Let me change the subject!
Since Rox wrote about her flu, I have decided to share some personal Tips for Avoiding a Cold.
As you know, our little nasal hairs and viscous excretions are two defenses for our fragile mucous membranes. They trap germs which we then expel when we blow our noses.
When these membranes dry out (due to dehydration, flying, etc.) they produce microscopic cracks, and the opportunistic bacteria work their way right in - viruses are hard and spiky and make their own breaks. Furthermore, the lack of moisture enables them to reach all the way to the back of our noses, where the infection starts
[DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU ARE SQEAMISH: This is why we feel icky and painful back there on the first day of an infection - because the viruses are capturing our throat cells, manufacturing more viruses, then the cells lyse (explode) releasing a stream of invaders which take over our body. Our immune system fights back, causing fevers (high temps to kill the invaders) and extra mucous (to flush them out). The painful inflammation in the nose and throat are caused by mast cells swelling to produce large quantities of thin mucous (similar to an allergic reaction). The mucous thickens with a cold, though, because it is full of the virus bodies being flushed out of the body. That's why you want to avoid ingesting it; unfortunately, we have to sleep and then post-nasal drip lets it into our lungs, thus causing the dreaded congested cough.
Afterwards, thanks to the memory cells, we have immunity to that particular strain of cold or flu, but there are so many thousands of strains that next time we just catch another and the battle begins anew.]
I depend on one of those 8-hour release 500 mg Vitamin C capsules but also...medicated chest rub! I started applying it to the inside of my nose in the winter to prevent nosebleeds caused by overnight dryness.
As a side benefit, since starting this mentholated vaseline treatment, I haven't had a cold.
Viruses thrive in winter because they survive well in cold, dry air, so we endure an assault every time we go out. I've started applying the ointment when I go out too; I mean, think of all the people who sneeze and the things we touch, then we transfer it all to our faces and the process begins again. This is why when I go home, I wash my hands and blow my nose.
*Disclaimer: if I have made any factual errors, remember it's been years since I studied this.