It’s finals week. Stress is high. Sleep is practically nonexistent. Colds run rampant. All down the hall and in the library you hear sneezing, coughing, noses blowing, voices complaining. It always does seem that sickness strikes when the most amount of work must be done.
For the college student, colds are inevitable. They will happen. They will happen more often than you would like. Communal bathrooms are not good for the immune system. Not to mention the constant contact with the dozens of people that live on your hall, who have each had contact with dozens of other people and so on and so on.
Point being, colds in college are like chicken pox in nursery school. They spread. Quickly. So what to do? While it might seem nice to curl up in bed with a book, a box of tissues, and a hot mug of tea, that is usually not a viable option. No, the reading must be done, the studying must go on, the essays must be written. The best that can be done is to clear up the sinus passages, pop in a cough drop and keep going.
Well, apparently clearing the sinus passages is quite the ordeal! Coming from a house that nixed nasal sprays from the get-go, I was shocked by how much my friends relied on them. Do you ever go just a little bit over on the number of sprays you’re supposed to use? Do you ever cheat the time limit you’re supposed to leave between sprays? Do you use nasal spray every time you get congested? Is that a lot? Has it stopped helping?
You’ve built up a tolerance. The nasal membranes no longer respond to the same amount of nose spray you had used before to treat the same level of congestion. So you use more. And more. Using more than the suggested dose? Probably not a good idea. You can, in fact, overdose on nasal spray.
Overdosing on nose spray that contains any of these chemicals can lead to “extreme tiredness, sweating, dizziness, a slow heartbeat, and coma.”
Not sounding good, right? Just please don’t tell me you use Stadol. Did you know that Stadol is actually a narcotic “similar to morphine”? Not only is this nasal spray addictive, but an overdose of it can lead to “extreme drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, confusion, cold and clammy skin, weak pulse, shallow breathing, fainting, or breathing that stops,’ not to mention death. So not good.
So what’s the alternative? Well, lucky for you, I have found an alternative that works incredibly well. The neti pot!
The neti pot is a ceramic tea pot that you fill with warm water and salt. It is an ancient Indian medicinal tradition that has been used for thousands of years to treat allergies and sinus congestion. It works like no other nasal decongestant. I have never had such great sinus relief.
Note to self: Neti pot over nasal spray any day.
Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a freshman at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.
By Lily Berthold-Bond