The Cold and Flu Blues:  Part Two

“I say, if you catch a cold then why can’t you just throw it away?”

Today we’ll look at some old school remedies that Grumpy has encountered as he has gone up one side and down the other in his journey over the hill. He is speaking from experience now since he has tested each and every one of them. (Some under parental duress, mind you.)

You can take them with a grain of salt or several grains for that matter, given my first two examples.

Gargle With Salt Water (SALT #1) :

Mix a little salt in some warm water, then stir and gargle with that concoction. I heard a Doctor say that this is one of the best preventative measures for colds. It kills germs on contact.GARGLEimagesCAHXWI38

The trouble is, as I remember, I grew up with two parents that swallowed salt water in order to make themselves throw up when they were feeling ill. (I used that technique a few times to skip school).

So be careful when you’re gargling because if you accidently swallow, your cold may quickly escalate into the flu!


Shoot A Saline (SALT #2) Solution Up Your Nose:

This technique is both old school and new school. I remember the old folks in my family mixing up their own concoctions and using SALINEeyedroppers to irrigate their nasal passages.  This technique is opposite to what happens when you laugh too hard whilst drinking a carbonated beverage. But, the effect is just about the same! I’m saying keep a handful of tissue at arm’s length.

You can purchase any variety of this solution from your druggist. Not only will they contain the saline solution you require but they might contain other things such as aloe and tissue soothing solutions.

Most claim that, “The gentle mist will soften and loosen mucus in the nose and moisten nasal membranes.”

Be forewarned that softened and loosened mucus might just flow out of you as if it was flowing from a hole in a dyke. I do not prescribe sticking your finger in the hole to stem the flow, particularly while you are driving. Again, keep a handful of tissue at arm’s length.

I’ve been using this technique for two years now, and by irrigating my nostrils daily, I have noticed a real decline in the number and the severity of colds I’ve caught. And, now when I sneeze over a plate of French there is no need to grab the salt shaker.

The Mustard Plaster:

Get this! My mother spreads a mustard paste mixture (made from hot mustard powder) between two pieces of cheese cloth then attaches same to my chest with safety pins pinned to my “jammy” top.Mustard


If you think it burns when you put A535 on your body after a bath – then you haven’t experienced this method of childhood torture. In the morning this “plaster” has turned to just that. It feels like a solid piece of cardboard and it smells like someone’s butt.

You can try this technique if you like, but Grumpy still maintains that just being plain “plastered” is the least of two evils.

The Steamer:

Picture a little ceramic thingy with a heating element. You plug into the wall socket.

Fill with water and place at bedside. Slather Vicks Vapour Rub at the steam vent opening. Hot steam is emitted supposedly clearing your passages as you breathe the warm moist air.

But don’t reach out in the night or you might receive third degree burns when that sucker tips over. There’s also the danger of the imagesCA1J2E33water boiling off and having the element overheat thus starting a fire. I’d stare at that thing for hours worrying that, what was there to cure me, just might kill me.

When my father had a cold, he’d fill the sink with boiling hot water, lean over the porcelain bowl then completely cover his head with a huge towel. He’d breathe in and blow out that warm moist air like a huffing and puffing steam engine.

Now, I prefer to breathe in my warm moist air in a subtropical climate like Florida. You can even do it while lying in the sun and soaking up massive doses of Vitamin D.

The Wet Towel Tied Around the Neck Technique:

Ok, you’ve got a sore throat that’s been killing you for days. No problem. Mother soaks a towel and wraps it around my neck before bedtime. The ever popular safety pin (the giant diaper size) is used to hold said garrote in place.

“Good night, little Grumpy, I Hope you feel better in the morning!”

Hell, I hope I’m alive in the morning.

This ligature technique surely wouldn’t be considered safe today. Besides I’ve had those safety pins pop open in the night, giving me a body piercing I neither wanted nor expected.

Massive Doses of Cod Liver Oil

It may prevent scurvy but my mother also believed it prevented/cured colds. Imagine  drinking the oil squeezed from a cod’s liver. It tasted worse than Buckley’s and smelled like rotting fish. The odor lingered on your AAAcodbreath for hours. Better to squeeze my liver and drink those oils because I can guarantee you that the alcohol content is sufficient to kill those microbes- DEAD!

Charlie the Tuna must be laughing his ass off, given the fate of his cod friends and their oily livers.

I guess the choice is yours. If you get a cold or the flu you can follow Grumpy’s lead or you can take the retro approach and apply some of these “Old wives’ tale” techniques for both torture and relief.

But, you’ll have to excuse me now, I’ve got to run and go blow my nose. And, remember this, take heed of what my dear departed father would often advise, “Don’t get a cold in your blow hole, Grumpy!”

Whatever did he mean by that?

Oh, my!


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