...seven days. If you don't treat a cold it will last --- about seven days.
My seven days are up, and except for a few residual coughs and a slightly stuffy nose, my cold is over. I will admit to "treating" it, although I didn't seek professional medical attention. In addition to my throat and chest, I did rub the bottoms of my feet with Vick's (a remedy suggested by two blog commenters and my son), took a couple of antihistamine tablets during the worst days of my streaming eyes and nose, and followed up with about three doses of dextromethorphan and guaifenesen (also a suggestion by a commenter.) Along with those tried and true remedies, I drank many, many cups of hot tea, most of it of the spiced variety such as Chai and my favorite "Constant Comment."
For the most part, I just took it easy. Between frequent visits to a steadily diminishing box of tissues and sipping my tea, I managed to read four books: an Aaron Elkins' "skeleton detective" mystery Tiny Little Teeth, and two forensic mysteries and one very informative non-fiction book (Death's Acre)-- by the same authors, Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. If you're a fan of gory forensic stuff, I recommend the Bass/Jefferson books; I found them fascinating. If you are squeamish, those are not for you.
I'm also about one-third through Three Cups of Tea - One Man's Mission to Fight Terrorism and Build Nations... One School at a Time, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It's a fascinating true story about one man's determination to build schools for desperately poor mountain children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I understand that Mortenson has been getting some TV exposure lately (which I missed), although I first read about his book in a monthly book review magazine at my local library. I'm sure you could find a wealth of information about the book and Mr. Mortensen on the Internet, should you be interested in doing so.
Gardening Daughter's husband helped to supplement my food requirements during my self-imposed confinement, bringing me a huge container of chicken and dumplings from my favorite "chicken place," cornbread muffins, and a slab of pizza -- not all at the same time, of course. He also made a run to the pharmacy to pick up the cough syrup after I discovered that the bottle I had tucked away in the cupboard had an expiration date of 06/2007. It seems I need to perform a cupboard-wide check on the expiration dates of OTC medicines. I don't know if expired medications get stronger or weaker, but I'd hate to either overdose myself or waste my time taking something that is completely ineffective.
Now that my semi-annual cold seems to be on the wane, and my energy is slowing rising, there is much I need to accomplish: more Christmas cards to make, address and mail; gifts to wrap and ship; last minute gifts to purchase, etc., etc.