Monday, February 25, 2019

Sneezing and Sniffling--What Do YOU Do?

UPDATED Monday morning: How GREAT was it to see Olivia Colman win for best actress? (See below for my Broadchurch "discovery." WOW. (Though I feel bad for the amazing Glenn Close.)
And can we talk about that SONG?? What do you think?

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: It's almost over. ALMOST over.  It's almost gone now, but  it started one day last week. At first, I was completely fine. And then, wham. A sniffle. A tiny sniffle. I ignored it. Of course.  I don't have time to be sick! 


This is not me. 
And then, ker-CHOO. Then: ker-CHOO ker-CHOO ker-CHOO. My head hurt, I was sniffing and sneezing and snorking and generally being disgusting. I tried to convince myself that it was an allergy, so I took every allergy medication known to humankind, but they did not work. 

Then I had to admit--it's a cold. Oh. NO. What do I usually do for a cold? I could NOT remember.  It was as if I'd never had one before, I was baffled and confused. Because, of course I had a cold,  SO frustrating, and that makes it impossible to think. 

 I rattled around through the medicine cabinet and pawed though the bathroom drawers and scouted the linen closet to see what there was, and found this array of half-used over the counter stuff. SOMETHING had to work, right? SOMETHING?  You can't just have a thing that you can't cure. 

I didn't really have a cough or a sore throat, so all the cough stuff I rejected. And no fever.  So I took a little of one, then four hours later, a little of the other. It was probably expired, but I don't believe they really expire.  I looked up on Google: can you take Allegra and Tylenol at the same time? (Apparently you can.)

Just sniffles and sneezes, SO annoying, I couldn't even finish a whole sentence without sneezing

(And I read somewhere that if you think you're going to sneeze, you can stop it by quickly saying "pickle." You can imagine how intelligent I sounded during the time I was trying that.)


Plus, I was walking around carrying whole boxes of tissues and leaving little shards in my wake. I took a hot shower. Sinus rinse. Water water water, and sleep. 

I pretended I was fine, to see if that would work, but it usually didn't.  Praise the writing gods I had no book or personal events. (Because nothing worse than having a sick person go out in public, right?)  Soup, and oscillococcinum and nose spray.

Ka-CHOO!


(The only good thing was that I found Broadchurch, which I watched, endlessly, blanketed on a big chair with glazed eyes and cups of tea. But how did I miss that? It's fabulous.)



I counted the hours until I could take Nyquil . But after about day three, I felt like my whole body was full of medicine, and I was spacy and goofy and hyper-medicated so I stopped taking everything.

Ahhh. What cold-eradicating hints do you have I can use next time? Have you had this scourge this season?

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Oh, God, I had the cold that would not end earlier this winter.I was hacking and horking for THREE WEEKS. It was the worst. 

Honestly, my number-one treatment is the one hardest for adults to do: go to bed! I'm convinced resting your poor, beleaguered  body is the most effective way to shorten your cold. Look at children: when they're sick, they fall like stunned sheep. They sleep, and sleep, and sleep. Every parent knows you can tell your child is getting well when he or she actually starts to move around again. 
 But it's so difficult for grown-ups. We're all convinced the world will end if we don't get to work. (Leaving aside the unfortunate workers who MUST show up, sick or well, or face docking their pay or losing their jobs because we don't have a sane sick policy in this country.) 

So we slog into the office and spread our illnesses around to our grateful coworkers, and the cold lasts a week longer
than it might have.

LUCY BURDETTE: John is now going through this exact sequence – thinking he must have an allergy! Hoping hoping fingers crossed that it isn’t a dreaded cold. I think Julia is right, the smartest thing is going to bed or sitting in front of the TV as Hank did. Otherwise everyone else in the world gets the darned germs. 

