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Cold and Flu
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The cold and flu season is in full swing. Everyone seems to have their own remedy to prevent or get rid of colds and flu.

Yet it seems no matter what we do the bug arrives when it wants and doesn't leave until it becomes bored with us. It has a mind of it's own and unless we abuse it, or make it mad, it will leave in a reasonable amount of time.

What are your remedies old and new? Please help the rest of us out! We'll try anything, or most anything anyway.

I remember the ten-cent box of Smith Brothers black licorice cough drops. In later years we got Cherry and Honey. What a relief!

Friends tell me their mother would put a mustard plaster on their chest. My mother was a Vicks person. When my children got a chest cold I continued the tradition and rubbed them with Vicks and put a clean flannel cloth pinned to their pj tops. I have to admit when I feel a cold coming on I still use Vicks. We used vaporizers a lot. Do they still?

Before tissues we'd go through a ton of handkerchiefs during a cold.

My father's remedy for most everything was "gargle and take a laxative" What if we had diarrhea? "Gargle and take a laxative". His other cure was a hot whiskey punch and his was the absolute best. Plus, it was the only time we teenagers got alcohol.

One winter many years later I seemed to have a slight cough. Every night my husband made me a whiskey concoction punch before bed - for the entire season! Come spring I no longer needed the warm comforting drink.

For himself, when he felt a cold coming on my husband would drink blackberry brandy, put on a sweatshirt and according to him "sweat it out".

My grandmother swore by Bock beer in the spring as a tonic for a spring "cleanout."

I had a friend who fainted occasionally and carried smelling salts. I asked for them at the pharmacy recently and they didn't carry them. Have you tried to buy ipecac or coke syrup lately?

Can you still get oil of clove for a toothache?

There's nothing like ginger ale, especially Vernors, for that upset stomach. This year when I had the flu they flooded me with Gatorade so as not to become dehydrated.

Our grandmothers had it right with chicken soup - even the fumes are helpful.

The other one that is consistent is the washing of the hands, only now we use antibiotic soap! But is that good or bad? We also carry hand sanitizers with us.

The thermometer has really progressed from our bottoms to the mouth, to under the arm and now the ear. From 3 minutes to 3 seconds. Way to go thermometers!

I was first introduced to Nyquil by a nun friend of mine who said, "The nuns really swear by it they take it every night till they're really sure they're better." Everyone seems to love Nyquil! Dayquil? Well, it's ok too.

When my children were little we lined up at public buildings (we had to go 3 times) to get the swine flu shot or was it for polio? I also remember the sugar cubes. Do you remember which was which? Now they have to beg people to get the flu shot.

The pillbox industry has become sophisticated. Not just the small box to carry one aspirin (do you remember the little tins you'd press the corner and the top would open?) but boxes with days of the week, time of the day; some even have little jewels on top. Some have timers that ring to remind you it's time, or dials to show you took the pill.

Preventive remedies - well that can be a column of its own. But to mention a few: some people swear by zinc, and vitamin C. Take a glass of wine a day, have a beer; Alcohol is good but only in small amounts. Don't take alcohol at all. Make up your minds!

Ginger for upset stomach, cinnamon to prevent diabetes. Green tea? Got to drink green tea! Caffeine good or bad? What day of the week is it? Eggs, depends on who you ask. Butter or margarine, what year is it. Put butter on a burn. No. Use ice or run cold water on it.

Feed a cold and starve a fever? I say, "don't starve anything." It's enough to make your head spin. And then you'd need aspirin!

Remember the old saying "take two aspirin, and call the doctor in the morning"? If you can get the doctor he'll be more concerned about the aspirin. Was it coated? Did you have something to drink with it? Hope you didn't lie down for at least 2 minutes so it doesn't put a hole in your stomach. And so on.

Then there are the clothing issues. If you went out without boots or got your feet wet you were sure to get sick (or is it a virus that does that?) When I was a child, some kids took their boots off at the movies because keeping rubber on that long put a drain on the eyes!

Most of them are not made of rubber anymore, and boots are worn all day. They're a fashion item, but how we hated them then! How upset the old wives would have been.

Are we sitting too close to the television or does it matter? One winter a group of us took swimming lessons and came home with wet hair twice a week. None of us got sick that winter. Stupid or lucky?

We advertised our ailments with signs on the door "Mumps", "Chicken Pox", "Measles". Today everything is private. We are not allowed to know that someone is carrying a contagious or deadly disease. It's their business - or is it?

We carry our x-rays home with us; they belong to us and not the doctors. We can now read the doctors notes (that is if we want to). Glass is put up to block the waiting room so no one can hear you talking to the receptionist.

However it's rumored that they want to put up private information on the Internet. Make up your minds!

It's all too much for me. Please hand me the Kleenex and the Nyquil and, well ok, I'll have a little punch too. Nighty, night.

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