The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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This column is mentholated

Out There
 This column is mentholated
This column is mentholated

This column is mentholated

There’s a certain time of the year in between Halloween and Christmas break when college students across the country are overcome with giddiness and flushed faces. When the mere changing of the seasons causes us to slow down from our regular routines and elevates us to a different realm of consciousness.

No, I’m not talking about the holiday season. I’m talking about the friggin’ cold season.

It’s inevitable – communal living and weakened immune systems brought about by too much school work (and partying) means that if you see one of your friends coughing and blowing his or her nose, you might as well start stocking up on Kleenex and zinc lozenges.

The common cold seems to be one of the most predominant clues that Mother Nature, in fact, hates us and wants us all dead. It hinders daily life, and it hinders work – most adults contract anywhere from one to six colds a year, and it is the leading cause of visits to the doctor’s office and absenteeism.

There aren’t any reliable figures on the effect of the common cold on the economy, but when one takes into account how rampant it is and how many people it affects, the cost must be tremendous. Just think – if only someone could come up with a cure for the cold, the sheer amount of manhours saved might pull us out of this economic recession. Maybe that will incite all of you chemistry and biology majors out there who will be looking for a job in May to break out those Bunsen Burners.

I’ve been battling a cold for about a week, which means that it will probably be at least two more weeks until I’m back to my old, sluggish self. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to convince myself that having a cold isn’t really that bad – I mean, at least I don’t have the bubonic plague, right?

So the next time you come down with the old Rhinovirus, consider a few things before you start annoying people by moaning about it:

A cold is a good excuse to suck on one of those tasty mentholated cough drops.

It’s not a good idea to take medicine unless you need it, and although I’m not sure whether this applies to cough drops, I regularly see people down those things like cherry-flavored M&M’S; they’re apparently as addictive as cocaine. Well, now’s your chance to appease this addiction without feeling guilty. Grab a bag of Halls and suck on a few while you lie in bed and watch “Days of Our Lives.” That scratchy throat will be gone in no time!

Feed a cold, starve a fever.

Apparently this old adage is really true – glutamine, found in milk, meat and some nuts, boosts the “anti-viral” response of the immune system, according to a study found on the New Scientist Web site. So, using logical deduction, eating a lot of ice cream, hamburgers and salted peanuts will actually help you overcome a cold! (Note that this is the same logic I use to justify putting off writing columns because I “work better running up against deadlines.” Be careful.)

People stay away from you if you’ve got a hacking cough.

You know those days when people approach you and insist on engaging you in conversation, whether you feel like talking or not? You won’t have that problem for at least a week. Having a cold is also a good excuse to avoid shaking hands with people you don’t like (although if you really don’t like that person, you might want to shake hands with them anyway).

You can lose weight without dieting or drugs.

If you can’t get the weight off through regular exercise or eating healthy food, you can always sweat, vomit and jaundice it off, taking advantage of the body’s natural defenses against sickness. Of course, people who take the time to eat right and exercise in the first place tend to have healthier immune systems, and don’t need to go through this anyway. (Isn’t that just one more reason to dislike those people?)

Voice is lower, sexier.

A week’s worth of coughing and post-nasal drip tends to give anyone who normally sounds like Kermit the Frog a deep, raspy voice akin to a 60 year cigarette smoker. Take advantage of the fact that you sound like Barry White to help you serenade the one you love.

“I can’t get enough of your love, babe, girl, I don’t know … *cough* *cough* … I can’t get enough of your *sniffle* love, babe *wheeze* … oh God …”

It’s easy enough to make fun of the common cold, but you’ll probably be happier if you don’t have to catch it in the first place. According to commoncold.com, you can reduce your risk of catching it by washing your hands after coming in contact with potentially contaminated surfaces, keeping your fingers out of your eyes and nose (hopefully you do this anyway) and avoiding having cold sufferers coughing in your direction.

There’s no consistently effective way to cure the cold, except with decongestants, antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs. However, a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that drinking 14 glasses of wine a week can help cold symptoms.

Also, according to Meditopia.com, you can treat the cold by balancing your Yin and Yang, increasing your life force energy and dissolving blood clots. If anybody gets this method to work, send me an e-mail. I’m living on a really small weekly budget, and I don’t have a lot of money to spend on Advil.

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