Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cold Car, Asthma and Mexican Bronchial Tea Mix

It was very cold (for Charlotte) when I drove home last night, in my unheated car--yup--like most 10 yr old cars mine has quirks--the most annoying is that the AC works in December but the heat apparently doesn't. At least with this arrangement I can keep it defrosted.

Most of the time this is not a problem because it is not so cold here that I can't manage to get from point A to point B fairly comfortably. Keeping my body warm is not a problem because I have a wonderful long down filled coat I call my 'Fargo Coat' which works great. I also keep some small blankets in our vehicles, I have always done that in wintertime even though we no longer live in the North I think its a good idea.

Fixing cars is always Hubby's job. He has looked at my heat situation and is fairly certain what is wrong with it. It requires tearing out the dash board to locate a brittle broken spot in a vacuum line. Since we are pushing to get our house ready for a rough-in inspection--fixing the heat in a car is not a priority. It just can't be. He doesn't have several hours or longer to mess with that. Paying someone else to do it--never. In all our married life we have only once paid a mechanic and after giving the guy $900 we ended up having another equally pricey part go on the same vehicle two days later. At least if you fix them yourself all you are out is parts not labor costs--but you also have to deal with things like no heat in a cold spell. Driving old cars is not without its troubles--but the one redeeming factor is no car payments. I like that.

Cold air does not cause colds or pneumonia--they've done studies to prove that. HOWEVER-- if you have sensitive airways or asthma--which I do-- cold air can aggravate that. I didnt' realize this the first time it happened--which I think was about 6 weeks ago during a cold spell. I thought it odd that I was getting a chest cold without other cold symptoms and after getting an antibiotic I got even sicker and ended up missing a few days at work. At the time I felt the antibiotic made me sicker than the underlying illness. What a disaster!

I now think--the problem was probably caused by driving my car in a cold spell--then since my lungs are sort of 'low grade' I must have agravated them enough to allow for whatever bugs were out and about--and if you work in a library--you handle other people's germs all day long-- such as checking baby's board books in and out or shelving picture books. We all wash our hands and we often give the books a bit of a wiping down too. You can 'feel' the yuk on some books. I call it having 'book hands'.

Anyhow--last night I came in coughing and wheezing to beat the band. What happens is the lungs release histamine when the cold air reaches them. Well-- I take a daily allergy drug but it apparently is not enough when I reach overload. What to do? I didn't want to take extra antihistamine as I know I would just be a zombie with company coming today. I also didn't want to be sick--who has time for that?

I reached for a bag of weird looking herbs that I got last summer at the Mexican Grocery Store. It is called 'Bronquiosan' It is a tea made of Eucalyptus, Pulmonaria (I think they used to call that herb lungwort),Two other herbs in the mix are: Una de Gato and Chu Chu Huasi. Now I have no idea what those other herbs are but the tea when steeped looks like leaves and bits of things that resemble pine needles and twigs. It smells pretty much like pine and eucalyptus too. I drank a cup and went off to bed and didn't cough all night. I also used my inhaler which I had been doing on and off all day anyhow. I am sure the tea helped as the inhaler had only given a little relief and had made me feel quite nervous as a side effect.

Would ANY hot tea help to maybe re-warm the lungs? I don't know. Maybe tea would be the best solution for this--but maybe the fact that these herbs are so aromatic is an extra help? Or maybe the active ingredients in these particular herbs has some special effect that is not heat related or that is activated by hot water?
I don't know but I got a good night's sleep and I will use it next time I have this problem.

I will also get myself something to pre-warm the air I breath when I'm driving--maybe a little face mask or scarf? I've read that it is best to breathe through the nose but that doesn't work so well for me--I'll try. Mine is often pretty stuffy.

The weather is warming up today. We seldom have temps as cold as we have. Possibly I can take Hubby's jeep too--and we can trade on extreme cold days. He has been using the jeep to haul things to the new house- things for working on the house that I probably don't want in my car--or it may not be able to hold. In any case we will work something out so I don't end up breathing freezing air again.

Who would have thought I'd be bothered by things like this now? I was raised in the North and now that I live in the warmer south I'm bothered by cold? Well I suppose anyone in my Granny's generation could have told me-- don't breathe that cold air!

I can hear it--
"Are you going out like that? Mary Lou! Put something on! Don't breathe that cold air, cover your ears, cover your neck, cover your head..."
Were our Gramma's EVER wrong?


  1. I just recovered from 3 weeks of a cold(?) I sat at the Pizza Parlor waiting for a pizza and cold air was pouring down my neck. Why they had the air conditioning on the week before Thanksgiving in Kansas City I don't know. Anyway, very much coughing and mucous production. Doctor gave me a Z-pack just in case but it wasn't bacterial just a virus. That's the first time cold air has caused me to get sick like that. I think it's my age. 74!
    Love your blog. I read it every day. Please keep it up.

  2. Welcome--I'm honored that you read my blog! Yes--I had a Zpack last time I was coughing too--and I really think it just made me worse--though usually that works well for me. Once I start to cough though, its hard to get to the end of it--I certainly sympathize/empathize with you!