Catching a common cold and its knock-on effects

January 20, 2023

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

I woke up Sunday morning with that tightening at the back of the throat that never bodes well, and sure enough, I have developed a common cold. Firstly there is the blocked nose which requires trumpeting like an out-of-tune elephant every few moments as rivers of mucus steam from the nostrils like lava flows. In order to deal with this, every pocket and sleeve is packed with damp tissues festering away unpleasantly until one can dispose of them responsibly in order not to spread germs and talking of germs, I imagine hundreds of the little beggars. Looking like minute aliens, I can feel them lounging around my body in smoking jackets tinged with green and slightly sticky, casually drinking coffee and sharing stories about their numerous achievements. Achievements have included aching limbs, sore throat, earache, a pounding head and a red nose to rival Rudolf’s.

women with head cold

One of the indignities of a common cold is the soggy tissue found down the bra when undressing at night time. Still, far worse is when, having finally conquered the cough long enough to fall asleep, you are suddenly woken up by what you believe is a pig that has crept into your bed in the darkness to lie beside you during the night. Of course, it has to be a real pig, that’s the only explanation because the snuffle and grunt that woke you up so rudely couldn’t possibly be yourself, after all, you never snore, not even after a tipple!

Arthur opens one eye in utter disgust and rolls over contentedly to make me even more distressed as having looked at the clock, I realise that I managed just a full thirty minutes before that wretched pig invaded my sleep. Giving in, I wrap up with a blanket over my dressing gown and descend the stairs carefully in the darkness to pop the kettle on and make a mug of steaming honey and lemon, which I will sip dejectedly in the sitting room, tissues beside me, Vicks vapour rub smeared generously over my chest like smothering goose fat on the turkey.

Now, Ila sleeps on soundly, oblivious of my nocturnal exploits but has spent all day studying me quizzically, her head vaguely on one side as she figures out if we are having a barking competition together or if, as my body shakes and spasms with every cough, I am merely asserting my dominance over her as pack leader.

In desperation, I flick through the channels. I have to wonder how many of my neighbours must be spending their night time gambling away the family silver as channel after channel sports poker games or buying gadgets from shopping channels. I’m amazed, who would believe that there are people out there at this hour frantically purchasing steam cleaners, memory foam mattresses and air fryers when it’s two am? Who is watching these sites I ask myself as sadly I am conscious of the reply; ‘you, you idiot!’ as sleep seems further away than ever. At some point, though, the magic happens. I curl up on the sofa, my head buried into a cushion as I pull my blanket tightly around me and dozing, I finally fall asleep.

As morning breaks, I wake up stiff and still snuffly, the sun filtering through the shutters like silken threads to herald the dawn, promising a better day. Ila sleeps at my side, Arthur has made it downstairs to his bed in the sitting room and the television, on mute, flashes pictures of the morning’s news. Reluctantly I rise, my head full of cotton wool, waking both beasties as the barking begins again, punctuated by two enormous sneezes that have shaken my neighbours’ walls and scored seven on the Richter scale so that they sit up in bed and stare at each other, wondering what has just happened. Better day, my foot!

Can I curl up and go back to sleep? Of course not! I’ve things to do, dogs to walk, and jobs to be ticked off, and so in spite of the fact that I feel like a zombie from the Waking Dead series, I make my way upstairs for a warm shower, determined to put on a brave face and opening yet another box of tissues. Defying the laws of nature, I carry on regardless when I’m quite convinced that most of me expired at some point during the night!

For information on how to treat a common cold, click HERE.

Have you read any of our Wellbeing posts? Click HERE.

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