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Oh, the dreaded Colpo d’Aria!  If you’ve suffered a Colpo d’Aria you’ve been struck by some moving air, most probably chilly air, and most probably on your chest or perhaps the back of your neck.  If you live in Italy, it can be deadly; ask any Italian!  I’ve heard Colpo d’Aria blamed for everything from stiff muscles, to inner ear infections, chest colds and even heart attacks.  I have not yet heard anyone say that a Colpo d’Aria caused his cancer, but that, and gum disease, are about the only illnesses for which a stiff breeze has not been held responsible.

Fortunately there is some good treatment available should you fall victim to an evil air current.  The first thing you want to do is go to the pharmacy and get a bastone di zolfo, a stick of sulphur.

bastone di zolfo

You roll this stick back and forth across the skin of the afflicted area (our model was shy).

bastone di zolfo in use

The great thing about the bastone di zolfo is that when it has outlived its usefulness it crumbles or breaks.  Then you know it’s time to buy a new one.  Evidently the sulphur absorbs… what? moisture? bad vibes? infection?  My guess is moisture, but I wouldn’t swear to it.

The next line of attack is the Flector patch, a bit of treated rubbery material, about 4″ X 5″,  that is slightly adhesive on one side so it will stick to your skin. It is in the NSAID family of medicine, and delivers a non-steroid anti-inflamatory drug topically. From all reports it also feels good.

flector pads

There are probably as many treatments for Colpa d’Aria as there are sufferers.  My prescription would be a day in bed with an endless supply of hot tea with lemon and honey, and a good trashy novel.  The best line of defense though is always prevention: stay out of drafts!  I grew up sleeping with the windows wide open, and still do – it’s a miracle that I’ve survived so long.  If you live in Italy the only thing worse than a colpa d’aria is a colpa d’aria in the dark.  Many Italians sleep with their windows tightly closed and shuttered.  Also, now that the cool weather has arrived, don’t forget to bundle up when you go out, and remember especially to wear a good warm scarf to protect your chest and neck from the dangerous air currents.

I’m making light of this notion, but I’m not so sure there isn’t a measure of truth in it.  It falls in the category of folk belief, but such beliefs are often based on years of experiential evidence.  I may laugh at the idea of a colpa d’aria harming me, but I have a great collection of scarves and never go out without one in cool weather.  As they say here, ti raccomando!

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