-prescription medicine) may also relieve nasal symptoms. Phenylpropanolamine, a common ingredient in many over-the-counter cold remedies, has recently been found to be associated with a small but significant risk of stroke in women, prompting the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to recommend its removal from the market.

Treatment of sore throat and headache — Sore throat and headache are best treated with mild pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (Motrin, Aleve).

Treatment of cough — It is not clear whether cough suppressants are actually effective in reducing episodes or severity of coughing in the common cold.
Antibiotics — Antibiotics should not be used to treat an uncomplicated common cold. As noted above, colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics treat bacterial, not viral infections.

Antibiotics may be indicated in the treatment of acute bacterial sinusitis, which can sometimes occur in the setting of a cold. However, the diagnosis of bacterial sinusitis is not a simple matter. Some patients and physicians believe that the appearance of a thick or colored nasal discharge indicates a progression to bacterial sinusitis and warrants treatment with antibiotics. This is not the case. Discolored nasal discharge is a normal, self-limited phase of the common cold, and does not necessarily indicate the presence of bacterial infection.

Other treatments — A number of other products, including zinc, vitamin C, and herbal products such as echinacea, have been advocated for use in the treatment or prevention of the common cold. None have been proven to be effective.
Zinc — A number of studies have been done to investigate whether the use of zinc lozenges decreases the duration or severity of the common cold. We do not recommend this therapy. A placebo-controlled study of zinc acetate and zinc gluconate lozenges found that neither preparation affected natural colds, while zinc gluconate reduced the duration of illness by one day in volunteers who had been given virus to inhale in an experimental situation without changing the severity of symptoms. Although some studies seemed to show a benefit, methods used to study the zinc and the doses used were not standardized across studies. Many patients using the lozenges complained of a bad taste.

Vitamin C — Numerous studies to examine the usefulness of vitamin C in preventing or treating the common cold have failed to demonstrate that vitamin C prevents the illness. Some have shown that vitamin C may help reduce the duration of a cold. However, similar to the problems noted with the studies of zinc, these studies used different doses of vitamin C and had other methodologic problems that prevent scientists from drawing firm conclusions about the benefits of vitamin C in treating the common cold.

Echinacea — Echinacea is the most frequently used botanical in the United States. It is generally used in hopes of preventing or treating upper respiratory infections. Although some studies have shown echinacea to be effective, scientists who have scrutinized these and other trials believe that, to date, there is insufficient evidence to support using the herb to treat or prevent colds.

CAN COLDS BE PREVENTED? — There are measures that may be at least partially effective in reducing the transmission of colds in a particular environment. For example, frequent hand washing can help decrease hand-to-hand transmission. Proper disposal of nasal secretions is certainly recommended. Using a disinfectant that kills viruses (such as phenol/alcohol, the active ingredient in Lysol®) to clean surfaces that an infected person may have touched may help decrease transmission via this route.

The use of agents such as vitamin C and echinacea to prevent colds is discussed above and is not supported by scientific research.

WHERE TO GET MORE INFORMATION — Your doctor is the best resource for finding out important information related to your particular case. Not all patients with the common cold are alike, and it is important that your situation is evaluated by someone who knows you as a whole person.

A number of other sites on the internet have information about the common cold. Information provided by the National Institutes of Health, national medical societies and some other well-established organizations are often reliable sources of information, although the frequency with which they are updated is variable.
· National Library of Medicine
(www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/)
· National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
NIAID Office of Communications and Public Liaison
Building 31, Room 7A-50
31 Center Drive MSC 2520
Bethesda, MD 20892-2520
(www.niaid.nih.gov/)
· Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30333
Phone: (404) 639-3534
Toll-free: (800) 311-3435
(www.cdc.gov)
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:18 AM   #7
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Anyway, I know that there is no cure. But anyone have any tips on making yourself feel a bit better?
Jack Daniels with some herb tea would definitely do the trick.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:24 AM   #8
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

I just took two tylenols. I read the bottle afterwords. Expired in 1993. Oops! No wonder I had to search way back in the medicine cabinet. Don't tell Rich.

