I started a new job yesterday (yay!). I got sick on Sunday (boo!). I need to get better fast, but how?
October 9, 2007 2:37 PM   Subscribe

I started a new job yesterday (yay!). I got sick on Sunday (boo!). I need to get better fast, but how?

I have a head cold with a possibility of a sinus infection (no insurance for 30 days, so no doc for me). Sinus pressure, the stuffies, the runnies (clear), the gooey snot (yellowish-green) and the general cloudiness that comes with a head cold.

All of this creates for a below-average job performance (I can tell I'm dragging, I don't know if they can), which is bad. I don't want my first week to give my new employers a bad impression of me, so I want to get back in the game and get rid of this cold ASAP.

I've been taking Airborne a few times a day since Sunday afternoon, and since yesterday I've been taking Sudafed (from behind the counter). I can't remember what kind. It had blue on the package. I'm also drinking lots of water and going to bed earlier than usual.

What else can I do to make this cold go away sooner than it usually does with me (anywhere from 1-2 weeks)?
posted by misanthropicsarah to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Cold-eeze has always worked for me.
posted by desjardins at 2:41 PM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Forgive me for reading beyond your question just a little, but -- you're ill, and I'm sure your boss or bosses have noticed (if they care to walk the floor at all). If I was your boss, I'd be impressed that you even showed up feeling like that -- provided you weren't liable to make the whole office sick, of course.

You obviously want to make a good impression on your first week, but if your bosses can't see that you're trying to make the best of a bad situation, then maybe they're not the kind of people you want to work for. I know I wouldn't.
posted by macdara at 2:50 PM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Airborne is a folksy scam. It's not helping you.
posted by xmutex at 2:52 PM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I swear by Advil Cold and Sinus for these things. It has always made me feel pretty close to normal.

Even if Airborne does work, it isn't designed for your scenario [already being sick]. You might be better off with a different combination of vitamins/minerals/stuff.
posted by Mozzie at 2:56 PM on October 9, 2007

Drink lots or water, take a Valium, and go to bed for as long as your schedule permits, ideally a full day (so you may have to wait until the weekend). Drink water every time you wake up.

posted by caek at 2:57 PM on October 9, 2007

I would take the max of sudafed you can (every 4 hours) or even better Advil Cold and Sinus, but not with the Sudafed as they have the same drugs in them (make sure you get the kind from behind the counter, the other stuff might as well be sugar). Also, get as much sleep as possible, I suggest Nyquil. I have studied through many a final with horrible sinus infections and this was the best combo I could find. I realize some people will yell because I'm suggesting you medicate the hell out of yourself, but it's all that has worked for me.

Also, I would get this, really clears out the sinuses.
posted by whoaali at 2:58 PM on October 9, 2007

I've been told by a doctor that if you drink plenty of fluids and get lots of rest, it should go away in 7 days. With over the counter remedies, expect it to take a week.
posted by b33j at 2:59 PM on October 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

If you're not vegan/vegetarian, the research supports drinking chicken soup.
posted by junesix at 3:13 PM on October 9, 2007

plenty of vitamins, plenty of sleep, plenty of water...but also try adding echinacea, pro-biotics, and of course zinc. If the stuffiness is really killing you, try one of these, it'll flush out your sinuses and may make you feel a lot better a lot sooner, and drug-free.
posted by Kifer85 at 3:19 PM on October 9, 2007

In addition to the Advil Cold and Sinus, rest, etc.:

• Get yourself a Neilmed Sinus Rinse Kit and follow the instructions on the bottle. Recommended to me by my ENT when I had a really nasty and persistent sinus infection. A lot of drugstores sell this, including drugstore.com.

• Grab a bottle of peppermint essential oil. Boil a pot of water and pour it into a deep mixing bowl. Pour in only one or two drops of the oil -- it's potent, so do take care not to use too much -- and inhale, with a towel over your head. Do this for about 20 minutes, tops.
posted by brina at 3:26 PM on October 9, 2007

High-dose 12-hour Sudaphed with real psuedephedrine, don't waste your time with that Sudadphed PE stuff.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 3:29 PM on October 9, 2007

Well, whatever you do, don't use one of those nose spray thingies--A. they're addictive and B. once after using one I lost my sense of smell for 12 hrs and then I googled and discovered it can be permanent. Scaresome. Avoid.

I was in a cold study in Pgh in 1995 for UPMC and the most memorable thing about it was when they got us up in the wee hours to do these nasal washes--a crew of med students banged on your hotel room door at 6 AM and came in with syringes full of warm saline which they squirted in your nostrils while you sat on the end of the hotel bed with your head tilted back. You were supposed to hold your head back and keep the saline in place for fifteen seconds or so (which is hard to do) and then whip your head forward and blast it all out into a beaker. Seriously. This happened. In America. Then they weighed the beakers and subtracted the weight of the saline and in this manner they measured your nightly snot output, which was an important datum for the study. Anyway, I highly recommend this method if you'd like to try decongesting yourself without drugs. Disgusting, but instantaneous and very effective and just about as invigorating a way to start the morning as anything you can imagine. If you don't have a crew of med students with syringes and warmed saline, Kifer85's thingie would be the next best thing.

