If you take a read on the Common Cold, it’s pretty crazy how much of an impact it has on productivity. Having one now, I’ve been thinking about how much worse a cold seems as an adult than when I was a kid. Of course, there were a lot of benefits of having a cold as a kid:
- It got me out of violin practice
- I could stay home from school and catch a marathon of shows: Regis and Kathy Lee, Classic Concentration, Price is Right, the Flinstones. At 1 PM, TV started to get boring until about 4 PM.
- Sometimes, McNuggets got involved
A cold meant being carefree for a day, curled up in bed, being nursed back to health. That is not the case when I have a cold now. Usually, a child is also sick alongside me and we’re both miserable.
Maybe it’s because I’m aging, but the cold as an adult also feels worse. It lasts longer, it doesn’t let me sleep, the aches are worse. It’s also hard to elicit sympathy for my aches when my “fever” doesn’t go above 37 °C.
What strikes me is that in 30 years, very little has changed in dealing with colds despite its huge economic impact. So what has changed for the better?
- The Neti Pot is more popular now and available everywhere.
- Hand sanitizers like Purell were released making it easier to sanitize hands
- Surface treatments like Microban have caught on in transportation and public settings
- It’s easier to work and stay connected even when you’re sick, meaning there’s no where to hide from work.
- It’s infinitely easier to find out about interactions of drugs. You used to have to consult a pharmacist… I remember also having as a child a big book of drugs that listed potential interactions.
Despite Tamiflu, CRISPR, DNA Sequencing, and Dolly, it seems like prevalence of the cold has remained the same. Maybe it would be easier to just create a time machine to fast forward past it? Maybe the cold is something that we won’t miss in 20 years.