Any tips for getting rid of a lingering cold?
December 4, 2006 7:58 AM   Subscribe

LingeringVirusFilter: I've got a cold which I haven't been able to shake for weeks. It's not bad enough to keep me off work, but it's rendering me brainless through loss of sleep and general bunged-headedness. Any suggestions?
posted by handee to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
I recently had a 'long cold', and went to see a doc. I'd neve had a cold last that long. HE prescribed some antibiotics and I got better, so it probably wasn't a cold-colds are viral, and if antibiotics helped me, whatever I had must have been bacterial.

I'd go see a doctor. There's a chance you don't have a cold, if it's still lingering.
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 8:00 AM on December 4, 2006

Have you gone to a doctor? IANAD - Potentially you may have walking pneumonia. or conversly and allergy. Anything that last longer than a week should be subject to professional review.
posted by ptm at 8:01 AM on December 4, 2006

For an instant pick-up, i actually recommend drinking cold water. though it's horrible in the cold weather (makes me feel freezing) it wakes you up and makes you a little more clear-headed for a while. at least, it seems to have that effect with me. avoid hot drinks, they'll make you sleepier.

i know this isn't actually a cure; it's just sometimes it's nice to have a temporary hold-off. im finding at the moment that due to my cold, my eyes keep going blurry, particularly when looking at monitors. so another one is to take regular breaks or get out into the fresh air.
posted by angryjellybean at 8:55 AM on December 4, 2006

IANAD, As a quick, temporary fix, I'd recommend over the counter sleeping pills or Ambien.

Deal with the sleep deprivation first, then see where you're at. You might be surprised at the speed of recovery thenceforth.
posted by Gordion Knott at 9:02 AM on December 4, 2006

Colds are a 72 hour thing.

You have a cast iron lawn dog.

Go to the doctor. Pay money. Get better.
posted by ewkpates at 9:15 AM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Cast iron lawn dog?
posted by handee at 10:28 AM on December 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

I recently had a 'long cold', and went to see a doc. I'd neve had a cold last that long. HE prescribed some antibiotics and I got better, so it probably wasn't a cold-colds are viral, and if antibiotics helped me, whatever I had must have been bacterial.

Or it means that around the same time that you got the antibiotics, you were starting to clear the "long cold" yourself anyway.

Colds are a 72 hour thing.

I'd give viral infections an average lifespan of 10 days, not 3.

Sounds like it's time to see a doctor, but sometimes, it's just a tincture of time thing--I've had lingering coughs after an upper-respiratory infection for 4-6 weeks out.

Get well soon!
posted by gramcracker at 10:56 AM on December 4, 2006

Perhaps, you ought to take a few days off work if you can, and use the long weekend to just stay in bed and rest. Eat a lot of fruit and veggies, and drink a lot of liquids and sleep a lot.
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:20 AM on December 4, 2006

Definitely could be sinusitis, which is treatable with antibiotics. Get thee to a doctor and until then, drink LOTS of water or any non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic liquid.
posted by allterrainbrain at 11:23 AM on December 4, 2006

My colds are generally a six to ten day affair, with the severity tapering off toward the end. Sleep (I find nasal spray and a couple of Benedryl will ususally do the trick) and hydration are absolutely the best things you can do for yourself.

But usually, when when my "colds" hand around that long, it's because they've set up housekeeping in my sinuses. Are you having any pain in your face, around your eyes or your back teeth? How about when you push between your eyes or on your cheekbones?

Also, do you typically have any kind of allergy problems? If you've developed a sensitivity to some kind of dust, dander, or mold in your house, the symptoms could mimic a long term cold.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:38 AM on December 4, 2006

I agree with the above advice, but if you're still trying to avoid a doctor's visit for any reason, or until you do, get perfectly regular sleep, and an hour more than is normal for you. If you're not forcing that with melatonin, nyquil or something heavier, start. Try a saline nasal rinse before bed and in the morning, take multivitamins and big doses of B Vitamins, which you can't overdo and help you process stress, and eat a diet of only the healthiest foods: water, fruit, whole grains, fish, eggs, and more veggies than anything else. Also get some sunlight.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:20 PM on December 4, 2006

My dad's had something similar for a year. He's been to doctors on and off, and the most he has been prescribed is an inhaler. (They've done lung tests on him but nothing unusual.) It started after a house paint job, but how long can paint fumes stay for?

(Then again, he may just be allergic to the house. I know I am - everytime I come back here I'm sniffling and my eyes get itchy and watery. My nose is stuffed now.)

Is there anything in your environment that may be setting off allergies?
posted by divabat at 4:31 PM on December 4, 2006

Purely anecdotal:
Two winters back I spent all of cold weather griping that I couldn't get down sick and I couldn't get well, but I never took it to the doctor. (I figured I was just being a wimp at the time.) In an unrelated conversation with the people at the blood bank, I found out later I had been negative for CMV in December and positive by February. So I think I'd show it to someone.
In the meantime, you could try Benadryl at night once or twice, it'll get you some sleep, and if it's allergies, you might feel better which would tell you something.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 5:25 AM on December 5, 2006

Get a bottle of hydrogen peroxide (3%). Lie down and put a few drops in your ear. Hear them FIZZ. Do it for both ears, for about ten minutes each, every couple of hours. After several goes the fizzing will die down. Works for me, and here's a link:
posted by roryks at 9:12 AM on December 6, 2006

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