Is the common cold the most sadistic of everyday illnesses?
It usually strikes at least once a year and makes you feel like crap. So why is a cold such a bitch?
I've got a cold. Like most human adults this isn't my first rodeo. I got a headache, a sore throat and by the time that first sneeze hit I was already mainlining Lemsip. I'm wrapped in a blanket, feeling miserable and wondering if maybe this time I might actually die. My muscles are REALLY stiff, is that a sign of rigor mortis?
A cold (the common cold if you want to give it it's full title) is a viral infection affecting the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms include headaches, blocked or runny nose, coughing, sneezing and a tonne of other crappy stuff. It is a bizarre phenomenon that everyone forgets how shit having a cold is, until they get another one.
Colds spread like wildfire. Washing your hands and sneezing into tissues reduces contamination but let's face it. Us human are grim and appear to enjoy sharing our snotty germs around. If there's a cold doing the rounds and you aren't safely inside in a Hazmat suit then face it, you're doomed.
** PLEASE NOTE ** I don't condone sexism but for the avoidance of doubt I'm not talking about Man Flu. Man Flu is an extreme strain of the common cold that only affects men. It is indeed deadly. All symptoms are considerably worse and utmost sympathy must be given to the sufferer during their horrific ordeal. God bless your manly souls. **
Here are six strange things that happen when you have a cold but you don't think about the rest of the time.
1. A newfound respect for breathing
The average resting person takes about 16 breaths per minute, so roughly 23,040 a day (I know, WTF!?). Unless you're at yoga, under water or running really fast then you probably aren't thinking about breathing. That is, until you get a cold. A blocked nose causes all humans to reminisce about times when their nose worked properly. Mouth breathing is highly inconvenient, especially when eating. It also guarantees that you will wake up in the morning with a mouth like the Sahara desert.
2. Should I stay or should I go?
You might feel like death, barely warmed up, but in reality you are probably well enough to work. You have two choices. Go into the office, coughing and sneezing and generally being gross. On the plus side this makes you seem like a total trooper. The sad reality is that you are invariably infecting everyone else, one germy sneeze at a time.
On the other hand you could call in sick, wrap yourself in a blanket burrito and binge watch a Netflix series. Be warned though, when you return to the office you will definitely be mocked for pulling a sickie when 'you just had a cold?'.
3. The curse of Patient X
It doesn't matter how long ago you had a cold, if you are pinned as Patient X then you'll forever be blamed for all colds. It's workplace tradition that during a bout of cold cases, to trace back the order of who got a cold last. Inevitably Carol then remembers a time you sneezed during a meeting back in 2006 and damn it, you just became Patient X. Starter of the common cold in general and walking bio hazard.
4. Looking like crap
There is no hiding a cold. If the puffy face and, dark eye circles and general forlorn expression don't give it away, then the constant sniffling and moaning definitely will. You are going to look like shit for a few days, which is fine because you'll be feeling as bad as you look. Now is not the time to start a modelling career.
5. Being terrible in bed.
Nah, I'm not talking about that you pervert. Unless you remember the Friends episode where Monica gets sexy with the vapor rub in an attempt to seduce Chandler?
I'm referring to having a high fever and night sweats and forcing your partner to sleep next to a stinky human radiator. Add to that the fact that you grunt and snore like a warthog due to your blocked nose. Then to top it off you are inevitably infecting them with while they sleep. Not an ideal bed buddy.
6. It's incurable
Yeah that sounds dramatic but it's true. All you can do is rest, keep warm, drink plenty of fluids (alcohol doesn't count) and ride it out. You can drag your sorry ass to the pharmacy for medicine to mask the symptoms but they can't speed up your recovery. Spoiler alert, the very expensive Cold/flu remedies are pretty much just decongestant for your bunged up snout, paracetamol to reduce your temperature and caffeine so you feel less dead. There is no cure. You will survive though. You've got this.
Good luck if you're currently a giant snot bag. Get well soon!