Archive for Lifestyle

Nadal 1; Sinus Sister 0

SS and Nadal serving

Because it’s unnecessary to write anything about tennis after David Foster Wallace’s hommage to the game in The New York Times, Sinus Sister will just post her pics from The Rogers Cup.

Yep, that’s Nadal on centre court. And that’s Sinus Sister enjoying the largess of the Nespresso VIP box–an excellent location from which to see Nadal prance at the baseline like an angry dressage pony. The only Spaniard with more testosterone was Picasso.

Watching Rafa bury The Other Guy, while sipping her decaf iced mochachino, Sinus Sister was reminded of a great line from Foster Wallace’s article on the limitations of watching tennis on television:

TV tennis is to live tennis pretty much as video porn is to the felt reality of human love.


WARNING: Yoga Poses in the Mirror May Appear Safer

February 29, 2012  |  Lifestyle  |  , ,  |  2 Comments

In a bid to get her lungs back, Sinus Sister breathes deep

…in through the nose, out through the nose. No cheating. No mouth breathing. Slow and steady. All goes well with the yoga while I’m vertical. But two breathes into Downward Dog, the pain starts. It’s as if a dentist’s drill slipped off its target and went into a sinus cavity. The drill won’t rest until it dislodges an eye.  Ouch….OUCH….

“In through the nose, out through the nose”—my eye!

Staggering forward into Quitter’s Pose, Sinus Sister admits defeat and rolls up her mat, never again to do Downward Dog with a silent sinus infection. With no stuffy nose to warn her of impending pain, she learns that a so-called dry sinus infection is just as bad—and brutal for yoga.

Lent: Keep Your Chocolate and Wine, but Grant Me One Small Kindness

February 24, 2012  |  Lifestyle  |   |  No Comments

A Lapsed Anglican Leverages Lent


If you are inclined to give something up for Lent, you already have vices on the chopping block. Forget all those. Here’s a direct order from the Department of Human Decency: Stop sniffing. Everyone. Stop. Sniffing. We hear you sniffing on the metro. We hear you in line at the bank. The pharmacy. The supermarket. Your sniffing does not improve the soundtrack at the movies. It does nothing for our appetite at dinner. It ruins a road trip. Stop horking back your snot in public, then looking around helplessly, as if you couldn’t possibly be expected to carry tissues. Here, here are a few of my tissues. Pass them around.

Kiss on the Lips: Even Germophobes Take a Holiday

February 14, 2012  |  Lifestyle  |  , ,  |  No Comments

Sinus Sister sends a message

How Booze Makes you Invincible and Resistant to the Common Cold

February 8, 2012  |  Lifestyle  |  ,  |  1 Comment

Glass. Half. Full.

From the Department of Justification: Having recently discovered the joys of a white zinfandel called Beringer ($8), Sinus Sister decides to justify—um, investigate—the upside of drinking. She’s no wine snob, having just learned that a white “zinf” actually looks pink. But colour hardly matters. Yes, white zinfs are sweet like Mountain Dew, but I am not ashamed.


Being sozzled all winter in Canada has some surprising benefits:

1) You believe, and therefore can, run to catch the last bus. Wearing boots with heels. This contributes to your financial health (no taxi) and enables a full 7 hours of sleep that night.

2) You can walk without feeling the cold, like Stalin’s red army, to the grocery store. This contributes to your financial health (no take-out delivery) and enables a three course meal.

3) You forget you have to pee while performing #1 and #2. This contributes to your dignity (no begging shopkeepers to let you use their bathroom) and enables longer outtings…in the cold…Wait a minute.

But it’s all for a good cause. Some hectic Googling revealed a study published in The American Journal of Public Health in 1993 showing how those who drink in moderation (insert eye roll) have greater resistance to 5 strains of the common cold versus those who don’t drink. Those people who consumed 2 to 3 drinks daily had an 85% greater resistance. Those people who had 1-2 drinks daily had a 65% lower risk and those who drank less than daily had a 30% risk than abstainers. SOLD!

#1 Metallic Element for Winter: Zinc Fights the Common Cold

December 13, 2011  |  Survival Tips  |  , ,  |  6 Comments

Sinus Sister cozies up to the Periodic Table

Could it be true? Does zinc, or “Zn” to fans of The Big Bang, help fight the common cold? Or is it more marketing hype? I scoffed at the rumours, unwilling to buy yet another supplement. My nightstand already looks like a triage station. Yet, why not ask around? In the name of science—okay, in the name of not-being-sick—I found answers on Savvy Health, an authoritative blog by hottie Dr. Kim Foster. Here’s what I learned from Kim:

Does zinc help or is it hype?
Zinc seems to shorten the duration and severity of the common cold, in otherwise healthy people.

