Last week I was told by someone in the know that, at the moment, the UK has eight different and rather vicious cold viruses enjoying their winter sojourn on our shores.
The blighters keep attacking and spreading their nastiness around and the population is really suffering. For weeks I was anticipating one of them coming to get me, but I stoically managed to hold those dastardly germs at bay.
Unfortunately, though, last Monday, in the space of about half an hour, I succumbed and turned from being completely healthy into a coughing, wheezing, nose-blowing splutterer.
We all get colds, they travel virally grabbing hold of anyone in their spiteful path, and when they get you, they hang on for dear life, knocking the stuffing out of you. But the main thing about the common cold is that it is just that, common. So, if they’re so ordinary and commonplace, albeit deeply unpleasant, why do they engender such disgust in people?
I was going to a meeting last Friday and, while I was on the tube, I unfortunately had a vast, prolonged sneezing fit. I tried to suppress the sneezes but to no vail. However I did cover my mouth and nose as much as humanly possible to contain my germs. One lovely young girl looked pityingly at me and said ‘bless you’ after each sneeze, whereas one besuited gentleman – and I use the term in its broadest sense – gave me a dirty look and tutted continuously.
It was as if he thought I’d developed the cold on purpose to get on that train and pass on the virus to him personally.
I can only imagine that ‘suit-man’ is the type that gives in to a cold or suffers the ‘man-flu’ version of it and takes to his bed moaning and groaning. Well, I’m afraid I just won’t do that.
The thing about a cold is you really can’t give in to it. Yes, take all the precautions you can not to spread your germs, dose yourself up with anything that helps reduce the symptoms, and then get on with your life to the best of your ability while you get better.
I have very little patience for people who give in to a cold, or for whom life stops if they have a headache or stub their toe. I’ve always been a bit stiff-upper-lip-and-get-on-with-it about health, helped by the fact that apparently I have a very high pain threshold – I found that out during childbirth, the details of which I’ll spare you to protect those with a nervous disposition!
Therefore you can imagine my disdain for the man-flu brigade. And by the way, I know that particular ailment is not solely suffered by men. However, unlike many people that I see around me, I certainly will not berate or look down on anyone who is going about their business whilst suffering from a cough and cold.
Instead I applaud them!
Anyhow, it was during my bacteria ridden week that I read an article about some very clever scientist types at the universities of Leeds and York who think they may have found the way to ‘jam’ the genetic code of the common cold. This breakthrough, though in its very early stages, might mean a future without coughs and sneezes and virulent viruses. Oh what a happy world that would be – although probably not so happy for the drug companies who must make a fortune on the myriad of products created to help us combat the hideous cold symptoms.
But while we await this miracle cure, please remember it’s just a cold, so no-one needs to be quarantined, vilified or looked-down upon.
Be caring and supportive to people with a cold. It’s a common virus, it’s not the re-instigation of the Black Death!
NOTE TO SELF: Bless you.