Cure for the Common Cold

AirborneThere are few feelings of dread worse than that first indication of a sore throat in the middle of a steady barrage of intensive plans for your immediate future. The idea that the roll you’re on — all the tightly paced contingencies and deadlines you’ve scheduled over the next few weeks — can be interrupted by time resigned to bed, or at least complicated by the discomfort of sneezing and coughing, is a rude reminder of human fallibility. That’s how I felt on Wednesday afternoon, as my throat grew noticeably more and more constricted when I swallowed, and all the deadlines staring me down over the next week suddenly looked dicey.

Rest and Recuperate

People with heartier constitutions than mine might prefer just to work through a cold, but when this happens to me, I always seem to succumb to the symptoms instead and wind up in bed for days at a time. Partly that’s because, after multi-tasking and over-extending myself for months on end, I feel like a cold is the only way my body can unilaterally demand rest. I certainly don’t enjoy the sneezing, coughing, wheezing and reduced strength of illness, but in some ways, I secretly relish the time away from the rat race. It’s nice to sit at home and be responsible for much, much less than I would be at full health, to be able to watch a stack of rented movies and nap whenever I like. When else do I allow myself that kind of luxury?

Miracle Drug

That didn’t quite happen this time. A friend of mine recommended Airborne, an all-natural remedy that you drop in a glass of water, watch fizz and then drink, Alka-Seltzer-style. I’d never heard of it before, but apparently it’s wildly popular; three pharmacies I visited were sold out and advised me that, whenever it was that they’d get new shipments, their supplies would sell out again immediately.

That’s because this stuff works really well. I can attest to that. After taking regular doses of Airborne since Thursday, it’s warded off most of the messier symptoms of my routine bug — four days into this, I still have no coughing, sneezing or congestion. I’m functional and relatively unencumbered by cold symptoms, which is pretty amazing. What’s more, taking this stuff has allowed me to continue plugging away at my desk, which I’ve been doing all weekend with reasonable success. As a result, I’ll be able to make my deadlines on Monday and Tuesday, where I might otherwise have not. I guess I should be thankful to Airborne for that, but I can’t help but think to myself that it would have been nice to have been able to sit on my ass all weekend, too.

  1. I just took this stuff for the first time a few weeks ago as well and had a similar experience trying to find a store that wasn’t sold out. However — and I could be totally wrong on this — it seemed like all it did was load you up on vitamins to help your immunity (nothing new there) and herbs to help you feel peppier (again nothing new).

    I think that in the end, what makes Airborne work is just two long-known treatments combined together, plus a HEAVY HEAVY dose of psychosomatic effects caused by every single person and their mother talking about how great the stuff is. Know what I mean? I mean, any word-of-mouth that would cause me to visit 7 drugstores looking for the stuff is surely strong enough to have an effect on me… whether it actually works or not.

    I met a guy in our NYC office two days ago who drinks the stuff every 2-3 hours when he gets symptoms… surely heavy overkill there.

    And just as a final thought: Upon looking at the ingredients of Airborne and tasting it for the first time, I began thinking that it might be a good daily morning drink regardless of if you’re sick or not. Better than coffee, that’s for sure. Loads you up on vitamins, doesn’t taste bad, and the herbs provide a coffee-like stimulant effect. What could be bad about ingesting some every morning?

  2. Mike: “Psychosomatic effects” is not an unreasonable conclusion to draw, but I tend not to think that’s the case with me anyway. I heard similar hype about Cold-Eez, but they never really seemed to help me. On Airborne as an idea for morning drink: it certainly tastes decent enough for consideration. You have a point about overkill though; I bet some of Airborne’s effectiveness is diminished with repeated use.

  3. What could be bad about ingesting some every morning?

    The small crater the stuff will burn in your wallet.

    Just kidding, of course–preventative measures are far less expensive in the long term than visits to the doctor and over-the-counter remedies.

    The first time I went to buy the Airborne stuff I visited a local, natural food grocer. The woman behind the counter said that they don’t carry the stuff because it contains a known carcinogenic (or something to that effect). She pointed me to Emergen-C packets (similar stuff, I use them all the time on roadtrips).

    I ended up getting the Airborne stuff down the road at Trader Joe’s.

  4. Yeah, I tried airborne once and it worked. I was impressed. Tried it another time and it didn’t. Same with Emergen-C, Cold Eze, vitamin therapy, drinking a ton of water, etc. I have no freaking idea what works.

    Personally I think when one of these remedies works it’s kinda like when a psychic guesses something right about you; it’s pretty impressive when it happens…

  5. Here in Blighty we have some heavy tranq called Berocca (made by Bayer). I’m not sure it’s available Stateside. It’s got about 800% of the recommended daily dose of vit-C, plus a bunch of other vits and mins.

    It turns your wee bright orange! Beroccan roll!

  6. another brit here – but I thought Berocca was massively high in vitamin B (and thus great for “the day after hangovers”.

    I religously slurp down a glass of water with a Redoxin (made by Roche) dissolved in it. Plunk, fizz, drink. The vitamin C content according to the tube is 1667% your daily allowance!!! Plus its got 67% of your daily Zinc which is always good for colds.

    Since I started… not a cold to be had!

  7. If your “Wee” turns orange, then that should be a warning. It means your body has absorbed enough vit C and it is trying to get rid of it.
    If you use the high dosage too long, you might end up with kidney stones….

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