That time has come when I feel under the weather. It is a time of year I like to call ‘the first week of my holiday where I relax and fall apart’. It’s like clockwork. Every summer. Before you get wildly worried for me, it’s not that kind of sickness; it is just the regular run-of-the-mill cold, but I do appreciate the concern. In order to keep things interesting for me, I have decided to write a review of each of my symptoms, a rating out of 10, and a few remedies which might help me get on my holiday. Let’s not waste time, let’s dive right in!
This was my first clue that I was coming down with something fun. I went to take a long deep breath as my feet hit the sand and it sounded like I was snoring. A blocked nose is caused by the inflammation of your sinus so that air cannot pass freely like it normally does. Sadly, it can last up to a week before you should be seeking medical intervention, but every single second feels like forever when you risk suffocation when having a drink of water. I’ve turned to the old trusty Otrivin nasal spray to sort this one out. Offering temporary relief from congestion, Otrivin nasal spray isn’t going to deal with the germs causing your cold, but it makes you feel better in the immediate. And trust me, that is worth its weight in gold. It is a pretty safe remedy, but you can increase your risk of side effects by going above the recommended dose.
Blocked nose rating: 2/10 – May it die in a fire
This is one of life’s great cruelties. You can go from having a blocked nose one minute, to a runny nose the next! Or, you can paradoxically have a blocked nose that runs at the same time. It is a hardship of Job-ian proportions. A runny nose is a result of a build up of mucus in our sinus cavities which needs to drain somewhere. Given that it is your body trying to expel the nasties, it is better out than in. It just happens to be a source of major embarrassment and frustration. Thankfully, the Otrivin nasal spray comes to the rescue again here, offering relief in those moments when tissues are beginning to feel like sandpaper.
Running nose rating: 4/10 – Pretty bad, but probably better than a blocked nose
This is one of the symptoms of a cold which is as painful for those around you as it is for you. I’ve been told that this current cough sounds like two porcelain plates being smashed together. I hope the people in your immediate vicinity are slightly more patient than those in mine. As much as it sucks, the cough is an important reaction from your body as it tries to expel the infection. If you lost the cough altogether, you would be keeping many more germs in and prolonging your illness. Fun fact, humans cough at a speed of almost 80km per hour. Best avoid a coughing fit when driving in a school zone. My remedy? Steam with a bit of eucalyptus oil to keep my airways open and moist. Drying out is the worst thing you can do. Consider a cough syrup tailored to either a wet or a dry cough.
Dry cough rating: 2/10 – This is the pits
I once had a patient describe to me his sore throat which could ‘slay a walrus’. I found the expression funny at the time and offered a wry chuckle. Now, I have nothing but empathy as I feel like I’m swallowing razor blades every few seconds. The virus works its way to the more delicate parts at the back of your mouth and causes painful ulcers and blisters to blossom. My remedies include gargling with warm salty water, and inhaling steam again. These will help your throat to stay moist which gives your body the best chance to fight against the infection. This doesn’t deal with the pain straight away, so I recommend sucking on a strepsil with anaesthetic. You won’t know yourself.
Sore throat rating: 1/10 – This is officially my least favourite part of the cold
As if these symptoms weren’t bad enough by themselves, the cold has decided to throw in a fever so that every waking moment is as uncomfortable as possible. Thanks a bunch, influenza. In actual fact, this is your body launching an offensive against the virus. By raising your body temperature, it makes it very difficult for the virus to replicate and spread throughout your body. It is a bit of a scorched earth approach which is not appreciated in the moment, but in the long run, fairly effective. I recommend managing the pain with paracetamol and ibuprofen.
Fever rating: 5/10 – Pretty unpleasant, but probably more unpleasant for the virus, and I’m just vindictive enough to enjoy that
A little bit of context: I am a loud sneezer. It sounds like I am intentionally being obnoxious, when I actually find it a little bit embarrassing. There is some silver lining though. A big sneeze actually expels germs and nasties from your body better than those little tiny sneezes which people do to be polite. I actually don’t do much to remedy the sneeze. There are bigger fish to fry at this point.
Sneeze rating – 7.5/10 – Not all that bad, really…
Being a nuisance to my wife and family
Like most men, I do enjoy making a meal out of my sickness; ringing a little bell when I need help, asking people to perform menial tasks for me, forcing others to listen to me complain about how poorly I feel… Yep, it’s a wonderful symptom of being sick. Misery loves company, as they say.
Being a nuisance to my wife and family: 10/10 – If only I could get away with this while fully healthy!
Yours in convalescence,