I don’t actually drink cocktails (not enough liquid to sate me) but when I get sick, I do enjoy whipping up a little medicinal mixture as needed. In the US, this is infinitely easier since over the counter (OTC) drugs are fairly effective, can be purchased without a prescription and are available at the nearest 24-hour drug store. In Europe, substitutions must be made and dosages increased to reach a nearly equal level of efficacy.
This past week I had to make just such adjustments as, despite actively avoiding touching people or touching things that other people have touched, some jerk gave me the flu. Wisely, I always keep my drugs case within easy reach and came up with this recipe.
From France, Strepsils, a very nice tasting (honey and lemon) soothing throat lozenge. They have some kind of numbing powers so that throat tickles and almost-coughs are stopped before they attack.
From the US, generic Benadryl (diphenhydramine) which I take sparingly because it is potent and hard to get.
From Spain, Desenfriol, a powder that is similar to Emergen-C but both tastes better and is stronger. If you ingest a couple of these when you feel a cold coming on, you can usually preempt the fucker.
The most important item: Puffs Plus with Aloe. I don’t understand why these aren’t available internationally but they are absolutely necessary if you’re going to be blowing and/or wiping your nose several times a minute. If you’ve had other brands of facial tissue “with aloe” and not been impressed, I can assure you that Puffs Plus with Aloe is an entirely different proposition. They’re soft like moleskin and not greasy and they are wonderful. I only pull them out when I have a Serious Cold because they’re too precious to waste on everyday use.
Of course, if this particular cold gets to DEFCON 1, I’m going to have to go nuclear on it which means breaking out both DayQuil and NyQuil and my super secret weapon: Vicks Vapo-rub.
I wish I could say that I learned about the DEFCON alert system from someplace classy like Sidney Lumet‘s 1964 movie Fail-Safe, but that would be a lie. (You can watch the whole thing here! Thanks, Internet!) I probably first heard about DEFCON from cheesy 80s movies like WarGames. The numbers indicated military alerts levels; the higher the number, the lower the perceived threat. The way to remember which way it goes is that the men in the War Room were counting down to mutually assured destruction (5, 4, 3, 2, 1, boom). The Homeland Security Advisory System, adopted after 9/11 replaced the DEFCON system with a rainbow, creating total confusion. They stopped using it ten years later because it was completely idiotic.
Something happier to bring the tone back up!
One of the longest slogans in modern marketing history has to be “The nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, so you can rest medicine.” It’s one of the best though, and is truth in advertising.