Not so sure there’s anything that can be done to avoid this completely, but I am hooked on something my naturopath suggested. It’s a combination of mushrooms called Immune Renew that boosts the immune system. You take them when you’re either around sick people, or when you feel the earliest signs of a cold. I swear I’ve beaten a few back this winter…


DEBORAH CROMBIE: Oh, poor Hank. I had it at Christmas (the worst!) and it lasted for three weeks, then again the first of this month. My not-terribly-effective remedies are to start taking cough syrup right away, the kind that has Mucinex in it, and to use saline nasal spray to flush out the congestion. 

Colds are just miserable, and the fuzzy-headedness makes accomplishing anything almost impossible. I really think the best thing to do is to rest as much as possible, stay home (don't spread it!), drink lots of liquids and watch TV.

 Rick had it too--he swears hot and sour soup got him over the hump. I'll go with that, and try Lucy's remedy, too! And crossing fingers that twice is enough for one winter!

HALLIE EPHRON: I had that cold for two weeks - started and I thought it was an allergy! Then it hung around and hung around, sneezing and clogging my head so I couldn't breathe. Coughing and hacking. I am finally over it now. I'm limited in what over-the-counter drugs I can take because of meds that I take regularly, so I try to make due with plenty of liquids and sleep. Oh, and I try to sleep slightly sitting up -- it helps with breathing.

I was lucky this came at a time when I didn't have any commitments to speak because I sounded like a frog and would have infected the audience. Yes, Debs, ONCE is plenty for one winter. And spring.

RHYS BOWEN: I hardly dare to write this because it will probably jinx things but so far the dreaded cold has escaped us. This must be because moving house has required such physical labor and stress that no self respecting cold would want to hang around. First we carried across box after box of stuff before the move. Then We assembled new furniture, hung pictures on high walls, dug out plants, put up hooks etc etc. And these are things that the parade of contractors, electricians, landscapers etc didn't do!

But my go-to recipe for a cold is to make soup of a whole chicken with lots of onions and garlic. Also drink hot lemon and honey with some rum. The more rum the better you'll feel! And Cold Ease works if you take it soon enough. Also when you tell yourself firmly you have no time to be sick. That works too!

JENN McKINLAY: So far so good here. Of course, Hooligan 1 was felled with a fever this morning and stayed home from school and work. I refuse to go near him unless I am masked and gloved - kidding! - bit I did do a copious amount of hand washing every time I brought him medicine or soup or whatever. I'm pretty sturdy and rarely get sick. *knocks wood* 

When I do, I put myself on a strict schedule of Dayquil/Nyquil until the ick passes. When I was in college I was convinced that shots of whiskey cured the common cold. Not sure it cured it so much as made it bearable.
Riiiight.

HANK: Ker-Choo! And how about this photo--supposedly a "woman with a cold." I have NEVER looked anywhere near that good with a cold. I would call this: model with a tissue. 
How about you, Reds and readers? have you been felled by the cold bug this season? What are your tricks for fighting back? 

82 comments:

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  2. Oh, Hank, I hope you feel better soon . . . .

    So far, we’ve managed to miss the sniffles. I take Zicam at the first threat of a cold and it’s gone so much quicker.
    Aaround here we fight colds with lots of rest and hot tea to which we add honey and lemon . . . .

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    1. I drink so much tea! It really feels wonderful… And everybody says just hot water and lemon, too.

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  3. Hank, feel better soon! I had several colds recently because of the colder weather.

    First, I try to prevent a cold. At first sign, I use ZiCam swabs in my nose and it seems to work. If it's not allergies. I also try to dress warmer than usual when I go outside because it has been very cold lately. Colder than usual. I take NyQuil when I am coughing and sneezing. Chicken soup helps. Drinking lots of water helps. Hot water with lemon and honey with some brandy seems to help. And sleep makes a difference!

    Diana

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    1. NyQuil is the savior! I have never had luck with Zicam… But I hear you all singing it’s praises… I really think each person needs something different, you know?

