The Common Cold | Dafacto

The personal website of Matt Henderson.

The Common Cold

03 February 2004

I’ve got a cold. A bad one. I’m congested beyond belief. I’d say this one’s the worst ever. (At least the worst I can remember.)

I’ve consulted with lots of friends on both sides of the pond, and seem to have discovered another notable line of American-European contrast. To summarize my American friends’s collective opinion about what I should do:

"Interleave Advil and Motrin each three hours. Between that, try to get in some Sudafed. And, for rest of the day, suck on Cold-Eze tablets, with Zinc." (Ok, so I'm exaggerating a wee bit.)

The Euro-recommendations seem to converge on:

"Take an Aspirin four times a day, and suffer. The cold will be gone in a week or two, anyway. And specifically for the congestion, stuff some mint oil up your nose." (No exaggeration there.)

Ok, so I tried the mint oil. Big mistake. The idea behind the mint oil, I quickly determined, is distraction. The effect of pure mint oil in the nose will immediately and fully consume one’s entire mental focus. All other problems in life will momentarily disappear. If you, like me, innocently ate that entire ball of horseradish on your first trip to a Sushi bar, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

So, desperate for some relief, I promptly switched to the American strategy, and sent my wife to the pharmacy with strict instructions to buy some of everything on the list. Upon hearing the request, the pharmacist asked, “So what’s the problem?” “He says his head’s about to explode.” replied my wife. “Well, I’d say an Aspirin each six hours should do the trick.” And so my wife came home empty handed.

And there we are. 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday night, and I’ve got an Aspirin to look forward to at midnight.

There is some good news to report, though. It was recommended to try boiling some water with a few drops of my mint oil, cut the fire, drape a towel over my head and breath the vapor. I must say that was surprisingly effective for the congestion.

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