Cold War

rhinovirusscopeThis week I’ve been pretty poorly. I’ve been suffering from acute coryza or paramyxovirus, adenovirus or myxovirus. The diagnosis of these conditions is pretty tricky so it’s hard for me to confirm exactly.

Okay, okay to the smarty pants reader who knows that these viruses are actually causes of the common cold but it just makes me sound sicker if I use poncy Latin names (which roughly translate to mean “beyond poison, mucus and slime”).

The NHS refers to a cold as a mild viral infection. What I want to know is who is responsible for the outstanding PR for the common cold?

How many times is the phrase “don’t worry it’s just a cold” used? Usually whilst you’re simultaneously hacking up a lung. You drag yourself into work because you ‘only’ have a cold and then spend half the day trying not to cough into the communal coffee.

You spend days feeling as though someone very mean has filled your skull cavity with pebbles to knock against your face every time you bend forward and, to add insult to injury, the virussy villain tops it off with some expanding foam sprayed up your nose to prevent you being able to carry out anything that resembles breathing.

Your voice becomes  husky and unreliable, fading in and out like a badly tuned radio, achieving nothing except some unsolicited sexual harassment. Seriously? What’s that all about? You know the hoarseness is caused by phlegm, right?

When a cold is really bad, you may be unfortunate to experience the ultimate in repulsiveness… There is no way to put this delicately so I won’t even try. Nasal incontinence. Liquid coming out of your nose that your poor disease filled nostrils can not control by inhaling. You are powerless to prevent the humiliating trickle of shame.

So you can’t breathe, you can’t talk,  you’re in pain and you’re leaking fluid that you have no control over and yet still this nasty illness is described as ‘mild’.  If you look up a description of the word mild it will say ‘not severe, light, nothing much, non-irritating’. Well, let me tell you, Common Cold PR agency, next time I come down with acute coryza or paramyxovirus, adenovirus or myxovirus, I might come and sneeze on your stapler or bark over your biro and see how you like it.


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