(March, 1999)

Cold Medicine Helps Somewhat
from Michael P.

Great site. It's the first time I have ever laughed about P. I have tried everything: steroid creams, Dovonex, Tazorac, retinoids, tars, UVB, Methotrexate, fish oil tablets ... nothing. I have started to notice when I take Tylenol Cold and Severe Congestion tablets, and Ultravate Cream, the P eases up a tad. -Michael P.

*****

Ed's Response: Howdy, Michael. I've heard from a number of people who associate some improvement of their P with over-the-counter cold and flu remedies. I'm a firm believer in Tylenol Cold tablets myself (popped two last night, come to think of it). Since many biochemical reactions appear to trigger P, there's always a possibility that a drug designed to "dim sensitivities" might just dim someone's P-trigger, too. Many of the OTC cold and flu remedies also cause drowsiness, which I guess you could consider a counterstate to stress. If stress happens to be your P-trigger, its reduction might cause improvement.

On the other hand, the reason we take the OTC cold remedies is because we are sick, infected by a virus or bacteria. Both these kinds of infections are known to make P flare in some people. If that's your case, an improvement in P can be expected when the infection finally abates. It would be easy (but probably wrong) to associate this improvement with the OTC remedies we take to "dim" the symptoms of the bug.

One of the general problems we have with associating causes-and-effects with P is timing. Years ago I read or was told that stress and trauma would probably make my P worse, but it could take up to 90 days to do so. I don't know if that's true. Lately I've heard no mention about this "latency attribute" of P. For a few years I tried to keep a diary in which I'd note the traumas as they occurred and flag a page three months down the road to ask myself if the P changed. I wasn't able to draw any connections specifically—perhaps wasn't zealous enough in my fact recording—but the whole exercise of logging my traumas was depressing as hell. So, I knocked it off. (And, three months later, my P improved.... No, just kidding.)

Anyway, Michael. Now that you've found us, do stay in touch. -Ed

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