Monday, 13 June 2011

Common Cold Iradicated!

I have a summer cold - well no, I haven't really – I have it on good authority that I have flu.

Breezing into work last night rasping cough alerted all and sundry of my presence.   "Smokers cough!," was the initial jubilant observation.  (Doctors please note:  those who aren't medically inclined have observed that smokers are immune to any cough of whatever cause bar than that caused by the evil weed – research – there might be something in it!)

"No!  Well if I have I have a smoker's runny nose and a smoker's sneeze too!  I have a summer cold."

"Ah, flu."

"No, a summer cold."

They're the same thing."

"No they're not."

(This is an intellectual exchange that goes on for an eternity so I shall not report it in its entirety for fear you might develop information overload).
                                              
This mind numbing conversation happens often inside my workplace and often in the circles in which I am a mover and shaker – perhaps I exist in the wrong circles?   It seems that very few are aware of the existence of the common cold and every little sniffle, cough, sneeze or spike in temperature is an indication of flu, pure and simple.

One of my colleagues is more qualified than me, that is, dual trained in both general and mental health nursing.  She can 'do' auscultation (listen to and understand heart, lung and abdominal sounds), understand routine blood and urine specimen results and many other things way beyond my learning and comprehension and I admire and respect her and damn it, I even like her!

However, she is a firm believer in the 'cold and flu is the same thing' way of thinking.   She is adamant about it.   She is so confident that at the merest hint of a cold, she marches of to her docs, demands and gets antibiotics.

Same applies to our dear residents when she is in charge.  Handover will report "X showing flu symptoms, please observe closely, contact emergency services if required. For GP tomorrow."   Okay, the emergency services bit isn't really there – but I am certain she wants it to be.  I hate it if she is working days over the weekend as she will contact out of hours, speak to docs, insist they visit, be told (it) is at the bottom of the triage pile and (they) will visit within six hours. 

If they visit when this six hours runs into my shift – I am mortified with embarrassment as X sits there looking remarkably well as she stuffs cream cakes in her mouth while telling the doc to "F**k off!"  (Little sweet old ladies sometimes do this you know!).  Usually, but not always – sometimes pressing things get in the way - I will cancel the request.

Most of my friends and some family members – extended or otherwise – also do not appear to be aware of the existence of the common cold, they only get flu.   I do wonder whether this belief is localised to the geographic area in which I happily exist – or is it nationwide or even worldwide.

Or am I just more stupid than I think I am and the common cold was eradicated decades ago and I just missed out on this vital piece of information?  Can't think what I would have been doing.

"Atishoo!  Atishoo!  Atishoo!"

Does anyone out there ever catch a cold – or am I the only person left in the world that does?

Anna :o]

5 comments:

Isabel Doyle said...

hope you feel better soon - suggest tea, lemon and honey, a long soak in the bath and an early night

you can trust me, I'm an engineer!

Anonymous said...

"She can 'do' auscultation (listen to and understand heart, lung and abdominal sounds), understand routine blood and urine specimen results"
You will probably find that she can't and is BS'ing you. There is no need whatsoever for auscultation of a patient in a care home. Hell I work in A&E and don't do it.

"However, she is a firm believer in the 'cold and flu is the same thing' way of thinking. She is adamant about it. She is so confident that at the merest hint of a cold, she marches of to her docs, demands and gets antibiotics."

This is appalling behaviour and shows how little knowledge she really has. Cold or flu, makes no difference. Neither one needs (or responds to) antibiotics. They are both caused by a virus.

You are right, most 'flu' is just a bad cold. If you ever or have ever had real flu you will know all about it. If you can get out of bed it is a cold. If you are unable to lift you head from the pillow and feel as if you are dying it is probably flu.

GrumpyRN

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for your kind comments folks

Isabel ~ Thanks for the tips! Will follow on my first day off - tomorrow. Might soothe I think, although probably not cure. It will run its desired course and then go to where ever colds go.

It's my own fault I have it. Had a chat with colleague re flu jabs last week and the conversation led to colds and I stupidly proclaimed "I haven't had a cold for over two years." Tempted fate you see!

GrumpyRN ~ Believe it or else - she can! Docs respect her. Not UK trained and bloody good skills, that is, apart from her belief that colds and flu are the same thing and then her credibility takes a tumble.

She handed over to me last night and then declared "I'm going away from you now as I don't want to catch the flu." Aaaagh!

Anna :o]

Doctor FTSE said...

"Demands and GETS antibiotics for a COLD?" Colds are VIRUS infections. Antibiotics won't cure them or even alleviate the symptoms. What her antibiotic overload will do is reduce her resistance to bacterial infections so her distressed tummies etc will need stronger and stronger etc.
And you are right. Cold viruses are not the same as influenza viruses. Your friend enjoys the histrionics, if you ask me. If you really have influenza, I mean REAL influenza, you can't get yerself out of bed, never mind make it to the surgery to ask for the useless antibiotics. Your friend sounds like her principal illness is hypochondria.
Remember . . . Treat a cold and it will be gone in seven days. Untreated it will hang around for a week!

HyperCRYPTICal said...

Thanks for you comment Doctor FTSE

I don't think the hypochondriasis label quite fits my colleague - moreso that she seems to have a fixed belief that colds and flu are the same thing and also a fixed belief that antibiotic therapy is a cure-all for every infection known to mankind.

Show her evidence to the contrary - doesn't believe it!

Anna :o]