A Summer Cold

Posted: Jul 29, 2006 12:01 AM

  • Self Absorption Alert! Today's MULLINGS is a 700-word whine about having a summer cold. Unless you also have a summer cold, I urge you to hit the "delete" key now.

    So, Mr. Mullings. There was no column last night because you have a widdle stuffy nose? While brave Israeli soldiers are fighting for their country's survival? While brave American service men and women are spending a year or more in the desert to protect us, you collapse because you have a COLD?

    This isn't just any cold. This may be one of the worst colds since the rhinovirus was discovered.

    All right. Get on with it. Where IS the "delete" key, anyway?

  • Not counting that pesky heart disease, I am generally pretty healthy. So much so, that my primary care physician has been my cardiologist. Only recently have I arranged to visit an internist so that when other parts begin to wear down or wear out, I'll have someone to go to.

  • Men are different from women when it comes to personal health issues. The Mullings Director of Standards & Practices is, I suspect, like most women and will head to the doctor at the first sign of a sniffle.

  • Men are bred to suck it up, strap it on, go out and bring back a mastodon for dinner. Illness? Not unless you pass out. Injury? Not unless the words "gaping hole" are involved.

  • Also, as I noted to the Greek Chorus above, men don't want to have to admit to things like a COMMON cold. They want to be able to claim they have the most UNIQUE cold in the history of colds.

  • According to the science journal "Discover Magazine" (which I love because it is science in single syllables):
    "The common cold is caused by not one common virus but five different viral families, encompassing a couple of hundred unique viral strains among them. These strains are sufficiently different from one another that even after catching one, we can later be infected and rendered miserable by all the others.

    "This explains why toddlers seem to be in a continuous state of sniffles while adults become ever more immune with each ensuing cold and often go years before encountering a strain they've never had."

  • At my age, there are probably only one or two strains left and they are tough little ogres who have been trying to burrow their way into my rhin for lo these many decades.

  • And there is no cure for a cold other than to (a) try to stay as comfortable as possible and (b) try not to give it to everyone in your office.

  • The National Institutes of Health have a fact sheet which calls for: bed rest, plenty of fluids, a fever reducer, a little something for a raw nose, and a little something else for a scratchy throat.

  • My grandma had better advise than this. In fact another NIH web page suggests:
    "Chicken soup has been used for treating common colds at least since the 12th century. It may really help. The heat, fluid, and salt may help you fight the infection."

  • The web page commoncold.org has a list of drugs and compounds which sound like they should be used to knock out Bubonic Plague more than a common cold, but that's what keeps over-the-counter drug companies in business.

  • The final word on colds - treated or untreated - is this:
    "The symptoms usually go away in 7 to 10 days."

  • New Topic: August Recess.

  • Last August I cut Mullings down from three days a week to two with the excuse that I was writing a book.

  • I lied.

  • I didn't write so much as a Christmas card. And I'm not going to do it this year, either.

  • I have an idea, though. Inasmuch as there is one of me and about 30,000 of you; why not go to the Mullings Archives and pick out your one or two (not ten or twelve) favorite columns (or Travelogues) and send me an e-mail with your picks?

  • I'm still only going to write two columns a week until Labor Day, though.

    Oh. THERE's the Delete key. Now I find it.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring Page today: Links to all the cold info referred to above, a link to the MULLINGS ARCHIVES, a nice Mullfoto from earlier in the week, and a Catchy Caption of the day.