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Germaphobes Beware!!

Not for the Squeamish

Picture of my box of tissue, bag of Halls cough drops, Vicks Vapor Rub, inhaler, and oral decongestantI feel like crap. It’s happened again within the span of three weeks.

It began as a sore throat and I don’t mean any old sore throat, no ma’am, this sore throat pain was the pinnacle of all sore throats. As a matter of fact it was so bad that I had to break down and do the old school remedy of gargling with warm salt water (my grandma would be so proud). My distaste for gargling is right up there with the sore throat.

At any rate by this time (I already know the drill) a day or two of excruciating throat pain, congestion, coughing, sneezing, stuffy head, achy body, wheezing, and worst of all the clogged/runny nose. I’ve gone through two boxes of Puffs plus lotion in two days and there’s no end in sight.

I’ve blown my nose so hard and so frequently – this next part is gross (hey, I gave you fair warning) with copious amounts of discharge I felt my head was literally going to explode and I still can’t breathe.

I find nothing more annoying than trying to suck air into completely blocked nostrils. And don’t even get me started on needing to swallow while trying not to clog the ears. Actually, now that I think about it clogged ears are right up there with the stuffy nose and sore throat. Seriously, I feel so miserable I want to cry but I know crying will only compound the issue so I continue bravely onward.

For a self-confessed germophobe, this yucky issue is totally overwhelming. To give you a glimpse of what I’m talking about, it goes something like this:

  • I’ve just blown my nose
  • Discarded the germ infested tissue
  • Applied hand sanitizer
  • Slather on lotion (because I don’t like how my hands feel after the sanitizer)
  • Repeat two to three minutes later

And who could be sick without the following essentials?

  • Tissues
  • Cough Drops
  • Decongestant
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Inhaler
  • Lip Balm
  • Lotion
  • Vapor Rub
  • Tissue Disposal Unit

Blame it on the Illness

Cold Buster Kit containing lemons, honey, hat, blanket, neti pot and healing balm image found on Pinterest via FJ
Cold Buster Kit Pinterest via FaireJour

Being sick clouds my thinking and I find the most ridiculously absurd thoughts floating around my brain. For example I was planning to write a post on another health related topic when out of the clear blue I wanted to know if it was possible to get rid of all the gunk in my nose.

So I went to the ever faithful Google and did a search that returned 1,880,000 results. This told me three things: 1) I am not alone 2) there is a serious debate on whether to blow or not to blow 3) this is a serious situation of magnitude proportions that requires major attention. Out of all the things ever invented why can’t someone invent a way to eliminate or completely eradicate the clogged nose?

The only thing that has helped my current dilemma was going through some of the Google results. Granted there were a few things I didn’t want to know but there were some pretty funny and informative articles as well. I even found a 9-step instructional guide to blowing your nose (with pictures no less) on WikiHow (for the curious click HERE).

So what did I learn from this critical research?

  1. Brain leaks and brain eating amoebas are rare
  2. The “normal” (no allergies or sickness) nose produces up to 20 ounces of mucus a day (this is one of those things I did not need to know)
  3. Clogged nose issues begin with swollen blood vessels and not mucus (though the body does generate more mucus when sick)
  4. The intranasal pressure on blowing the nose is more forceful than sneezing or coughing
  5. Blowing the nose can actually cause mucus to back up into the sinuses (another bit of info I was better off not knowing)
  6. Decongestants in the form of a pill or nasal spray can help to relieve the swelling of the blood vessels but if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, glaucoma or diabetes  you cannot use these medications as they increase heart rate and blood pressure
  7. According to one source, the correct way to use a decongestant spray is to “kneel on the floor with your head on the ground or lean over the edge of a table or chair so that your head is forward.” Now I gotta go there, can you imagine doing this in a meeting at work, in church, in the supermarket?
  8. Contrary to popular belief steam is not effective
  9. It’s best when blowing the nose to do so gently one nostril at a time

In conclusion, one of my friends swears by the neti pot (a sinus rinsing device) but care must be exercised when using the device see FDA’s recommendations HERE. Personally, I have an aversion to the rinsing of the sinuses for fear of accidental drowning but that’s just me.

