…..'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'…..

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menoloopal [men-oh-loo-pal]; the condition of being sent mental

On Friday I gave you some recipes relating to relief of the sniffles.  It was my pleasure to be of small service. I fervently trust that nobody has had cause to overdose on the second…

Aitch's SOS, though, caused me to think back to the last month before leaving Sydney.  It was May-June, autumn becoming winter and the advertising was all about with the orthodox propaganda.  "Influenza KILLS.  Get your vaccination!"  This is not the place for going into a treatise on the whys and wherefores of such panic button measures.  (Believe, me you don't want to get me started on that one…)  However, it is worth noting that, for the most part, it was kept within the confines of medical centres and hospitals.  Then, about 10 years ago it seemed they weren't selling enough of the stuff so they started to infiltrate the aged homes and kiddy day care centres.  If the doctors won't push it for you, then push it directly to the public.

What had caught my eye of astonishment though was, for the first that I was aware, an over-the-counter product very commonly used to help folk 'soldier on', was advertising itself as the best thing since the Big Bang to suppress the symptoms of the common flu.

… go back and read the last two words.

For some years now I have been fighting the battle of terminology.

Influenza - (now rarely used.  'Flu' is easier for kids and old folks to say.)  A viral infection having a deep and penetrating effect upon the immune system, resulting in severe cold-like symptoms, often accompanied by fever (frequently high and potentially life threatening), and usually one or more symptoms determining the strain of the virus - for example stomach symptoms, bowel symptoms, chest symptoms and so on.  From onset to sequalae is traditionally around 21 days, with extended periods of recovery required.  It is not unheard of for hospitalisation to be required.

Common Cold - rhinitis being the key symptom.  Sneezing, eye symptoms, sinus blockage.  Sometimes head or ear ache and there may be sore throat and cough.  Generally no fever. From onset to sequalae is between 3 and 7 days with a few days of 'lag'.

Feverish Cold (became known as 'flu-type' cold) - somewhere mid 20th century the common cold started to do something a bit strange.  It began to mimic influenza.  Where fever comes, symptoms are prolonged and certainly require monitoring to ensure that actual influenza has not eventuated.  From onset to sequalae is generally around 10 to 14 days, with post-viral recovery being variable according to the individual. 

The Modern World, though, is not too keen on letting the viral-infected organism rest and recover.  "SOLDIER ON" it yells - "take suppressive drugs and get over yourself".  It was following this type of approach to infection that we began to see cases of what is now referred to as PVS;  post-viral syndrome.  "We'll make you better now so you can be sicker for longer!"

Those things which make you feel good in the short term seek payment in the long term.

The other thing that happened with the onset of the feverish cold is that sick notes got written up as 'flu-type viral infection' and the common man began talking in terms of having  'the flu' instead of 'the cold.'  Trust me.  No-one (and I mean no-one) who has ever had a dose of influenza proper will ever forget, or make the mistake of saying to their spouse or employer, "I've got the flu, I need a coupla days off".

Influenza is not 'common'!

Okay, so having menolooped, let me make it clear this is not an article submission for the Medical Journal of Your Choice - it is an ancillary health professional's personal gripe at the misuse of medical terminology in the interests of keeping a sick society, rather than empowering well-being.  There is a time and place for all medical approaches, including manufactured ingestive therapies.  Influenza may require medical intervention.  The other two? 

You can take it easy for 6-7 days.  Or we can cure you in a week.

It's an oldie but a goodie.  Any 'therapy' for these two complaints ought to be of the relieve and rest variety.  Take an elixir.  Sleep.  Plain colds, feed.  Feverish colds, liquids only till appetite returns.  If absolutely necessary, some aspro or similar to quench fever.  By all means alert your doctor.  If you are at risk from other factors, all precaution should be taken.

But a cold is a cold is a cold.

That's all.


  1. Agreed. Every single person who was coerced into taking the flu shot got sick. Me stuck to her guns. No is no.

  2. Hari OM
    Thank you ladies. It's a tough one - Jane & Joe Public are so caught up in the cycle it's hard to cut out the spin!


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