A Personally Tested Cure for Colds and Flu

The cure for colds and flu isn't any kind of medicine. It's the early application of heat.
By Williard Olney
November/December 1979
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Would believe this could be the cure for colds and flu?
PHOTO: NOMAD_SOUL/FOTOLIA


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My "good idea" batting average over the past 60-odd years is well under .500, but I want to take this opportunity to share one of my brainstorms. I've found a cure for colds and flu, and it works so well that I haven't had either of those illnesses since 1963.  

However, let me qualify that somewhat shocking statement with an explanation: I've caught my share of cold and influenza infections in the past 16 years, but I've always been able to stop the attacks at the first-day stage and be back on my feet the following day.

I suppose I should also—at this point—add a disclaimer to get me off any lurking legal hooks. Therefore: What follows is an account of what I have done and continue to do, in the belief that it stops my colds and flu, but my story is not to be taken as medical advice. OK?  

The Battle Begins

What happens when you're invaded by those viral organisms that cause colds and flu? First, you become aware that all is not right with your body. Perhaps your joints begin to ache a bit, and you may sneeze and feel chilly. (My own "cold test" is to roll my eyes far to one side. If it hurts a little, I know the aches and other symptoms will soon follow,)

In earlier times you might have been given lemon juice and honey or any number of other remedies, most of which did no good whatever.

Nowadays, you're like most folks you ingest enough aspirin to keep your temperature down (and the drug companies' profits up).

Finally, If you become sick enough or run out of aspirin, you'll develop a fever. And, after that, you'll probably gradually improve to a semblance of your normal state of health, ready to battle the next attack when it comes.

The Light Dawns 

Sometime during 1963 I read a magazine article describing the life cycle of the viruses which cause colds and flu. I learned that a virus attaches itself to a red blood cell, squirts itself inside, and uses the cell's "machinery" to make about 200 duplicates of itself, which then sally forth in search of another cell to repeat the cycle. This reproductive process only takes about 30 minutes.

It's the speed of this viral duplication that gives us symptoms so quickly, because—despite the rapid rate at which our marrow and liver constantly pour new red cells into the blood—the virus destroys cells faster than our bodies can produce them. With the lowering of the number of red cells, oxygen transport is impaired, and we begin to notice the muscular aches and pains that typically accompany the flu.

The magazine article went on to mention—offhandedly—that when blood temperature is elevated a few degrees, the viruses cease their activity.

"That sounds like a fever to me!" I exclaimed ... and I remembered that many of the bouts with colds and flu that I'd had did seem to "cure themselves" soon after a fever. It seemed to follow that, if I gave myself a fever before becoming sick enough to get one naturally, I could stop the destruction of my red cells and, therefore, cure the illness!

A Hot Practice

I don't remember how long I had to wait before a cold caught up with me so I could test my idea, but when I tried the "heat treatment" out  it worked ... and it's worked for me every time since then.

In the evening of any day when the first hint of "the bug" shows up, I inch my way into as hot a tub of water as I can stand and stay there until my temperature gets up to 102°F. [EDITOR'S NOTE: For safety's sake, the bath water should be no hotter than 105°F, and one should not remain in it for longer than 20 minutes.]  

It's very difficult to force myself to stay in the hot water, but I've learned that a drink (That's when lemonade and honey come in handy. Try taking the beverage hot, too, if you can stand it) is a great help. Sip and steam, steam and sip.

Oh, yes! While I'm bathing, my wife piles an extra blanket or two on the bed. Once I'm "up to temperature", I dry off, slide into the sack, and sweat.  

My wife stays well to her side of the bed, while I doze, sweat, and keep my temperature high for about four hours. Gradually, through the night, I reduce the number of blankets so that, by morning, I'm dry and—behold! —I feel great. Of course, I don't go out to climb mountains right away, and I make sure to keep warm for a day or so, but I have no sickness.

So there you have it. The "cure" makes sense to me, and—with hand over heart—I assure you that I haven't had more than first-day symptoms since I started taking my hot bath treatments.

One last word about safety: when a person is immersed in hot water, less blood is available to bring oxygen to the brain and dizziness can occur. Therefore I always ask my wife to give me a hand as I step out of the tub. And, of course, such "tender loving care" does its share to ease the symptoms of the cold, too!


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