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    2. the only ZiCam that works for me is the swabs that you put in your nose. You have to use it every three or four hours. That works only in the beginning. Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out it is not allergies but a cold! The ZiCam spray never works for me.

      Yes, I agree that each person needs something different.

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  4. I've been keeping my fingers crossed that I could get through February without getting the dreaded cold, and I've now made it through my granddaughter's 18th birthday on Valentine's Day, having full charge of the dog for the first two weeks of February while hubby was gone, and my birthday on yesterday. I'm not saying I want a cold now, but at least I've got some major celebrations behind me. Of course, March Madness Basketball starts soon, but if I can watch a television, I should be okay. But, really, please stay away, cold.

    Hank, I feel bad for you that you've been so miserable, and I'm glad it's almost gone. I have to give kudos to the cold though for finding a time when you weren't constantly on the go. And, what you said about forgetting what to do for a cold. So me, too. I do know that if I start taking something early, like Mucinex it helps, but now what kind of Mucinex exactly did I take last time? Or was it that generic stuff I took? I'm going to remember the remedies mentioned here and try to stock up on some supplies.

    Oh, and the flu! I'm hearing about so many people who have it, even those who have had the shot. Yes, I have had the shot. Schools seem to be closing down lots of places for at least several days before or after a weekend because of the absentee rate. I'm really not getting out a lot in view of that situation, too.

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    1. and happy belated birthday to you dear Kathy!!

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    2. Exactly! And what if I used it all up the time before and now what’s left it was what didn’t work ? And trudging to the drugstore is not what anyone wants to do!

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    3. Thanks for the birthday wishes. And, the trudging to the drugstore when you're sick? That's torture. So, my goal this week is to gather in what medicines I think I might need if dreaded cold hits. I usually keep a supply of canned soup in.

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  5. I've actually had two colds this season, which is par for the course for me. I will take Muscinex when it hits the cough stage since it really does seem to loosen mucus for me and get rid of the cold better. Nothing else works except rest. Yes, I will go into work with a cold, but I will not do anything else like running or other exercise and work on getting to bed earlier than normal.

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    1. Mucinex it’s so great! But this time, happily, I did not have those symptoms.

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    2. Mucinex has never done a thing for me, might as well take a placebo. Different strokes...

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  6. I'm with Julia on sleeping it off. And yes, unfortunately I did have a cold earlier this season. I had the flu too, which felt worse but didn't last as long. Hope you feel better soon, Hank!

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  7. I'm just staggering back from the three-week crud. It started with a raw throat the first day of our three-day run of youth concerts and knocked me flat out for days two and three. Those are my favorite concerts of the year! I would have been sad, but I was asleep. I usually bounce back after a day or two, but this one had me flat on my back for seven days. In week two I felt much better, and crept back to work, but even then I worked shorter hours, and apparently frightened my co-workers with the coughing. Now, past week three, I'm still fighting the last little cough.

    Over the years my doctor and I have figured out what OTC meds work best for me in holding the symptoms at bay, but the only real thing for it is rest, rest, sleep some, drink lots of water, and rest some more. On the bright side, my TBR stack is a little shorter. Feel better, everybody.

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    1. Yes, those OTC medications are definitely hiders, not fixers.

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  8. I ended up getting 2 minor colds and 1 knock me on my butt cold in about a month and a half. The first two were stuffy head things that I cleared up pretty quickly by resting and relaxing. They weren't major colds so that seemed to be enough when combined with some Hall's cough drops.

    The major cold became major when I had to go to a concert on a rainy and damp night. They kept us outside the venue and when they finally let us in before the show, some idiot turned on the air conditioning during the opening act. I already wasn't feeling great but those circumstances ended up making my head stuffy, nose runny and unable to really sleep as I went to bed that night.

    I ended up calling in sick the next day and spent pretty much the entire weekend in the house either in bed or curled up on the couch dying a little with each attempted breath.