Heating up some tea now.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:30 AM   #9
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Now, thanks to Rich, I am going to snort some salt water. Yuck.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:37 AM   #10
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Interesting Q for Rich: are there any real 'contraindications' (see my fantastic grasp of the lingo) in taking outdated OTC meds?

In my case, primarily aspirin, but also some other cold meds. I tend to stockpile it since aspirin here is something like $4 for eight pills (yes, there is a downside to socialized medicine, when it includes grotesque protectionism for mega-corps like Bayer.. Want aspirin? Pay Bayer. period.)

I cavalierly assume that in the worst case there'd be diminished efficacy. But Italians (i.e., DH), confronted with a stamped expiration date, run in terror, as if from a poisonous viper... (These are the people who eat cheese with worms in it, and routinely leave leftovers at room temperature overnight.. in the oven, though, of course!!).

Hope you feel better soon, Martha. I can't offer anything better than liquids and doses of OTC cold meds.

I'd like to try salt water. Anyone have any tips? I would imagine it would help to boil the water first?
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:41 AM   #11
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

IIRC, aspirin degrades into acetic acid over time, which won't hurt you. Dunno about the other meds.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:43 AM   #12
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Just so Rich doesn't think I am doing something foolhardy with the nasal irrigation, I have done it before as I have allergic rhinitis, and I am comfortable knowing what I am doing.

OTOH, I should have read the tylenol bottle.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:46 AM   #13
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Martha, I'd say the best thing you can do is rest (i.e. no work). That's perhaps the toughest thing about trying to recover for us working stiffs: its hard to stay out long enough to actually get better.

I think having a doting hubby waiting on you hand and foot is another time-honored treatment...
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:51 AM   #14
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

So Martha, you're saying there is a special protocol? What's the nasal irrigation best practice?
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 11:58 AM   #15
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

From the topic title, I thought this was going to be another obesity thread.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 12:00 PM   #16
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

I will add on to Brewer's suggestion: a heating pad may help with your aches and I always put on a favorite old movie in the VCR. Eat comfort foods - pudding, soup, and whatever sounds good.

Hope you feel better!

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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 12:00 PM   #17
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Martha - have you tried Zicam? More stuff to squirt up your nose, but I swear it gets rid of the stuffy sneezy feeling and also makes the cold go away faster.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 12:07 PM   #18
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
So Martha, you're saying there is a special protocol? What's the nasal irrigation best practice?
Garden hose works well, as long as you turn that sucker up to a full blast setting.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 12:14 PM   #19
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
I just took two tylenols. I read the bottle afterwords. Expired in 1993. Oops! No wonder I had to search way back in the medicine cabinet. Don't tell Rich.
I heard that, young lady.

For those who asked (mucus is one of my favorite topics :): nasal saline (Ocean Nasal Spray and others) usually comes in an atomizer plastic bottle. You don't really have to "irrigate" at all - just spray 2-3 times one nostril at a time. You can't overdose, so use freely -- especially on awakening. It reduces obstructive accumulations of mucus which can block sinus and eustachian drainage. If you are so plugged up that you can't even get the mist in there, a couple sprays of an Afrin-like decongestant (nasal, not oral) usually do the trick within 15-30 minutes.

As to outdated meds, it is entirely dependent on which one. Old tetracycline can cause kidney failure. Most old meds simply just don't work. As Brewer says, old aspirin just makes you smell like a kosher pickle. Most manufacturers build at least a 3 month safety cushion in to their expriation dates, depending on the drug. It really is best to flush them when they expire, though.
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!
Old 10-04-2006, 12:21 PM   #20
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Re: I'm all stuffed up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
So Martha, you're saying there is a special protocol? What's the nasal irrigation best practice?
Surfing-- but keep exhaling and don't swallow!

Of course at Martha's local break this time of year, they're probably worried about icicle lacerations.
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