Yesterday was a busy day for me. I ran all over the city, walking, taking the subway, going to a hospital, a coffee shop, a restaurant, a couple of stores, and a mall. And everywhere I went everyone was coughing or sneezing. I was perfectly healthy yesterday. Now--see above.
I know people are busy and have important things that need to get done. Apparently taking a sick day would bring civilization to its knees or something. But before you decide to be "brave" and go into work or school or out to run errands even though you're sick think about some of the other people you're affecting:
- You could be coming into contact with people who have lowered or suppressed immunity. People with serious illnesses, the very young, or the elderly. What is an inconvenient cold to you could easily become pneumonia in them with consequences that are a little more than inconvenient.
- The person you give your cold to might be the caregiver for someone with suppressed immunity. Whether they accidentally pass on your germs to that person or end up having to avoid the person who relies on them until they're no longer contagious, their lives just got a whole lot more difficult.
- You might end up giving your cold to a pregnant woman. I don't know too much about this subject but I'm pretty sure cold medications aren't allowed during pregnancy. The woman who was already dealing with plenty now has to go through the misery of a cold with little to no relief.
- You might affect someone's health in a different way. For example, diabetics have a hard enough time keeping their blood sugars at a reasonable level in order to avoid the serious consequences that come with out-of-control sugars. There are a lot of things that can throw it out of whack, including stress and illness. You know what causes a diabetic stress? Getting sick and watching helplessly as their sugars go crazy. I know because I've been diabetic since I was eight years old.
- In Toronto we have a downtown hospital district. The place is rife with medical staff and students, as well as researchers. I know they take every precaution to keep healthy (except maybe for quitting smoking--what's up with that, guys?) but it doesn't take much to catch someone's cold. And they don't have the option to just go into work anyway. Take a second to think about how many people that ends up affecting.
These are just some of the examples of how a cold can be much more detrimental than you may have thought. So please, the next time you're sick and contagious--stay home. The world won't come to an end, your job won't suddenly disappear, those errands can wait. Honest. In the meantime rest, drink juice, eat soup, watch soaps and read trashy tabloids. Sleep works wonders. It also doesn't hurt to take extra garlic, vitamin C, zinc and echinacea. Get better and show some consideration for your fellow humans.