    Lots of tissues gave their lives that weekend, plus Hall's and ginger ale, plus popsicles and ice cubes for the throat. It lingered into the following week but it seemed to start ebbing away on the Sunday before I went back to work, so I was at least able to be coherent.

    So I didn't do anything fancy, I just took the bare bones remedies most people take and had to otherwise ride it out. It's a pain for sure. As much money that is spent on medical research, they should figure out a way to rid us of the common cold.

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    1. Oh, that is so pitiful! So bleak...awwww poor thing!

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    2. Lucy and Hank, I'm guessing you mean the night of the concert? Yes, it turned out badly for me. If I hadn't committed to covering the show for KNAC.COM, I would've eaten the ticket cost and stayed home.

      But at least I got to see a good show and got a good article out of it...once I was able to actually write it.

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    3. There are about 200 viruses that cause colds, therefore need 200 or so cures.

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    4. Ann, did you have to be a spoilsport for my dreams of a pill for the common cure? :D

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  9. By the way Hank, interesting that you discovered Broadchurch while sick and wrote about it today. Actress Olivia Colman, who had the lead in Broadchurch, won the Oscar for Best Actress last night.

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    1. Oh my goodness, I went crazy! And she is just like she was in the show, wasn’t she?

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    2. By the way, she also guested on an episode of Doctor Who during David Tennant's time as The Doctor IIRC. So the Broadchurch "reunion" casting was cool too.

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    3. Olivia Coleman is such a delight. Anyone else spot her in Hot Fuzz, way back when?

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  10. Have you noticed people going around wearing surgical masks? Is that to prevent GETTING sick or keep from making other people sick? They're SO uncomfortable.

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    1. That’s so interesting! I read in some random place that people think they are protecting themselves from other people. When actually, and only if the masks are good enough, they are protecting other people from them.

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    2. This is true, Hank. It's the way surgical masks are made. Thing is, the cold virus love to nestle in the mucous membranes of the eye. People should wear goggles maybe instead!

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  11. hank, hope you are feeling better soon! I don't remember what it's like to be felled by such a wicked cold and hope I don't have to find out any time soon. But what I tell family members - they are grown and on their own - plenty of rest, lots of liquids.

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    1. Thank you! I am pretty much OK now, and so grateful of for every moment !

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  12. Mucinex-D during the day, Nyquil and Delsym cough syrup at night, prescription cough suppressant capsules for the inevitable bronchitis which follows a cold. Netipot twice a day.
    For a change this winter, instead of my annual head cold, I came down with a mild version of the flu.

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    1. Margaret, oh no! I hear that is so awful…

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    2. The flu is the worst. I thought I had "ad the flu" many times in my life. Then I actually got it. I thought I was going to die, and I didn't care. Since then, I get the flu jab every year as soon as its available.

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    3. Same here. Before flu shots were readily available, I had the real flu two winters in a row which made me a shot fanatic. At Christmastime, I've stopped at the pharmacy on the way home from the airport with children careless enough to arrive without having had the shot. They know better. Kentucky had widespread flu a few weeks ago (schools closed), which is when I came down with it.

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  13. Hank, I'm glad to know you're on the mend, poor dear.

    You mentioned Oscillococcinum, which I swear by. But it only works if you use it right away, when you first start realizing you're getting sick. I was just on a trip, and on the middle day started with all the classic cold symptoms, plus a throbbing head and achy feeling. I didn't have any of the Oscillo in my kit, so we stopped at a drug store so I could get some. It took three doses (I usually only need two), but it staved off the crud.

    If I'd been at home, I would have also defrosted some garlic soup I have in the freezer, and added it to chicken broth. Lots of water, hot ginger and lemon tea with honey, and a hot toddy before bed.

    But my best method is prevention: handwashing, especially in public, and I never, ever touch the door handle in a public restroom after washing my hands. If necessary, I'll use the hem of whatever I'm wearing to pull it open.

