So you caught a cold, and you’re strong – you’re taking your supplements and doing your thing that you’ve worked out over the years will help you beat this thing. In a few days, you’ll be over it, no big deal. Besides, catching a cold is a part of everyday life and that’s why everyone has an immune system, right?
But what for one person might be a little bump in the road, for others might be the end of the road. And while it is inevitable that people will get the same cold you got even if everyone takes precautions, still, it might help to know that it really is important to do your best to not share it – or to at least not be overly casual about not protecting those around you.
You can be the one to stop the virus dead in its tracks, before you give it to someone,
who gives it to someone,
who gives it to someone else,
who gives it to 5 someones…. (you get the idea.)
Here are a few reason:
1) Pregnant women and the rarely talked about but really important CMV virus
There is a virus that acts exactly like the common cold, and people who get it think they just got a cold like every other cold they ever had. But in this one situation, they’d be wrong – because they have instead caught CytoMegalovirus. There is no real way you’d ever know that you caught CytoMegalovirus (CMV for short) instead of the common cold, and for the most part is pretty much harmless, or at least as harmless as any cold could be (which as you’ll see below, really isn’t completely harmless) but, in the case of pregnancy, CMV is actually a pregnant woman’s worst nightmare. CMV is one of the (if not the) leading causes of cerebral palsy and one of the most influential known causes of birth defects in general, which is kinda amazing considering most people seem to have never heard of it.
There is currently no vaccine for CMV, and although many people have had it as children, there are still many adults who have never had it and therefore can still catch it and can still pass it on to a pregnant woman who also never had it. SO – the moral of the story is, be exceptionally careful if you have a cold around people who are pregnant. But remember, that doorknob you are touching in a public place might be touched next by a pregnant woman, so use your elbow…or something. 🙂
2) Children are at a risk of a stroke after a cold
There’s a small but studied spike in the risk of children having a stroke immediately after a cold or infection. Strange but true, click here.
3) Brain infections, Eye infections, Hydrocephalus – from the infections that set in after a cold.
Colds usually come and go within 7 to 10 days. But colds are one of the leading causes for wonderful infections to take over in peoples sinuses and inner ears – particularly in children. Now, having a sinus infection is a miserable experience and can be really hard to get rid of sometimes, taking weeks or even months. But while no one wants that experience, it’s hardly comparable to some of the possible other complications that can occur.
Before the advent of antibiotics, it wasn’t unheard of for an ear infection to turn into mastoiditis or to turn into a BRAIN infection. Today, that is generally treatable, but with the advent of antibiotic resistance, this situation is once again on the rise. Meningitis is also a possible complication of an ear infection. Some sinus infections can end up affecting the eyes in what is called cavernous sinus thrombosis, and this can also cause blindness and/or hydrocephalus (which itself can result in brain damage and death.)
3) A cold could cause a susceptible child who doesn’t have asthma, to develop it….for life.
But you don’t have to take my word for it….click here.
4) And for someone who HAS Asthma, a cold can be deadly.
In the USA alone:
- Adults who currently have asthma: 8.0%
- Children who currently have asthma: 9.3%
- Number of asthma deaths in 2013: 3,630
Colds and flus are responsible for about 80% of asthma flare-ups according to this article from Australia – so while I can’t say for certain how many of the American asthma deaths came from the common cold, it stands to reason that there were…quite a few. But even though most people with asthma aren’t going to die from a cold, having a flare-up and being unable to breathe while taken to the hospital by ambulance is still a really miserable experience.
- 2013 Visits to emergency departments in the USA for asthma: 1.8 million
5) Getting a cold makes it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar.
I don’t understand much about this dynamic, other than knowing it’s a real issue. Diabetics have a difficult job keeping their blood sugar in check daily as it is, but getting a cold makes that burden much, much worse.
6) Strep throat can cause Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
It’s easy to confuse what you think is a cold and really might be strep throat – especially since sometimes the throat swipe test can be wrong. And if you have strep throat, passing it along can have some very strange consequences: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – which, ironically, is what some people might think you have just because you’re trying to keep from passing on your strep throat to others.
There are probably more reasons you don’t want to give your cold to others than the ones I’ve listed here, but suffice it to say, there are some folks out there that take a really casual attitude about passing on their sicknesses to others. I’ll never forget the dude at a prayer meeting who gave me a big hug and then started telling me how he had just had the flu and a high fever the day before. When I chided him for hugging me, he told me, “Pray it off” and I could never stop wondering why he thought that I could pray the flu away while he had succumbed to it. Sure enough, I got it the very next day, too.
Remember, only you can prevent forest fires – and while you don’t want to go too far overboard into protecting others from your cold to the point of what’s unrealistic, doing your part could definitely spare misery for others. So please, consider doing your part.
July 26, 2015 at 8:56 am
We stay away from the care home where my elderly mother-in-law lives if we have colds (or anything else infectious) as a single visitor can end up infecting the whole population and elderly people are particularly vulnerable. Last year someone brought in a tummy bug and more than half of the residents became ill. I think it is worse in a care home because of the numbers of people, the temperature (it is always very warm in there because elderly folk tend to feel the cold easily) and because people with dementia often forget how to do things like washing their hands.