Friday, 10 June 2011

What colour is your rhino(virus)?

After a fun yet possibly ill-advised Friday evening in the garden without my scarf and woolly hat, I have fallen foul of the dread disease known as the summer cold.  This germy foulness is undoubtedly one of the most annoying weapons belonging to the gruesome Pestilence who, whilst not being as superbadass as Death, is still able to make life a misery via a number of poxy afflictions on the world: ingrown toenails, e-coli (beansprouts in Germany: a sign of the Apocalypse?), Kerry Katona (a little bug that latches onto the pre-frontal cortex that inhibits the ability to make any sensible decisions and causes the sufferer's reading abilities to instantly flatline, and Sepp Blatter (a vile disorder which stops the secretions from the conscience gland).

I am also dealing with the great blocked nose switcharooo, which is apparently a good thing according to certain meditation folks, who also say it is good to force your face to switch between nostrils when rattling air in or out, because:
“When the right nostril is dominate [sic], it's the better time for physical activities, eating, asana, *doing.* when the left is dominate [again, sic], mental activities as well as resting, meditating, *being*--studying--included!”

Alternate nostril breathing is only one of myriad pastimes for folk who like wearing loose linen and sandals whilst trying to achieve oneness and a dialog with the self or other such time-fillers which are supposed to be good for you, but in the case of the nostril domination game, my right nostril is completely stuffed and not even the insertion and prodding of a puffer fish with string tied around its little fin) will unblock it.  So I’m stuck with the “resting and meditating” nostril which may go some way to explain why I feel less than dynamic.

But what is the common cold?  According to Medscape Reference, rhinoviruses (RVs) are small (30 nm), nonenveloped viruses that contain a single-strand RNA genome within an icosahedral (20-sided) capsid. Rhinoviruses belong to the Picornaviridae family, which includes the genera Enterovirus (polioviruses, coxsackieviruses groups A and B, echoviruses, numbered enteroviruses, parechoviruses) and Hepatovirus (hepatitis A virus).

All of which sounds far more unpleasant than my visions of sneeze droplets being filled with the tiniest rhinoceroses floating about like dandelion clock fluff which, on being inhaled by an unsuspecting person, become the angriest tiniest rhinoceroses that bang about in your head. 

Under this circumstance, you’d just better pray that you had a white rhino in there, as it is more chilled out than its almost identical relative the black rhino, but maybe you can tell by the severity of the cold. Perhaps you could try stuffing some leaves up there – they like leaves, I am told – or approaching it slowly, but mollification of a black rhino is unlikely and foliage up the schnozz is not a good look.

With this in mind, I looked at other ways of persuading the cold to vacate my face and was surprised to learn that over my thirty something years on the planet, during all the colds I have suffered, I have been blowing my nose all wrong

I didn’t even know there was a right or wrong way of going about these things. In my screaming ignorance, I assumed that as long as you used a tissue not a wall or a yak, and that said tissue was in the region of your conk, all you needed to do was have a good toot and all would be well.  Thank you to WebMD for disabusing me of my preconceptions, for showing me the error of my ways and teaching me how to blow my nose:
“It's important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head. But when you blow hard, pressure can move germ-carrying phlegm back into your ear passages, causing earache. The best way to blow your nose is to press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently into a tissue to clear the other.”

Sensible, yes, and certainly a little patronising (although if a grown person needs to be advised as to how he or she is to blow his or her own nose, I do wonder if they should be allowed the internet or even outside) but the rest of website has some pretty good advice - I would say that, it is telling me to eat some of my favourite foods – which a reasonably sensible individual may choose to follow.

A word of warning, however, on indiscriminately taking advice from ‘experts’ whether on the nets or not.  Any person that tells you to ingest/rub on/sit in a natural ingredient because the anti-bacterial nature of said ingredient helps treat viral infections, is clearly a nit and should be ignored, or for that matter, anybody who swears by antibiotics.

I shall be taking the advice of Ben Goldacre, and accept that there is really nothing that can be done.  I will wait for the tiny nostril rhinos to get bored stomping around and pretend to myself that I am doing something ‘good’ by following my tried and tested process:

100 ml of whiskey

Take the honey and lemon.  Throw them in the bin.
Drink the whiskey.
Go to bed.
Repeat as necessary.

And I can bet that, thanks to my rigorous regime, in a few days -  maybe up to a week -  I will be feeling fine and dandy once more.

No comments:

Post a Comment