    And I've taken 2,000-5,000 IU of D3 for at least 12 years, as recommended by Dr. Andrew Weil. Since then I've gone from my usual two colds/one flu every year to a couple days of runny nose/coughing a year.

    Also, if you ever get a sore throat, eat slices of cold sweet red pepper. The capsicum in the pepper soothes the throat. It's really miraculous.

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    1. You have so many wonderful ideas! D3, you mean vitamin D? I’ll look into that… And red pepper! I usually eat grapefruit. That helps too.

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    2. Karen, I'm with you on public doors--but everywhere--not just in restrooms. I also use the wipes to wipe cart/basket handles--I have had noticeably fewer colds/flu episodes in the years since I've been doing this.

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    3. Hank, Dr. Weil recommends the D3 over the regular D. It's different, although I'm not sure how.

      Debs, LOADS of garlic. I freeze it in small batches, like a half cup, and use it with something else, like potato or chicken soup. It's very strong, but soothing and powerful. Garlic has amazing antibiotic qualities.

      Flora, I am very grateful to stores with automatic doors! And yes, to wiping the cart handles, especially the kind that has a place for little kids to sit.

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  14. PS Weren't the commercials during the Oscars fantastic? Move over, Superbowl!

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    1. I so agree! And thought exactly the same thing. So ingenious, and so inspirational. But oh, what were they for again?

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    2. I was more than an hour behind, so was fast-forwarding through the ads. I do remember that Samsung was really good. What did I miss?

      Haven't seen the last hour of the show yet, either, but really enjoyed up to that point. Hostless is the way to go:-)

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    3. A lot of the commercials used movie clips. There were at least a half dozen Rolex ones, each with a celebrity giving life advice from their own experience. James Cameron is the only one I can remember offhand, and Katherine somebody, a director.

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    4. Oh, and the amazing Nike ad! Serena Williams narrated. Fantastic.

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  15. I hope you feel better soon! I believe in letting a cold run its course, at least during the day - your body is trying to get the germs out, so it doesn't make sense (to me) to stop it up. Sleeping is another matter. I'm with everybody else on the hot tea and whiskey, the garlicky-lemony chicken soup, and lots of rest (it's a great time to catch up reading, for example). We LOVED Broadchurch, by the way but, alas, we watched all of it.

    I keep a Swedish remedy called Kold Kare in the house, and if you mainline it at the very first signs of a cold, it sometimes forestalls it and makes it go bye-bye. The herb is Andrographis paniculata, and it was apparently long used in China and India.

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    1. More good ideas! Love this! Yes, reading is great, but my brain somehow doesn’t work well enough… so lucky you to be able to manage !

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  16. Started the sneezing marathon and took my allergy nose spray which activated my dry eye so painfully that I'd rather sneeze and nap!

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  17. My remedies are usually a hot bath, tea with honey and a nap - not necessarily in that order.

    Of course, I started with a tickle in the throat a week ago, thought it was a cold. By Sunday, my throat felt like it was filled with crushed glass and I was sure I had strep. Off to Urgent Care. No strep, but sinus/ear infection. A week of antibiotics later, I'm feeling much better.

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    1. And we always try to convince ourselves it’s nothing, right? Poor thing!

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    2. Nasty, Liz! I've had that happen to me and I always kick myself, because if I had gone to the doctor's right away, I could have gotten on the antibiotics right away... but who goes to their doctor's office when you assume it's just a cold?

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    3. Julia and Hank - exactly! I mean, "It's nothing. Probably nothing. Going to the doctor's is a waste of time. I'll just take a nap, it'll be fine."

      Ugh.

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    4. I don't go to the doctor for a cold. They just say it has to run it's course, drink lots of liquids and take a Tylenol, the doctor's cure for everything. Pfui to that, no need to make a co-pay for that advice.

