I have a number of friends who refuse to take any cold medication because, "It doesn't cure my cold." That is both correct, and foolish. Cold medicine is not supposed to cure a cold, it is supposed to alleviate symptoms. This in turn will allow you to sleep better, suffer less, and you will therefore get better quicker.

Given that, the best cold medicine I have discovered is NyQuil (or any generic that's equivalent to it). NyQuil is supremely effective at making being sick tolerable, by one simple concept: If you are unconscious, you can't feel bad. Other drugs, like Tylenol PM and Benedryl, also work on the same philosophy, but not as well. A good strong dose of NyQuil will leave you near comatose for a minimum of twelve hours, assuming that after twelve hours have passed, someone gives you a shot of adrenaline into your heart. Otherwise, expect a good eighteen hours of blissful uninterrupted sleep. Do this a few times, and your cold will be gone, and it will seem to you as if only a day has passed, when really a week has gone by.

Before going on a NyQuil holiday, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Drink lots and lots of fluid. Most cold medicines are diuretics (they dry you out by making you urinate freqeuently). This keeps your nose and throat nice and open so you can breathe, but also dehydrates you. You don't know how long you'll be under once you take a dose, so drink up like you are about to trek across the Sahara.
  • Cancel any plans you have. You won't be going to work, school, or getting any errands done. You are going to the land of Somnia, and there's no telling when you'll be back.
  • Don't expect to be able to function. You really should not drive, try to get any work done, go into any meetings, or otherwise attempt things that require reasoning or coordination.
  • Once you pass out (about five to seven seconds after swallowing), you will remain in that exact position for about a day. Don't fall asleep with a leg tucked under you or an arm behind your head. It will have to be amptutated, and may be done without waking you. Expect at the very least to wake up with about half a cup of mucousy crud in each eye, and a pool of sweat in any place where one bady part touches another.
  • Try not to sleep with loved ones. To all intents and purposes, you will appear dead, and this really freaks them out.

Having said that, I firmly belive that this is a reliable and safe way of getting over a cold quickly. And it puts enough fun into it that you won't be so pissy about being sick.