When should you take zinc?
As soon as you start to feel crappy (my word, not her’s). Because most viral replication happens within the first 24 hours of symptom onset, you’re going to get the most benefit from zinc if you start taking it on Day 1. That said, taking it within the first 3 days may still have benefit.

How much should you take?
Aim for at least 75 mg/day of zinc. The studies showing the most benefit used 75 mg as a minimum dose. Sinus Sister killed a cold, flat, with double that dose, but listen to Dr. Foster.

What form should you take?
It seems that contact time with zinc is important. Zinc lozenges appear to be most effective when you dissolve them slowly in your mouth (slowly, here, is sucking on a lozenge for 20-30 minutes), and doing this every 2 hours. Sinus Sister is too impatient to keep a lozenge alive for 20-30 minutes, so she burned through a small bag of lozenges in no time. Again, listen to Dr. Foster.

How does zinc work?
The exact mechanism of zinc is unknown, but it’s thought to assist T cells (a subset of white blood cells) which kill virus-infected cells.

Any potential harm?
Intranasal administration of zinc is not recommended–this has been linked with a loss of the sense of smell, which can be permanent. Yikes. And don’t overdo it with zinc. Large doses (more than 300 mg per day) can compete with copper and manganese absorption, and can interfere with T-cell function. It can also chelate some antibiotics and cause drug-drug interactions.

What about using zinc for prevention?
Yep, it seems to be helpful for that, too. Supplementary zinc taken on a daily basis appears to help prevent pesky colds from striking in the first place. In studies, children receiving supplements for at least 5 months had fewer colds and fewer absentee days from school.

All Clean Down There: U.S.A. National Handwashing Awareness Week

National Handwashing Awareness Week Infographic National Handwashing Awareness Week 2011 [INFOGRAPHIC]
Via Certification Map – Teacher Credential & MAT@USC: Teacher Certification

#1 Tip to Avoid Death-By-Neti-Pot: Addressing the Neti Problem & Shoving Things into Our Orifices

Sinus Sister addresses the neti problem

The Villains: neti pots are the much-maligned wee teapots people use to rinse their sinuses. Not everyone is familiar with this ancient Indian technique, but when Dr. Oz featured neti pots on T.V. last January, they got a big shove into the mainstream. Neti pots are not yet ubiquitous like my beloved Tylenol Sinus, but they will soon be as accepted as thermometers—another health tool that gets inserted into our orifices.

So what’s the problem? They can kill you. This year, two Louisiana residents died after neti potting. And they weren’t idiots who rinsed with paint thinner. They used tap water, which delivered the so-called brain eating amoeba (Naegleria fowleri) into their system. It wasn’t pretty.

#1 Tip to Avoid Death-By-Neti-Pot: use distilled water. Alternately, boil tap water for 10 minutes and let it cool before use. Make sure to rinse out your neti pot and let it dry in the open air (not your medicine cabinet). Now, feel safe to enjoy the magical healing properties of Alladin’s sinus-soothing nose lamp.

#1 Tip for the Common Cold: Booze in the Bath

December 1, 2011  |  Survival Tips  |  , ,  |  5 Comments

Gotta love the Brits, with their costume dramas and their wire-tapping tabloids. While Fox (our unseemly news source) recommends eating cauliflower every day to beat the common cold, The Sun in England says to “booze in the bath”. They also recommend sex, mushrooms and nuts. This is my kind of prevention plan.

The Sun’s expert elaborates on this “booze in the bath” advice:

As soon as I suspect I’m getting a cold, I run a bath as hot as I can bear and sit in it for at least 20 minutes,” says Ron Eccles, director of Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre.”As soon as I suspect I’m getting a cold, I run a bath as hot as I can bear and sit in it for at least 20 minutes,” says Ron Eccles, director of Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre. “Very high temperatures can stop the cold virus in the nose from reproducing, killing the cold. Any hot, steamy environment will do – a sauna or steam room at your local gym is equally effective. A glass of wine with your soak may be even better.

The way forward is clear. I must now find us a source to prescribe bonbons and booze in the bath. Have faith.

Sigh No More, Rewritten: Mumford & Sons Inspire Sinus Sister

November 24, 2011  |  Lifestyle  |  , ,  |  7 Comments

Same song, different lyrics

Sniff No More

Sneezer, cougher, repent
Your germs will not relent
To a kiss, I can’t consent
And I’m sorry
I’m sorry

Sniff no more, no more
Or I’ll show you the door
The sound’s what we abhor
You know me
You know me

A nose ain’t a picky thing
A nose ain’t a picky thing
A nose ain’t a picky thing
A nose ain’t a picky thing

Germs will always betray you
Dismay, not evade you
They will make you ill
Sneeze in my face
And it’s you I’ll kill
You may mean no harm
But you cause some alarm
In my mind you see
Immunity’s low
Despite Vitamin C.