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  18. My, what a lot of cold cures! The one that seems to do best at decreasing the symptoms is whatever works for you. I think there are as many treatments as there are people who try them. However, those of you who had a Jewish mother are ahead of the game. Check out this article in the NYT, 2007 I think.

    https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/12/the-science-of-chicken-soup/

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    1. SO agree--I do think there are certain things our bodies respond to--I've never heard of the garlic coup thing, though.

      ALthough Lucy, was it John who swore by hot and sour soup? I tried it--delish, and hey, can't hurt!

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  19. *Whispering*

    Not going to respond substantively other than to offer good wishes to you, Hank.

    Haven't had it yet this year, don't want to get it, so won't even talk about how I will respond if I do.

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  20. BLAAA-CHOOO!! I'm sneezing, but it is Spring Fever. The pollen index is HIGH. Spig ib here.
    I had the dreaded cold in January, right after I got my flu shot. At first I thought it was a reaction. No flu reaction lasts for 3 weeks. Hang in there Hank.

    How fun that you saw Olivia Coleman in one of her top roles before she won the Oscar last night.

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    1. Coralee, where are you? I would gladly change my icy driveway, windchill and projected low of 7 degrees tonight for ANY amount of pollen!

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    2. Poor thing-we're sneezing all over the country! xoxoo

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  21. Hank, I meant to comment on Broadchurch, too. I loved it, too!

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    1. It's amazing. Rarely have I seen anything this good!

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  22. Fortunately, I rarely come down with a cold any longer. If I do feel one coming on, I begin taking Coldeeze as soon as possible. It nearly always cuts down on the severity of the symptoms and/or the length of the cold. Not always, but often enough. My doctor swears by it. He even told me one time to suck on a Coldeeze once a day, no matter how I’m feeling, as a preventative.

    I used to get a lot of sinus infections, but it rarely happens now. The doctor always blamed it on people smoking in the workplace. I agree, because after smoking was banned at work, I nearly stopped getting sinus infections.

    DebRo

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    1. Coldeeze! People love those! And if they work, they work! And sinus infections are awful--my producer gets them all the time, and she's miserable. SO glad they are a thing of the past, dear DebRo!

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  23. Knock on wood. The only issues have been a constant postnasal drip and frequent sneezing. However it is pollen season here. My son is suffering from something I suspect is a cold. I supplied him with a decongestant and that is the best I can do. I noticed he drinks a ginger tea so that must be helping. I didn't watch the Oscars but I was rooting for Olivia Colman. I love that woman! She was wonderful in Broadchurch and a hoot whenever she's been on Graham Norton. Doesn't she have the best smile?

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    1. The BEST. And she seems so genuine, I know I keep saying that, but what a talent.

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  24. I hope you feel better soon, Hank!

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    1. Oh, thank you! Sniff sniff. Crossing fingers we have seen the end of it!

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  25. Finish your recovery soon, Hank!

    No cold here s far this year, thank goodness. but this time of year if I'm around many people I take Airborne every morning. When I do get a cold, it's the DayQuil, NyQuil routine, plus lots of liquids, tons of sleep and time in my comfy chair, wrapped in one of my wife's quilts, with a book - if I can concentrate - or movies. My wife gets whole series from the library and just plow through them. Mostly, it sleep and water, and lots of tissues. I don't go out, don't want to spread what someone else gave me.

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  26. I take Giant's CareOne cold pills that have day and night versions in the box. Now I'm retired, I can just rest, drink liquids, read, and watch TV.

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  27. Homemade ginger-lemon tea: buy a piece of ginger root and a lemon. Rinse ginger root well. Slice two inches of unpeeled ginger root and add to four cups boiling water. Summer for 15 minutes.Drink with lemon. Magic!

    Ginger root will keep for a month if you store it in a garlic keeper - So handy!

    Hope you feel better soon.

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    1. COME OVER! Next time I mean...and oh, that is great info about the garlic keeper! Brilliant. (and aw, thank you!)

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