Originally Posted 2 years ago on Leading Ladies Columbus.
What is the difference between the cold and the flu? For the past two months I have been dealing with a cold and a dry persistent cough. Each cold has occurred after flying on an airplane and has left residual symptoms. Well, today it got me to thinking after receiving an email about coughs. In America we have declared October to May, Flu season. Wow! A whole season dedicated to being sick. Only in American do we do this. The more I thought about it. The more I wondered why the flu gets its own personal season. We don’t have eczema season or broken leg season. Yet, during the summer we see a rise in eczema and in the spring we see more kids with broken legs (sports related), but we don’t call it a season. You know why? There is no big money in eczema or broken leg season in comparison to cold or flu. We will never see the shelves of our drug stores lined with broken leg or skin rash treatments because we don’t have a wide variety of these options available for treatment. There are only a few creams that typically treat eczema and a broken leg typically requires a cast or boot of some sort.
Whoever created “flu season” was a marketing genius. If we fool the people into thinking that there is a season for it, we can prepare for it, create marketing strategies and create a wide variety of drugs to treat it. This marketing strategy is so genius that we have created medication just for the signs and symptoms of cold. The cold and flu season is a billion dollar business. It is single handedly the best marketing strategy. We all know that there is no cure for the common cold. Yet, how many of us get the Flu vaccine? I thought vaccination meant prevention. But, if you are like me, the two times that I took the “Flu Shot” within days I had the Flu. What a joke, right? Here’s where I want you to put your thinking caps on. Why take a vaccine for preventing the Flu, when each year there is a new strand of the Flu? The current strand is not what we are being vaccinated for. Therefore, how could it prevent? As I said before marketing genius. I should have bought stock.
Think about it, in no other condition do we treat just the symptoms per se. As a naturalist, I look to natural remedies for cold and flu, but the last time I got sick, my hubby threatened me and I caved in and went to the drug store in search for a cure. It had been awhile since I’d been on the cold/flu isle in the drug store. So when I saw my choices, the look of sheer panic was in my eyes. How could I choose? There were too many medications to choose from. If I chose the medication with dry eyes, runny nose then I wouldn’t be treated with the one for the dry cough. If I got the medication that had cough suppressant, sneezing and itchy nose, then I couldn’t get the one with the aches and pain. And let’s not forget whether or not I needed with sleeping aid or without drowsiness. Now why would I want to be drowsy with the flu? Wouldn’t I want to be awake or asleep? Somehow being drowsy with the flu would probably make me feel worse; to have the flu and couldn’t sleep would irritate me to no end. I settled for the Tylenol Theraflu. It was back on the market after being removed and this always made me feel better years ago even if it did not do anything to treat me. It’s like chicken soup. Somehow it makes you feel better taking it when you are sick.
As I began to read the email that I received about the different kinds of cough, I begin thinking about my own persistent cough. It had become a growing concern for me as I interacted with the public. My coughing had become an attention grabber, especially at restaurants. With the anxiety level of everyone due to Ebola, I am looked at more suspiciously as my coughing spells takes center stage. I can’t explain to everyone that looks at me that my coughing spells are a side effect of a new medication that my doctor put me on to treat another condition and that while I have discontinued that medication that I have no guarantee that this cough will go away. Thank you modern medicine! I continually fight with my family, friends and doctors when it comes to treating certain conditions. My answer is the same, a cold and the flu will go away if left untreated. For those of you who will say that the cold will turn into the flu if left untreated, this is not medically true. A cold is a different virus from the flu. The cold does not mutate to the flu. The flu is the flu. Our society has been filled with unfounded beliefs and because my grandmother and your grandmother do not hold MD degrees then their old wives, homebrews, and concoctions cannot possibly work to the medical professionals.
Never mind the “white lightening” (my treatment of choice now) that your grandmother gave you that cut the cold in half the time and as we say “pulled the cold right out of you.” Or the gin, lemon and honey that stop you from coughing up a lung. Who’s to say that Echinacea didn’t treat the cold that you had or the cold liver oil that made you spend an evening in the bathroom wasn’t therapeutic? I can recall feeling like I was at death’s door when a member from the church brought me “white lightening” to take the last time I had the Flu. I credit her with my ability to be on this side of life because death came “a knocking” with the last Flu bout I had.
