Kill those Buggies!


Hack, hack, cough, gasp, wheeze, snort… where’s the tissue?  Wheeze, snork, gasp… 


I really hate to be the bearer of sad tidings however, guess what season is just around the corner?  Correctamundo!  ‘Tis almost that time of year to welcome our frequent visitors, Carol Cold and Freddy Flu.  How special…


So after the initial sniffing and blowing, what’s the next thing we invariably do?  Correct again!  We reach for the nearest bottle of Handy Dandy Dry Up and Anti-Drip elixir.  Hey, we just gotta take “something” to help alleviate the misery these danged buggies are causing.  Gotta take a pill.  Gotta slug down some of that miracle Anti-Symptom juice.  Gotta do it!  Snork…  Now!


OK, let’s pull over to the side of the road and take a short thinking break here.  To start with, I need to remind you that my parents gave me the first name of “Gene” and not “Doctor” so please feel free to giggle, scoff at or laugh out loud if you wish at what I’m about to say.  It’s just old Gene’s slightly skewed common sense approach to “killing buggies”.


Let’s start with the basics.  I’ve found that if we’re in decent physical condition as a result of a fairly logical diet perhaps supplemented with a multivitamin – and get a reasonable amount of exercise and sleep, we’re fairly well prepared to combat the common garden variety of buggies.  I think drinking a lot of coffee may help too, but I’m not real sure about that part. 


As a result, our bodies have a sustained innate intelligence and ability to start fighting any foreign invasion almost immediately.  And if left to its own devices, that is exactly what our bodies will do.  Within just a few hours, we’ll produce a pile of little soldiers that will begin marching against the enemy.  Our temperature will rise to create an uncomfortable environment for our unwelcome guests.  Bodily orifices will flow to provide emergency exits for the invaders.  And son-of-a-gun, about a week (or 7 to 10 days – your choice) later, we’ll be back to our old selves and feeling pretty perky again.


Our bodies are really an amazing collection of organs.  So many capabilities, including the ability to successfully fight off – all on its own – a host of invading buggies.  Sure, there are exceptions because we all know there are some monster microscopic critters maneuvering their way through the human population and these will certainly require super weapons to wipe ‘em out.  That’s why there are a bunch of folks out there with the first name of “Doctor”.  They know what weapons to use. 


I think however, that for the common, mundane ailments, our attempts to alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms of these diseases may actually tend to interfere sometimes with our body’s natural ability to fight these minor infections.  One big example of a common abuse is the use of antihistamines to relieve cold symptoms – specifically a runny nose.  Guess what?  It ain’t agonna work well.  A cold’s runny nose is cause by a virus, not the body’s production and release of histamines (little guys that are made to fight allergy-type invaders).  As a result, antihistamines unfortunately tend to reduce the flow of the mucus from the nose which is the very thing that is helping to purge the body of the cold virus.  We’re slammin’ the exit door closed!  It’s much better to keep blowin’ – and oh yeah, wash your hands a lot so you’re not contaminating everything you touch.


How about that danged cough?  What an annoyance!  Watch out though.  If it’s “productive” (getting gunk out of your lungs), it’s best to let it work for you.  An expectorant and plenty of water can help get the mucus out.  Leave the “DM” labeled products to help alleviate the non-productive dry cough.


All stopped up?  Well OK, a decongestant can help relieve the symptoms but if you’re pregnant, nursing, have high blood pressure or heart problems, you’d better check with your doctor before taking any of these.


A really uncomfortable fever or headache?  Any of the usual pain-killers – aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc. will help.  Just remember one thing; none of these medications will help cure your cold or flu.  They’re only going to alleviate the symptoms.  With or without them, in about a week your body will have done its job and you should be feeling much better.


So here’s my bottom line suggestion.  Instead of rushing out immediately at the very first hint of a cold or flu, to stock up on an inordinate quantity of over-the-counter medications, you might be better off to just hang loose for awhile.  Just back off and let your body do its job.  Like I said before, if you’re in decent physical condition to begin with you may be pleasantly surprised at just how efficiently your body handles its buggy killing assignment.  And sure, if you really start to get uncomfortable, then take an appropriate medication at a logical dosage to help relieve the symptoms.  I’ll bet you’ll be pretty well healed up in about 7 to 10 days!



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