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Sniffle Stopper

If the common cold starts with sniffles....
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If the common cold starts with sniffles, and if you can stop the sniffles "cold", have you got a cure for the common cold?

Probably not, but it might qualify as a pretty effective treatment. Not to mention it can't be assumed to work for everyone. But it sure is simple and cheap, if you happen to live most places in the industrialized world.

Here is the procedure, to be followed as soon as you consciously notice you have the sniffles.
1. Blow nose into tissue to give you a few minutes before you have to do it again.
2. Turn on the tap water (cold or warm, but not hot), and wash your hands. Be sure to use some sort of soap. Then rinse, of course.
3. With the water still running, make a cup from your hands, and catch some water fresh from the tap. Turn off the water flow at any point after this.
4. Keep hands over sink, and lower your nose (and nearby part of face) into the water that your cupped hands are holding.
5. Snort, GENTLY. You only want to flood your sinus passageways with tap water. You DON'T want any of it in your lungs!
6. After a couple of seconds, expel air through the nose, to clear out the water.
7. Dry your hands and face with a towel and then, to get the last bits of water out, blow your nose into a tissue.

That's all. This trick assumes that your public water supply is chlorinated, true for most of the industrialized world. If it is, you WILL be able to smell it during the snort! It will strongly remind you of the average public swimming pool. Very possibly you will feel an unpleasant stinging sensation, too. That's good; it means the chlorine is attacking bacteria and viruses all over the surfaces of your sinus passageways (simultaneously with causing the stinging). If you can withstand the stinging for almost-literally 2 seconds, then you will probably find that your sniffles will be stopped "cold". Certainly I've never needed to do this more than twice on the same day, after which, usually, weeks or more go by before I notice any more sniffles. (There are claims that a diet rich in various green vegetables helps prevent colds, too, and in the interest of full disclosure of anti-cold factors, I confess to usually pigging out on veggies on a snort-day.)

In closing I should mention that I thought this up and tried it out years before I discovered that there is a gadget on the market designed for water-snorting. If I recall right, though, you weren't expected to use ordinary chlorinated tap water with it; the maker was trying to sell some sort of medication, too, so highly purified water was likely required. I count them as 3 unnecessary expenses.

Vernon, Dec 14 2007

Nasal lavage, nasal irrigation, or, sinus rinsing. http://www.myhealth...m/F031230_nose.html
“I am a strong believer in nasal lavage,” adds Dr. Ralph Metson, another sinus specialist at Mass Eye and Ear. But people need to do it with salty water “to wash out mucus.” [pyggy potamus, Dec 14 2007]

Neti-pot http://www.himalaya...otInstructions.aspx
in one nostril and out the other ! - a most excellent process that I have used many times with great effect. I only use a tiny amount of salt in contrast to that shown in video. [xenzag, Dec 14 2007]

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       [custard], first define "something suitable". Chlorine is not a good choice (was used as a poison gas in World War I); it can severely damage lung tissue. Not to mention that rhinoviruses are called that because "rhino" means "nose" (and "rhinoceros" means "nose horn"). The nose is the primary place where they do their thing. OTHER organisms typically infest the lungs.
Vernon, Dec 14 2007

       err, if you think that actually works, only thing I can think of is the chlorine is inflaming your sinuses so they can't drain.   

       Chlorine is a *bad* thing, btw. Don't stick some up your nose or anywhere else on your person, for that matter. It's very poisonouse, the Chlorine takes the place of Oxygen in compounds and it's more reactive.
FlyingToaster, Dec 14 2007

       You lot must live in a place where there is extremes of Cl in the water supply! Yes, it is detectable but not as strong as a swimming pool. At the concentrations it is at in water it would take over 15 minutes of contact to kill even most of the bacteria/viruses to a notable level. It's also not good as there are natural, helpful bacteria that live in the nasal passages and killing them does not really help you.
webfishrune, Dec 14 2007

       [Flying Toaster], botulism toxin is a BAD thing, but they still use it in "botox" treatments. It is quantity of chlorine that is dangerous, more so than its existence; the human body is tougher than individual viruses and bacteria, because of things like mucus layers. So, the mucus mostly protects the sinus region, while the bacteria and viruses are in the mucus, and chlorinated water has to pass through the mucus to get at the body tissues.   

       [webfishrune], generally you mostly can't smell the chlorine in tap water, only traces escape to the air for sniffing. But when the water is inside the nose, the chlorine in the water can be directly sensed. The nose doesn't care HOW the molecules arrive, that it can detect.   

       Next, I tend to doubt that a 2-second immersion will kill all the friendly bacteria, or even all the cold viruses. But the REDUCTION must be significant, if the sniffles stop. Remember that the immune system is ultimately why a cold ends, and the immune system always needs time to rev up to the latest challenge. Reducing the magnitude of a cold invasion helps get you that time.
Vernon, Dec 14 2007

       I get a cold/flu once a year. It starts in my throat and then goes to my lungs or ears. If it goes to ears, I go to the doctor. If it goes to the lungs I've found I can usually kill it in a day if I go to my local health club and sit in the hot tub for 15 minutes. They put crazy amounts of Chlorine in the water. I have a little hot tub at home that gets just as hot and I can stay in longer but it only takes Bromine and I found that doesn't work on my colds/flu. I'll have to try this next time, but I'm a little worried about drowning.   

       . I was just starting to search to see if this was a unique idea, when I found this.
MisterQED, Apr 23 2008

       [MisterQED], think about the positions of your head and neck when you bend over to snort some water. Water can't enter the lungs unless you snort enough, pulling it uphill, to go over a kind of hump (at the back of the mouth is the other entrance to the sinus cavity). If you are careful, you will not drown.
Vernon, Apr 24 2008

       I thought it was a fancy noseplug
FlyingToaster, Apr 24 2008


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