{03/01/2013}   Possibly the worst cold ever

I have the worst cold I can remember having.  Today is day ten and I have well and truly had enough of it.  I have tried more medicine and natural remedies than I can ever recall having had the time to try out on one particular cold, my nose is so sore I couldn’t get my finger in to pick it if I really wanted to (!) and there is so much gunk in my head that I have worked out I’ve probably gone through the equivalent of at least six boxes of tissues.  And still my head blocks up at times, so much that I can’t breathe through my nose and can barely swallow.  I am now on the cusp of feeling very sorry for myself, having largely staved off that tendency thanks to the distraction of Christmas and my new year’s eve break in Iceland.

A friend recommended Sudafed blue (over the counter) for dealing with a runny nose and Night Nurse for the hell of the night time.  I had already got Sudafed red and was not able to get the blue before I went away so didn’t get to try that.  Night Nurse is also one of my preferred treatments for a cold.  However, it failed big time with this cold (until last night) as I took it on Christmas Day night and I barely slept that night and felt utterly wretched the next day.  However, I took it last night (my cold is a lot better than it has been but still in the “bad cold” category) and it knocked me out so I’m hoping a night of deep sleep will further my recovery.

Here is what I’ve tried this time:

steam baths (with and without menthol crystals) – have enable me to shift some snot, as it were, but seemingly no lasting help as once I get rid of a load of catarrh, I then seem to block up.

steam rooms (by virtue of being in Iceland!) – promoted a general feeling of well being, gave me some easy breathing and made me think I was getting better, but the effects didn’t last long once leaving the steam room.  Best respite I had and a huge plus that no medication was involved.

saline nasal jet thing – this is genius, the NeilMed Sinus Rinse.  You fill a plastic bottle with warm water and add a sachet of salt.  You then put the special lid on the bottle, insert it into one nostril and squeeze the bottle so saline goes up your nose.  It either comes out your other nostril or, brace yourself, your mouth.  It gets rid of a lot of snot and makes you feel like you’ve had a good clean out, but it always blocks me up again afterwards.  But it is good to feel head-clean.  I didn’t have it while I was on holiday so didn’t get to test it out when my head was at its most blocked.

nasal spray with menthol – I bought this in Iceland in desperation as my head and nose kept blocking up so badly.  I don’t like non-saline nasal sprays as they seem to offer relief but prolong the issue.  This one was a huge relief and cleared my nose each time and for longer than I would have expected.  The only down side is that I think it’s that spray that then made my snot a most bright lemon curd yellow; I’ve never seen the like!

Sudafed – I bought the red one.  I don’t think it worked, in fact I think it made my blocked head worse.  Next time, I will buy the blue one and see if it works.  Though I really don’t expect to ever get a cold like this again … surely?!

Day Nurse/Beecham’s all-in-one – these tablets seemed to offer a little relief early on but when I had a headache and when my throat was really painful at the beginning, they didn’t work as pain relief and part of the reason I chose them as medication was for the paracetamol element.  Sometimes these do help, but not with this virulent cold.

Olbas Oil – inhaling the oil, ie putting it under your nose, was great until my nose dried out as it stings on broken skin.  It was good to have Olbas Oil tissues though, not that I could smell anything for about five days (including the thousands of fireworks – I didn’t smell a thing!).  Plus the Olbas sweets were a complete success when it came to keeping one in my mouth for the entire night, offering enough saliva to not dry my mouth out.  Without them, at night time my mouth dried out to an extent it never has before and on the rare occasions I fell asleep I think the completely dried out mouth element is what woke me.  So an Olbas sweet lodged by your gum lasts all night and keeps your mouth lubricated!

