Well I went and did it.
I got sick.
Not that it is something to look forward to, or that I self-sabotaged by ignoring the free flu shot drive at my office, smooching it up with a handrail on the Q train, or ignoring my mother’s historical advice to wear a hat or I’ll catch my death out there.
Nope I just caught one, which was easier than squishing the first living mosquito in NYC, which happened to be in my office. (That took 4 days, and I think it died of boredom). I know, cold season was supposed to end, but in the period between midterms and finals, when everyone was coming back on germy aeroplanes, and since we were at that point in the Northeast USA where it is rainy and 45 degrees one day and a sunny 70 the next, the constant confusing shuffle of sweaters, scarves, a/c and heat gets me every time. So I took a sick day (a Friday; again, no coincidence!) and decided that along with rest, tea, and boring movies, I needed some meds.
Along with my Netflix subscription, I was set!
So here’s a breakdown of what I had, what I did, and how it worked. (This is a review of experience and not medical advice– if you are sick, consider your options, general health, or doctoral advice if needed!)
OscillococcinumIndividual bottles of caplets. Reserved for Flu-like symptoms. Package of 6 ‘doses’.
Simple enough – pop the cap and pour the pellets on your tongue to dissolve within 30 seconds. You’ve done this enough times with the leftovers of a box of sno-caps. (Yes you have – be proud!). Tossing the bottle over your shoulder is not recommended. Recycle, people!
Do you sense the medicine working right away? Honestly no. It was on the second day of trice daily doses (what they recommend actually) that I really feel it ‘kick in’, and the side effects were not severe at all.
It gave me a moment to be realistic about what we want from medication, and what the case should be. Medicine typically doesn’t ‘work’ in one dose, there’s no cure for the common cold or flu, so treatments are to cure or ease minor symptoms like fever and cough, not to cure. Then again, some popular brands (I will not mention them here), start working by the time the second dose comes up, but the side effects are riding shotgun, and both barrels go off. Yes my head is clear, but so clear it feels like I am floooooattinng awaaaay. I get skittish, I don’t blink much (even though my eyes are dry) and I feel like I just drank 3 cups of coffee. I am not looking to get that sensation (never was). If my chills are gone, but I’m slightly paranoid… how is that ‘better’?!
Anyway – The Pros - as I mentioned, at the start of the second days’ dose of Oscillococcinum, I sensed that it was now fully interacting with my system, and with that noticeable differences. Aches start easing, you rest easier, and chills fade. All without feeling on the other side of the energy level. So that’s good. I kept going with it, along with resting, and I found myself eased back into ‘normal’ life by the end of the second day.
The Cons - the regiment. If you miss the dose time, you start to feel a bit lousy, so set your timers! I could imagine if I missed a complete dose (sleeping doesn’t count as I take it right before bedtime), I might have to start from scratch again. If true, that will set you back. Three times a day gets you through a smaller package of 6 within 2 days. If you have a rough cold, oscillococcinum is not the cheapest option, and you better make sure your local pharmacy has it in stock. It makes me wonder if twice a day would have worked, just to stretch it a bit.
An ‘expectorant’, made to suppress cough, and help congestion. 2oz (a cap cup is included) every 2 hours, and, like the oscillococcinum, the results are gradual, so no need to re-explain.
The Pros - because of the dosing, you will feel it come along faster. Took it in the morning and by lunch, my symptoms were halved. It’s extremely pleasant tasting, as it is mainly honey-based. That is another big pro! No terrible, gag inducing flavor that you ‘justify’ a direct correlation between terrible taste and effectiveness. It’s not necessary!
The Cons – The expectorant is made with honey – not sure how it might affect those who have to watch their sugar. Having to take doses every 2 hours is higher maintenance, and again, after a lengthy meeting where I had forgotten it, and timed it so my dose was expected at the beginning, my cough started to return by the end. A few doses later and I was back on track. You have enough in a 8.45 oz bottle to last at least 5 days, which should take care of most colds.
So let’s break it down.
Value: Yes Boiron products are expensive – a packet of 6 Oscillococcinum will run about $17 at local pharmacies, the 30 count about $27. The leading market brands (non-homeopathic) are competitively priced. Typically I buy the generic store brand, they are usually on sale, and I get them before cold season. You don’t get sick often hopefully, so these companies know, so they charge you according to the one purchase you do each winter.
In that context, Would I buy Boiron based on price for how I felt while taking it? Absolutely. I admit that I checked their website for coupons, and I wound up ordering it on Amazon, where I got a great deal on a 30 count, which will last me longer than I hope to need it.
Would I recommend it based on what it did for me? Again, absolutely, but I would make sure those who I suggest it wouldn’t expect ‘fast fix’ medicine, and know that the investment for feeling your best when you’re feeling your worst, as part of your total well being.
Check out www.boiron.com for information on their products in your country.