My friend Peter was laid up last week. His wife came home from work with a cold and was out for a couple of days, then he got it from her, and since he never seems to be in great health anyway, he got it bad. He ran a fever and couldn't get out of bed for three days. What he had sounded different from what I had. Maybe the flu?
|What works for you?|
"Nah, I don't get those shots," he scoffed. "I got one when I was younger. Gave me a nasty case of the flu. I swore off the shots."
I thought that might possibly be a coincidence. But nevermind. I asked him if he took vitamin C. No, he didn't do that either.
I used to swear by vitamin C. But for some reason it seems to have lost its effectiveness with me. Maybe I've become immune to vitamin C, or maybe it never worked anyway. But still, I try to hang onto my belief, for lack of anything better, and I gobble down those chunky pills at the first sign of a sniffle.
A few years ago when I got my usual autumn cold, I went over to my local CVS pharmacy. I stood there eyeing the dizzying array of cough medicines and throat lozenges and cough drops. I must have looked confused because eventually a young clerk sidled up to me and asked if he could help. I told him I had a cold with a bad cough and was looking for something to help me out.
"Try this," he said, pointing to a pack of cough drops with zinc and echinacea. "I grew up in Buffalo, and that's what we always used up there."
I figured anyone from Buffalo ought to know what cures a cold, and so I tried some. It seemed to work for me, so I've added zinc and echinacea to my list of supposedly-effective cold remedies. Like I said, I'm not sure how well any of it works, but you gotta do something.
Actually, I've read that the best way to avoid getting a cold is not vitamin C or echinacea or anything else you might take. The secret is washing your hands -- often and thoroughly. The person who has the cold, so he doesn't spread his germs around. And the person trying to avoid getting a cold, so if he does pick up some germs he doesn't transfer them into his mouth or eyes or wherever.
Anyway, something is definitely going around. B's coworker at the library was out for a few days last week. B's coworker takes a sick day if she breaks a fingernail, so it's hard to tell how bad she had it. But somehow, even with me being sick, and then her coworker, B hasn't come down with anything.
But then B is a rock. The women in her family never get sick, and they live forever. Even when B does catch a cold she won't take off from work unless she's practically paralyzed. She's been working at the library for five years now, and you could count her number of sick days on one hand.
Maybe it's the changing of the seasons, because it's not just around where I live. I talked to a friend in Washington, DC, the other day, and she told me she has a cold. And I was IM'ing with my ex-wife who lives in Georgia. She too is fighting a cold, and said her brother was sick as well. Her nephew has a young boy who goes to daycare. They're all sick. But then I know from experience, if you want to get sick, send your kid to daycare.
Actually, B says it's good to get yourself exposed to all those germs. "Builds up your immune system," she claims. But that's easy for her to say . . . she never gets sick!
I've got my annual physical coming up later in October. I'll make sure to get a flu shot then. Meanwhile, I'm going to wash my hands. May everyone stay healthy!