Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Vim And Vinegar

Yesterday I started getting a cold. Last night my throat was a little scratchy, and it was a lot scratchy when I woke up this morning. A hot steamy shower only helped a little, and I left for work armed with decongestant pills and a bag of cough drops. Over the course of the day the scratchiness got worse, and by the time I left work I sounded more like a frog croaking than a human talking.

Other than the scratchiness, there weren't many other symptoms. I had no fever. My sinuses weren't stopped up, nor was my nose. Except for an intermittent dry cough (and of course the croaking) I felt fine. The things I usually do for a sore or scratchy throat...cough drops, salt water gargling, and hot tea with honey and lemon...weren't really helping much.

I didn't want the problem to linger on, so after dinner I did what any Internet savvy sicko would do--I researched my problem with Google. The second result for my search turned out to be a very informative article from HowStuffWorks called 22 Home Remedies for Laryngitis.

They suggested speaking softly and limiting my conversation (not a problem; I don't think anyone would voluntarily want to listen to me tonight). I was surprised to learn that clearing my throat actually increases the irritation, so I shouldn't do it. Until I'm better, I should avoid smokers and dusty environments (easy) and caffeine (NOT easy).

At the end of the article, they listed natural home remedies. I'd already tried many of them, but some intrigued me:
  • Ginger-Sucking on candied ginger, or brewing tea with ginger root can help soothe the inflammation.
  • Garlic-Amish and Seventh Day Adventists suggest sucking on a slice of garlic. It has antimicrobial properties that can kill bacteria and some viruses.
  • Vinegar-Gargling with vinegar, which is a weak acid, can help wipe out many organisms.
I didn't have any ginger root in the house, and I didn't want Tony kicking me out of bed tonight, so garlic was out. That left vinegar. I went to the pantry and discovered we had FIVE kinds...white, balsamic, red wine, rice wine, and apple cider. I chose the red wine, poured some in a cup, and mixed it with an equal amount of water. I stood at the kitchen sink, took a swig, and started gargling. It made my lips sting, and tasted like a way too strong vinaigrette, but a couple of minutes after I finished my throat felt less scratchy.

A half-hour later my throat still felt better, and my cough seemed less hacking. However, when I talked it was still awful-sounding. I hope that my homemade treatment and a lot of rest tonight will allow me to function at work tomorrow.

Would I look funny if I brought a vinegar cruet to work with me, just in case?

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