Tortoise and the Hare | Main | CV, Etc.

December 10, 2007

Current State, Complete with Out of Focus Photo


This photo kind of sums up our household right now. We bought a tree on Saturday but have not had time to decorate it. I have some sort of strange chest cold where it feels like something heavy is sitting on my lungs, yet I can't cough anything up so basically, I can't breathe. I feel like I haven't really seen Brooklyn in weeks, let alone my husband. But fortunately, there are only nine work days left before a nice, two week break.

Do they make some sort of over the counter medication that breaks up congestion crap in one's chest? Furthermore, what is the difference between a humidifier and a vaporizer? I bought a humidifier this weekend expecting the vaporizer of my childhood, and it is so not what I expected.

P.S. That's the fake cat that breathes in the background.
P.P.S. Irving also threw up on the fake cat this weekend.

Posted by callalillie at December 10, 2007 12:10 PM | City Life , Random


Living in a freezing cold Canadian climate, I believe I have tried every humidifier and vaporizer on the market. My best guess at the difference is this:

1) Vaporizers came first. They simply heat water, which then produces VERY hot steam. They have no moving parts, so you're relying solely on rising steam.

2) Humidifiers came as a result of too many small children being scalded by vaporizers. Humidifiers come in two forms: warm mist and cool mist. Warm mist is similar to vaporizers, but should include a fan. I personally prefer cool mist vaporizers --you can leave them on for very long periods of time without worrying that you're going to burn anything/anyone, and they really work well to moisten the air.

For humidifiers, make sure that you invest in good filters (you'll be breathing that air!), and make sure you find one that's the right size for your space. Too small a humidifier is obviously ineffective, but one that is too large can also make beads of water run down your walls.

As for the congestion... I take Buckleys. It's absolutely disgusting (and you WILL gag), but it seems to clear up EVERYTHING quite quickly.

Good luck, and feel better!

Posted by: futuredrmandy at December 10, 2007 12:58 PM

one word


Take two of those and it will knock your chest congestion right out. They make three different kinds. What it does is thin out all the mucous and helps it clear out more easily.

Posted by: Sarah in LA at December 10, 2007 2:01 PM

Sarah in LA beat me to it, but yes, MUCINEX is the BEST. You have to drink a ton of water after taking it, and it may lead to uncontrollable coughing fits. But of the productive variety, which will feel very satisfying.

I get a bad couch at least once a year, and this stuff has literally saved me.

Posted by: lesterhead at December 10, 2007 2:12 PM

Sarah in LA beat me to it, but yes, MUCINEX is the BEST. You have to drink a ton of water after taking it, and it may lead to uncontrollable coughing fits. But of the productive variety, which will feel very satisfying.

I get a bad cough at least once a year, and this stuff has literally saved me.

Posted by: lesterhead at December 10, 2007 2:12 PM

Did you get a real tree? I'm afraid to get a real tree because Charley is ALWAYS causing trouble and I just know he would knock the tree down, eat it, barf everywhere, etc. How do you avoid this scenario with as many cats as you have?

Posted by: Janine at December 10, 2007 2:16 PM

Oddly, the cats pretty much ignore it. They drink the tree water every so often but I think the pine smell actually repels them. Irving enjoys sitting under the tree or, alternately, staring at it for long periods of time without moving. They've never knocked it down, though, and there's very little needle-barf.

Posted by: corie at December 10, 2007 2:25 PM

Go generic - save money! ----

GUAIFENESIN is the generic name for mucinex and is much cheaper! It comes in 400 mg tabs, take every 4 hours or so. Can take 2 tabs if needed.

Guaifenisin also comes in liquid (plain Robitussin) which I think works faster for me. It's a touch nasty, but I live for it when the chest and head clog up. It produces the best coughs (when you're looking for those hacky productive ones... ick)

Until you get the sticky stuff flowing, don't take anything to suppress the coughs.

And of course, like everyone says, tons of water, OJ, herbal tea, humidifiers,warm steamy showers and sleep, sleep, sleep. Cats on chest help provide warmth, which helps liquify the sticky gump in your lungs. No, really, that a scientific fact! Ask Irving, he knows! LOL

Posted by: Gena at December 10, 2007 2:31 PM

I've become partial to Jamesons for my chest colds (and fevers, and runny nose, and annoying Bush speeches), though I'm fully aware that there is absolutely no medicinal value - but boy does it make me feel better...

As for humidifiers, we have one we're never going to use again (thanks to a humidifier system included in the heating system here) that you can bring back with you after Christmas - you'll definitely need at least two in your open, high ceilinged space.

BTW, Irv is looking quite natty there - drop a pound or two did he? Perhaps the EMF from the lights is doing him some good.

Posted by: bobtrancho at December 10, 2007 5:28 PM

Actually, he's wider than ever. The angle and lights are just slimming.

Posted by: corie at December 10, 2007 5:30 PM

Then I'll have what the Oybean's wearing. Slimming lights!

Posted by: Jen at December 11, 2007 12:47 AM

I was going to recommend anything that contains guaifenisin but Gena beat me to it. And she is totally right -- do not take anything to suppress the cough until you get rid of the sticky stuff. Give Irving an ear-scritch for me.

Posted by: kmkat at December 11, 2007 11:10 AM

I've tried both mucinex and and buckley's. Avoid Buckley's if you can - it's the most vile substance on the planet (though it does work). But definitely start with mucinex.

For a humidifier, try the ultrasonic ones. They are quieter and use less energy than the warm mist or cool mist units. Also many of them come with the ability to pre heat the water so that the humidity doesn't cool down the room too much. The only issue with them is that, depending on your water, you may get some white dust in your room, but you can usually by a filter that will solve that problem.

Posted by: Dave at December 11, 2007 12:27 PM

in terms of the decongestant, pretty much anything called an expectorant will do what you want, so if you're going generic, that's what to look for.

Posted by: Dahlia at December 12, 2007 12:20 PM

When purchasing the Mucinex, make sure you get the one that's behind the counter. The one they make you show your ID for, lest you build a meth lab. THAT stuff works. The shelved Mucinex is okay, but it's missing that special congestion-busting ingredient.

Where does one get generic GUAIFENESIN?

Posted by: Jess at December 13, 2007 8:57 AM

Bit late to the conversation but... Try plain nasal saline spray, once or twice an hour. It moistens and sooths irritated brochial passages and can help thin the mucous.
I've had that tight chest congestion thing with a cough that does nothing but sounds like a baby seal is getting beaten to death, and nothing, not even prescription codeine cough syrup worked as well as simple saline.

Hope you feel better!

Posted by: Cynthia at December 17, 2007 12:56 PM

Content & images are (c) 2003-2008 Corie Trancho-Robie | All rights reserved.