The Common Cold: Suck It Up

the-common-cold-common-cold-demotivational-poster-1260239029If you are a healthy adult with nothing wrong with you, and you get a cold, do NOT call your doctor.  Seriously. It’s a cold. Yes, your nose is congested, your throat is sore,  you’re coughing up your left lung, and your sneeze has enough wind power to generate electricity. I know you’re miserable. Colds suck royally. And you know what? Your doctor can do absolutely nothing for you. As advanced as medicine is, there is nothing, nada, nyet, rien for your cold. You can take a myriad of dizzying choices of over the counter medications that clear up your stuffy nose and stifle that cough but bottom in line is that you just have to ride the sucker out. Furthermore, if your gunk is coming up green or yellow, that does not mean you need an antibiotic. That’s just your white blood cells, your own personal little army, fighting and dying in the valiant cause of curing you of your cold. Again: you do not need an antibiotic. A lot of people will get antibiotics anyway from their doctors because the doctor is sick and tired of hearing you whine and complain. You are doing a huge disservice to yourself and the world by helping create superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics, so when you really do need an antibiotic, it’s going to be powerless to help you.

Here’s the kicker.  Inevitably, after you start taking the antibiotic, you start to feel better so naturally you think to yourself: Hey, that doxycycline cured me! No, it didn’t. You would have gotten better anyway because time + rest = only cure for the common cold. I could have given you sugar pills or wrapped sausages around your neck and guess what? You would have started to feel better in 7 to 10 days anyway!  Why? Because that’s how long the average cold lasts. Most colds are self-limiting. It was only a coincidence that you took the antibiotic. You know what you should do? Drink lots of fluids, especially warm ones. Gargle warm salt water. It’s gross but it helps that sore throat. Take something over the counter that is specific for your symptoms. Be wary of the multi-drug over the counter formulations that treat multiple symptoms. For example, if you have a stuffy nose but no cough, just take a decongestant like Sudafed. Be especially careful with those multi-drug cold formulations that contain acetaminophen. For example, don’t take Tylenol (acetaminophen or paracetamol) on top of Nyquil. Your liver will be very angry at you. You don’t want your liver to get angry.

Caveat: What I have written here does not apply if you are the very young, the very old, or you have other things wrong with you like asthma, COPD, or other comorbidities. If you’re pregnant, call your OB to find out what meds, if any, you can take. You’re the ones who should call. Here’s a pretty good guide for when to call your doctor with a cold if you are an otherwise healthy adult. And lord help me, if you’ve had this cold for 3 days, you’re 27 years old and otherwise completely healthy, and you call me at 4:55 pm on a Friday, I am going to still be polite and nice to you because I’m not mean to my patients, but I’ll be thinking not so nice thoughts about you. So there.

Random Rays Stuff

Yesterday, the Rays traded for Yunel Escobar, the pea-brained shortstop who was recently traded from the Blue Jays to the Marlins as part of the Marlins Massacre. In return, the Marlins get Derek Dietrich, who in addition to having a fun name to say,  is a promising minor league infielder. Escobar’s reputation precedes him as an immature 30 year old with a penchant for lackadaisical play and a propensity for ignorance . (Am I being too subtle here in my feelings for the guy?) Maddon expects one thing from his players: 100% effort at all times, especially when it is running down the first baseline on a groundball that is almost certainly an out (but you never know). Word on the street is that this is one area that Escobar tends to flake out. In a way, it seems as if we traded for a homophobic version of BJ Upton. Hopefully, Maddon and Martinez will be able to keep him in line. Escobar has apparently used language and cultural barrier as an excuse in the past. With Martinez as bench coach, he won’t be able to pull that crap. What most Rays fans really want to know though is: can the man hit? He has definitely shown great potential in the past. He doesn’t strike out much, which is refreshing. His BABIP last year was only .273, so it indicates he may have been unlucky since it is so far off his career BABIP of .306. Not much in the way of power, but he seems to get a lot singles and doubles. In spite of my thrashing of his personality, I will try to keep an open mind. As long as he produces and behaves himself, I can forgive… but I never forget. Actually, that’s a lie. I’m quite forgetful. Whatever. He just better behave himself.


On to less controversial news. Congrats to our very own William Tell, Fernando Rodney, for winning this year’s GIBBY (Greatness in Baseball Yearly) Award for best closer. I had the pleasure of watching develop into an amazing closer in 2012. What can I say about him that hasn’t already been said? He was historically good. Dennis Eckersley good. Next year, I’m sure there will be some regression, but this is about celebrating what he did in 2012. I saw him through a 96 mph fastball followed by a devastating 79 mph breaking ball. He was known for lack of control in the past, but this year, he was on point.