By Tom Purcell
I forgot what it was like to experience a good old common cold.
Prior to covid, you see, the cold-getting experience went like this: I’d wake with a stuffy nose and scratchy throat and my only thought was to curse the gods for visiting a new virus cocktail on me that was going to make me cranky for nine days.
I remember at first denying that a cold virus was feasting on me, then, as the hacking got bad, I moved on to the anger stage before finally accepting my fate that the miserable common cold is a fact of life.
But post-covid, few people respond to a common cold this way.
No sooner do our sniffles start than we are searching WebMD, calling doctors and telling family members we’re certain we are suffering from another covid variant that is sure to do us in.
“Headlines warning of new covid variants; unseasonal surges of flu, RSV and human metapneumovirus; and unusual symptoms stemming from viruses that usually cause cold-like symptoms, including adenovirus and enterovirus, have made many of us hyper aware of the germs that make us sick,” reports NBC News.
Experts tell NBC News that our overreaction to the cold is a bit of overkill — that unless it is an unusually strong bug (which means it may be something more serious) or unless you have a weakened immune system, just do what humans with a cold have always done: get some over-the-counter drugs and drink plenty of fluids.
There’s not much else we can do.
Look, back in 2018, Scientific American said scientists were getting close to curing the dreaded cold — two years before covid demonstrated that our scientists aren’t much ready for prime time where preventatives for easily spread respiratory viruses are concerned.
According to Scientific American, the search for a cure dates back to the 1950s when scientists discovered that the cause of the sniffles was a group of pathogens known as rhinoviruses.
The trouble is, there are 160 different strains of these bugs and, said one immunologist, it’s “incredibly difficult to create a vaccine or drug that will target all of those 160 [strains].”
Another idea is to crack the code on the structure that each of the 160 strains shares. Researchers at the Imperial College London have been working on that, which Scientific American reports would let them design a super vaccine.
But again, these reports date back to 2018 and scientists have still not found a cure for the common cold.
Which is why we might just as well enjoy a cold when it comes.
Being miserably sick, as I was last week, gives us license to shut down our most pressing adult responsibilities and completely let everything go.
A few sips of Irish whiskey in hot tea soothe a raw throat — just as a few more make the presidential election a wee bit less frightening.
Being unable to sleep is not so painful once you latch onto a streaming TV series you can binge watch until you finally nod off.
And when you get back to good health, you will be reminded not to take it for granted.
Hey, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports a lot of us are suffering from various bugs right now.
The least we can do is remember how to make the best of it!