Sudafed vapour plug – this usually guarantees me a good night’s sleep as you plug it in and the warmth of the plug releases the natural oils that are soaked on the pad you insert.  This time, however, not only did I not even smell the vapour, it seemed to make no difference whatsoever.

paracetamol/ibuprofen/asprin/neurofen – offered some relief.  Paracetamol saved me from a most alarming pressure pain in my eye socket and head in the plane home.  They usually sorted out other pains, from sore throat to headache.

ear plugs (for flying) and toffee – it was not fun flying, particularly as my ears were and are incredibly blocked.  I flew out completely paranoid I would go deaf as the night before I had dreadful earache and could hear very little (again, never been that bad).  I wore the flight ear plugs for take off and landing (landing was worse both times) and chewed toffees (better than boiled sweets, I think).  Both helped but I still have ringing in my ears and feel I am a long way from people talking to me.  Awful.

Hot honey and lemon drink/Lemsip/hot Ribena/Sage tea – all have offered relief.  Lemsip helped more when it wasn’t so bad at the beginning, ie when I had the aches and sore throat, but it was completely useless by the time the cold got heavy.  Sage tea is amazing on sore throats and at the early stages when I had a sore throat too, it helped enormously, in fact more than asprin.  All hot drinks like this offer a little hug, which is always good when you have a cold.

I am now even more convinced than I ever was that cold drugs are a waste of money.  However, if I ever got this cold from hell again, I would buy Olbas Oil, Olbas sweets, a nasal spray with menthol, tissues in bulk, asprin for sore throat, paracetamol for aches and pains and maybe a specific drug, eg try Sudafed blue.  And I’d go to steam rooms!  I did at one time feel clogged up with chemicals/drugs and it was good when I felt free of such pollutants.  All in all, a cold can be a minor hiccup to your daily routine, but they can also be far worse than I can usually imagine possible.  So if you have a cold, feel confident you have my full sympathy!


(Some months later and I have subsequently discovered liquid Sudafed Chesty Cough that is ONLY available behind the counter.  It made me sleep really well without feeling dopey the next morning and it shifted a lot of the horrid cold.)


Louise says:

Karina, I have a brilliant tip for colds: natural juices work wonders, so if you have a juicer at home try juicing carrots, green apples, oranges and ginger. LOTS of ginger.
Even better, if you can stomach it: steeping chopped garlic and ginger in boiling water for ten minutes, then man up and glug the whole lot down. Vile, makes you gag, but really helps. Also, you can buy ginseng and royal jelly ampules from any Chinese herbalist/health shop, which are brilliant for just about everything. You drink them with hot water. They are very weird tasting but not as bad as the garlic and ginger water. They look like this:

Hope you feel better soon!
Miss Pepper x

Thanks Miss Pepper! I did have some ginger drinks early on but had forgotten to carry that on. I’ve got a juicer so I’m going to try some juices later. I am also going to a health shop so may check out some ginseng and royal jelly ampules. Unfortunately, the side effects to my consumption of raw garlic will outweigh any possibly benefits as I will be convinced of norovirus if I consume raw garlic. But I can see that could work wonders! Thanks, really appreciate it. Sounds like you’ve researched cold remedies far too much!

Hope you’re enjoying not being laid up this holiday, though I guess that means another time will come …

See you soon,

Miss Roberts (not got the same ring, “Pepper” is a much better surname!)

Eedwin says:

I’m currently in the throes of some kind of supercold – mucus pouring out of every orifice and whatnot. Haven’t slept in, oh, 26 hours and counting from the uninterrupted coughing, and have swallowed so much snot I’ve vomited twice. Now that the gory details are out of the way, I’ll be trying some of your remedies. Drugs haven’t been able to touch this misery and the only things that have offered me a modicum of relief have been steamy baths and Vick’s Vaporub.

Finally found a medicine that works. If you’re still suffering, try the behind-the-counter (you can only get it if you ask for it) Actifed for chesty cough in the liquid form. But be warned, the odds are it won’t “maybe” make you tired, it will send you to sleep, a far deeper sleep than you could wish for! It’s the only medicine I’ve used for a cold that really does help and I can’t believe I was only told about it with that awful cold from hell!

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