After what seemed like the winter that never ended and the spring that never arrived, it appears that summer is finally here in full swing with all of its accoutrements: hot humid days, sultry nights, t-shirt and shorts weather, enough sunscreen reapplications to have me feeling like an oil slick and sliding off the leather couch and of course… the dreaded summer cold.
It is one thing to get a cold when the weather outside is frightful, Jack Frost is nipping at your nose and all you want to do is hide under the covers and watch Netflix all day as you breathe through half a nostril. But in the middle of summer, it seems to defy logic.
I am not sure where this one came from, but this strain was preceded by a week of feeling unusually tired, sending me to bed much earlier than my usual bedtime. Nonetheless, even with the extra rest and conscientious effort to pump up my fruit and vegetable intake, it hit me like a ton of bricks and I now find myself breathing like Darth Vader. After a couple of days of toughing it out, treating it with bed rest, chicken soup and enough tea and fluids to flush out the sanitary system for a three block radius, the symptoms proved to be too much so I decided to check the medecine cabinet and check out what I had on hand. While I seemed to have a pretty good variety of products on hand, they were obviously the ghosts of cold past:
Vitamin C, half of a bottle, expired in December 2013;
Zinc lozenges, six left, expired in April 2012;
Day and night cold tablets combo pack, only one of each left, expired in January 2014;
Expectorant cough syrup with DM, about 3 teaspoons left, expired in August 2013;
Oops! I guess that in this year’s spring cleaning (and apparently last year’s too) I missed the big round up of expired medications. So I packed these along with some expired prescriptions and tubes of old medicated creams I found and prepared to bring them in for safe disposal. In the absence of any fresh cold medication, it was time for a quick trip to the friendly neighbourhood pharmacy.
But if there isn’t anything worse than a summer cold, it is navigating the cough and cold section (and this is coming from someone who worked in pharmacies for 6 years).
Based on my symptoms and previous successes I was inclined to stick with the Extra Strength Combo Pack for Daytime and Nighttime, although I was tempted to try the Flu, Cough and Cold Complete Day and Night.
The problem with my usual is that with 18 caplets for daytime and 6 caplets for nighttime, I often run out of nighttime caplets before I run out of daytime ones and need to buy more. Just as I was thinking that, I spotted a box of Extra Strength Flu Relief Night Time which contained the same ingredients as the night caplets in my combo pack. In checking the expiry date and doing the math, is it likely I could use the 20 caplets by July 2016, as a supplement to other combo packs should I get another similar cold again? Possibly. What are the chances of getting this exact pattern of symptoms again before July 2016? Hard to say, I thought, as I pulled out a wrinkled tissue from my pocket and dealt with my post-nasal drippy faucet.
However I noticed a different day and night combo pack on the shelf that offered an even number of each, thus offering a different ratio of daytime to nighttime caplets, and potentially not requiring purchasing a separate bottle of nighttime to make up the difference. The only outstanding question at this point is how long was this cold likely to last and whether or not I think this combo pack would be sufficient or whether this would require a second pack. I checked my pockets for another tissue.
On the other hand, what if the symptoms change along the way, as they sometimes do, and require a different medication to alleviate the symptoms? And if so, for how many days?
Ok, I didn’t have a headache before, but between the multiple options, the different ratios of day and night capsules and estimating the probability of the cold’s duration, all things being equal of course, I was definitely starting to get one. I was also getting tired and lightheaded… so I went with my old standby, Extra Strength Combo Pack for Daytime and Nighttime, in the 18:6 ratio, and let the chips fall where they may. I will be back and talk to the pharmacist if this doesn’t do the trick or if I need something else. It was time to go home, hide under the covers and watch Netflix all day as I breathed through half a nostril.
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