The Common Cold and God’s Cure for What Ails Us

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Well, recently, despite my best efforts to keep dastardly viruses at bay, I fell to the common cold.

I’m immensely thankful for today’s medical science. But, I mean, really, it’s 2015, and the common cold is still kicking our tails?

The stats say that most adults in our land will catch four colds a year. That’s three-and-a-half more than I find acceptable.

It’s not just that I’m a wimp. Or that my colds are far, far worse than my wife’s. She gets one, feels rotten, doesn’t like it, but ploughs through. I get one—clearly a much stronger, amped up, very nearly terminal, vicious sort of virus—and, while I’m oozing mucous out of every pore in my body, I rage against the universe and wax philosophical about human suffering.

I make my living making sounds other than those connected with nose-blowing and sneezing. Preaching. Singing. A cold is a slap at my livelihood.

So what to do? Fight the enemy!

I’m no doctor, and my attorney friends tell me to tell you that the following is just me shooting the sneeze (I mean, the breeze) and is not medical advice at all.

Some of the following is advice from physician friends; some is just from my own germophobic brain. But it’s my battle plan. I like to think some of this has shortened my colds. More likely, it just gives me something to do while the cold kicks my rear for the requisite 10-14 days.

Some is preventative. Wash your hands. A lot. Buy hand sanitizer by the bucket. Keep your hands off your face. Avoid sneezers, oozers, and infectors.

When the battle is on . . .

Humidity. Humidifiers. Long showers. Hot water on the wash cloth. Your red nose behind it.

Gargle to pull the virus welcome mat out of your throat. (One smart doc says 1/2 glass water, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp peroxide.) I use it whenever I see a virus coming. When it’s hit. When it’s leaving. 

Saline nasal rinse (squeeze bottle or neti pot). Nasal decongestant. (The behind-the-counter “sign for it” stuff that works.) Mucinex. Xlear nasal spray (gentle snot solvent). Industrial nasal spray (as a last resort and not much not long). Zinc lozenges (like Cold-eeze). I’ll swear they shorten/ameliorate it. Vitamin C, echinacea. (Dunno if they work. Probably won’t hurt.) Antihistamine (for vocalists, only if you must). A flood (as in a gallon a day) of water, especially if you needed antihistamine lest you suffocate.

For vocalists, if you’ve gotta sing/speak sick. Slippery elm tea (like Throat Coat Tea), Vocal Zone or other lozenges for singers, honey lozenges (avoid menthol), green tea & honey, and a slow swallow of straight honey before you sing. In concert, talk a little more, sing a little less. It is possible and sometimes necessary to sing around a cough drop. Just don’t suck it down the wrong pipe as you’re going for a high note.

Chicken soup. (Heavy on the pepper.) Fruit. A good book. Lots of sleep. Hibernation heals.

And a little laughter and perspective while you’re sniffling never hurts. We humans tend to be silly creatures. We can’t even dodge cold bugs, much less save ourselves from sin’s infection.

Thank God indeed for his Cure for what really ails us.


    You’re invited to visit my website at! Did I mention that music is good for a cold!? Well, it won’t hurt.




Copyright 2015 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.


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