“Always look on the bright side of life. Otherwise it’ll be too dark to read.” ~Author Unknown


13 thoughts on “Germaphobes Beware!!

  1. Steph, Ugh! Hope you’re doing better. I’m of the old school – hot salt water gargles, plenty of clean water and no fragrance-containing tissues, lotions and no hand sanitizers, just thorough hand-washing with soap – for me it’s Lava; my hubby likes Dr. Bronners, but it dries out my hands too much.


    1. Hi Donna, I really took a beating this go-round. Haven’t been this sick in a long time and one week later I’m still recovering but doing considerably better than last week. Pretty worn out though and I’m hoping I can get back to normal asap. I don’t like the fragrant tissues but after trying the the ones with the lotion I like the way they soothe my nose. I probably should adopt the old school way of doing things (the hand sanitizers, etc. have probably weaken my immune system). Thorough hand washing is the way to go but I’m addicted to my antibacterials, even though it seems they’re not serving their intended purpose. Oh well – I’ll learn.

  2. […] will be forthcoming. Per yesterday’s post I’m still under the weather however in the interim please enjoy one of my favorite […]

  3. With my kidney transplant I can’t take many cough medications. This leaves me very miserable when I have a cold. I am somewhat of a Germer fold. Now when I get sick my mind starts to imagine the actual germs, when I have a sore throat, and I start to get anxious.
    When I was in Ireland I caught a particularly nasty cold from the tour group. I couldn’t even speak when I arrived home…no telling my family all about my trip.
    I had a gross buildup of mucus at the back of my throat and I felt almost closterphobic and I felt panicky being all alone. Lucky I could write and send email to family if I needed help. Otherwise I was totally cut off from the rest of the world.
    Anyway…did not mean to offer up more than necessary information.
    Feel better soon. I have already been sick twice this winter. Low immune system. It can really suck. Take it easy.

    1. Awe Kerry, I’m so sorry to hear about you being so sick. You were in Ireland not too long ago right? I thought I saw something on Facebook but can’t trust my rusty memory anymore.

      Being sick is a definite downer though. Today I thought I was feeling a little better then I had to lay down early in the afternoon and slept till evening.

      This is number 2 for me as well. Thing is it happened within a short span of time. I usually will get sick maybe once in a season but not within 2-3 weeks.

      You take care as well. To be sick with a low immune system is probably ten times worse than what I’m going through.

      1. Oh no, actually, I was in Ireland back in 2011, but I have been sick this winter, just before Christmas and again a few weeks ago. Just getting over that second bout of sickness, last thing to go is the cough.
        Hope the both of us are back to ourselves soon.

      2. Me to Kerry, I’m sick of being sick.

  4. Ugh. Feel better. I had something similar in November. I have used the Neti Pot before and it works, but I prefer it for allergies rather than illness. I don’t trust myself to sanitize it well enough during the illness. Plus, if you hate salt water gargling, the neti pot can be similar on the odd-feeling scale in my opinion. Grandma is totally right about the salt water though.
    Maybe some hot tea to thin mucus?

    1. Thank you. I think the culprit is my little grandson (he’s in daycare). I’m not sure I can make it through the rest of this winter if it keeps up like this. Hate being sick.

  5. Friends of Fisherman and steam 😉
    Feel better!

    1. I remember that Fisherman stuff. You sold Margie on it I’ll have to check it out.

  6. Stephanae, I can understand your hesitation about using the Neti pot. I don’t use that particular device but I do use the Neilmed kit, which is similar in what it does except that the saline solution is in a plastic bottle and not a pot. It isn’t as awful as it may sound and, once I’m through using it, my sinuses feel much better and I have contracted fewer sinus infections since I started using it.

    1. Hi David, yeah I hear what you’re saying but the whole process of rinsing my nasal passages makes me want to break out in hives. I’m sure if I get sick enough I’ll have to give it consideration.

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