Suffering poet Ogden Nash in response to his physician:
"I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold."
Colds happen two or three times a year for most adults, and more often if you spend time with kids. Colds tend to hang around for 10-14 days in spite of the billions of health care dollars that are spent on them annually. Mr. Nash correctly implies that there is a better way to spend a morning than to visit your physician with your lousy cold.
• Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for headache or other discomforts.
• A humidifier or vaporizer in your bedroom will help your stuffy, plugged-up nose.
• Over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines and decongestants are modestly helpful for sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes, but keep in mind these products are associated with lots of side effects.
• Lemon and honey teas work as well as dextromethorphan and other OTC medications for coughs.
• Lemon/honey throat lozenges and salt water gargles help sore throats.
Avoid these treatments that do not work.
• Antibiotics - Save them for serious bacterial illnesses.
• Airborne - This vitamin boondoggle will only give you expensive urine and a dent in your pocketbook!
• Vitamin C - It does prevent scurvy, but has no effect on cold symptoms.
• Nasal zinc - It is not effective and can result in permanent loss of sense of smell.
Dr. Mohler has practiced family medicine in Grand Junction for 38 years. He has a particular interest in pharmaceutical education. Phil works part-time for both Primary Care Partners and Rocky Mountain Health Plans.