Since we don’t have a cure for the cold/flu conventionally or homeopathically, your choice of treatment is whatever works for your body’s chemistry. I personally believe that virus/bacteria in, virus/bacteria out. If some foreign or toxic substance has invaded my body, I try to employ every avenue to rid my body of it. For me the pathway to least resistance is to remove the virus through the bowels. That’s what it was created for. REMOVING TOXINS. Whether it is an enema, colonic, or vomiting the key is to remove the offense from the body. Supportive care with something that will soothe sore throat (honey) and relieve congestion (aromatherapy) and balanced nutrition (chicken soup) are my go to remedies. I haven’t bought into the Flu season. Just a few weeks ago, a friend and I attended a craft fair and you wouldn’t believe someone was there selling flu shots. I’m like; you have to be kidding me. Really? A Flu shot at a craft fair. It really is big business. I can’t go anywhere or watch television without someone urging me to take a Flu Shot. This is big business and we all are embracing it. If each year there is a new strain of the flu virus, please help me understand that by injected the strain from the year before will help me with the new strand for the current year. (Buyer Beware.)
Here is a really cool, free way to prevent the cold and flu. WASH YOUR HANDS! This has still proven to be the most effective prevention. These viruses can only infect if you place contaminated hands in eyes, nose or mouth. So take the extra precaution and wash hands. When coming into contact with inanimate surfaces clean the areas and then disinfect. This is important and why I will digress for a moment.
Hand sanitizers are not efficient at keeping you protected from colds and the flu. Hand sanitizers are usually made with alcohol and gel. The alcohol is the only active ingredient in the sanitizer. The gel and the other ingredients are just fillers. To effectively clean the hand the sanitizer needs to be at least 62% alcohol. While many say that they have 62% alcohol one must argue that with all the added ingredients are you getting at least 62% alcohol. Additionally there is a required time that it has to be on the hand in order to clean. All bacteria may not be dead. This will give you a false sense of security.
To enlighten you on a much needed conversation, there is a difference between cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting and antibacterialization. For an object to be disinfected or sanitized is needs to be cleaned first. So the surface area needs to be cleaned first. This is why I struggle with hand sanitizers and to the dismay of my friends who know that I won’t accept hand sanitizers at lunch when offered is because I know the truth. I would much rather use soap and good old fashion water. The CDC maintains that hand sanitizers are good when soap and water are not an option.
To get back to my coughing situation, I found myself in the store after a gentleman darted his eyes at me in a restaurant and with his eyes asked me, do you have Ebola? I was out of town this past weekend and did not have my usual homemade remedies. As I perused the shelves at Wal-Mart ( I was out of town) for a cough suppressant I was paralyzed with what cough suppressants to take. I mean I literally couldn’t make up my mind because if I bought one bottle that treated this type of cough then I would I miss out on the other benefits of the other medication with the other kind of cough. What is one to do in situations like this? I closed my eyes and I picked one. What could possible go wrong. All of them must work since they are on the shelf, right?
It never occurred to me during this pressure to take a cough syrup that I was trying to treat something that I already knew the origin of. I was trying to suppress something that I know I should never suppress. A cough is a God designed event to get rid of something that is in the respiratory tract that should not be there. Why would I cave into the pressure of pleasing someone else at the expense of my health? How many of us flock to the drug store because we do not want to be one coughing or sneezing at work? Or better yet, I don’t want to be around someone who is constantly coughing. We all know that it is annoying to others. Rather than sympathy, we excommunicate others and treat people like they have the plague when they have the flu or coughs. As I sit and type, I’m thinking that a cough is a reminder that God built my body to heal itself. I’m also reminded that my cold or a cough doesn’t make me sick. It’s just a condition to my environment. So, I am not in a season. Because I don’t live in a bubble, things happen. I won’t give a cold or flu the credit this year. In fact, I will largely ignore it. Just because it’s here doesn’t mean I have to acknowledge it.