There isn't a cure for colds, so you're going to have to function with it until it goes away. Use caffeine in the A.M. but lay off in the P.M. so as not to disturb your sleep. When you're not at work, go to bed, make yourself as comfy as possible, and remain there as long as possible. Turn off the phone and brook no interruptions. Sleep as much as you can. Eat and drink as you normally would except more comfort food and easily prepared stuff so you don't spend valuable sleeping time cooking. All that stuff about feeding and starving colds and fevers is bunkaroo and you probably don't need to flatten a lung trying to "get plenty of fluids;" plenty of fluids just means plenty of fuel for plenty of snocky. Sudafed helps with decongestion, aspirin helps with pain, caffeine can make you look briefly functional and alive, but the only things you can take that will make it go away are time and rest.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:35 PM on October 9, 2007

Best answer: I am usually the last person in the world to recommend a " natural" or home remedy but if I were you I would seriously consider using a saline solution for nasal irrigation. Just Google "saline solution nasal irrigation" and follow a link you trust. There really is no down side and it may help. Besides, is was on NPR so it must be good. Good Luck
posted by rmhsinc at 3:39 PM on October 9, 2007

Second Coldeeze (or generic zinc lozenges). That stuff's amazing.
posted by futility closet at 3:59 PM on October 9, 2007

If the congestion is keeping you from sleeping, I would consider using Afrin (nasal spray decongestant) at bed time. If you use too much it has a nasty rebound effect. (When you stop using it, your nasal lining swells up and you get congested). For this reason, I only use it once a day (instead of twice a day) and only when really needed (like when the congestion is really interfering with my sleep.)
posted by metahawk at 4:09 PM on October 9, 2007

Best answer: To get through the workday with a minimum of suffering, I swear by Theraflu. However, be aware that while it will make you feel better for about 4 hours, it only masks the symptoms of your cold/flu. If you push yourself too hard, you will very likely make yourself sicker and almost certainly prolong your illness.
posted by JustDerek at 4:18 PM on October 9, 2007

i came down with a head cold/sinus thing/almost-flu over the weekend. i cannot afford to be sick this week, as it's the first week of midterms and papers are due next week. i am almost over my sickness, so here's my advice:

- take advil cold & sinus during the day (won't make you groggy at work)

- make neo-citran extra strength and drink it an hour before bed

- take 2 nyquil gel tablets half an hour before bed

(the neo-citran and nyquil will knock you out, and will make you feel so much better when you wake up)

- upon waking up, drink a lot of water and orange juice, and take more advil cold & sinus

i started this "regimen" yesterday, and i'm almost feeling 100% again.

hope you feel better soon!
posted by gursky at 4:42 PM on October 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

The same thing happened to me two jobs ago and while I don't think my boss noticed that I was sick and being a trooper, I think I totally grossed out my office mate. So, this may be elemental but... go to the bathroom or stairwell or someplace quiet for nose-blowing and coughing fits, and make conspicuous efforts to show that you are disinfecting shared stuff like phones, copier pad buttons, etc. They'll hate you if you get them sick.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:33 PM on October 9, 2007

Ditto to Advil Cold and Sinus. It makes all the difference to me and really allows me to function at work. Although, like b33j said, nothing will really shorten the cold.
posted by ms.v. at 6:27 PM on October 9, 2007

zinc is truly great--speaking from experience here. it might be too late for that, since you're supposed to take it early, but give it a try. it won't hurt.

in the meantime, take tylenol for headache and fever, and a decongestant with an expectorant (guaifinesin) for the mucus.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:35 PM on October 9, 2007

nthing the cold & flu medications containing pseudoephedrine & paracetamol. The Day/Night packs really do make all the difference in keeping you awake, alert and snot free during the day and getting a good nights sleep.

It's best to attack the cold before it gets a grip on you. It's a bit late now, but for future reference I've found doing a mega C flush at the very first sign of a runny nose, itchy throat, etc stops a cold dead in it's tracks.
I get out the powdered vit C (non-acidic, with Bioflavinoids) and whatever fruit juice I'm in the mood for. At least every hour, drink a glass with juice with 1/2 teaspoon of C mixed in. Continue until you reach bowel tolerance, then stop taking the C for that day. Start again the following day, but you can stop just short of bowel tolerance if you wish. I do this for a few days, even though I'll be feeling fine by day 2.
My daughter has had early cold symptoms twice in the last month, and both times I pointed her at the C & both times she was fine by the following day.
posted by goshling at 8:50 PM on October 9, 2007

Response by poster: thanks for all the advice folks. i stopped and got advil cold and sinus, theraflu, coldeeze and nyquil on the way to work this am. hopefully i'll be good for work today and can knock myself out tonight.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:50 AM on October 10, 2007

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