Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Lurgy (& the wonderful power of the placebo)

Many people have suggested to me that 'the lurgy' doesn't actually exist. It's the description I use when I've got a cold, but feel way to repulsive for it to be a mere cold, and I'd be a bit embarrassed to be whining so much about some sniffles, so I tell people I've got 'the lurgy'.
Unfortunately, according to google, it does exist. The Urban dictionary describes it thus. Basically, it's a fictitious disease, mainly used for skiving off work, and originating from The Goon Show. This would be all well and good if pre-schoolers allowed you to skive. Wiktionary, with its cute addition of "based on the Northern English dialectic phrase 'fever-lurgy' ("lazy or idle")" while true, going on the state of our house at present, did not make me feel any better.
So, I've got the common-cold, have had it for what seems like forever, and I'm getting very sick of it.
Best Practice describe the common cold as 'an acute, self-limiting infection of the upper respiratory tract mucosa', which, I feel, makes it sound much more important and gives it its due weight. Or maybe 'a rhinovirus is attacking me'. That could work.
In attempts to rid myself of the lurgy  the rhinovirus I've been drowning myself in honey and lemon, broiling myself in eucalyptus oil, rugging up so I look like a babushka doll, and downing pain-killers like I've got shares in the company.
When in doubt, I go to Cochrane, which is an amazing resource, bringing you analysis of all the major studies. Unfortunately, time and time again the result is 'more research needs to be done', 'the present trials were all biased, therefore, more research is needed.'
About the common cold, Cochrane says that happiness and keeping calm seems to keep it away, (so I have a cold and I'm not sufficiently calm and happy? I'm happy. Seriously. I am so completely calm and happy that - o forget it) and results from Spain suggest that two glasses of wine a day will also do it. (Maybe working on the calm/happy thing?) As two glasses of wine a day is also over the limits recommended for general good health, I'll nix that and put up with the cold. Zinc might help. Vitamin C might reduce the cold by a couple of hours. As to all the things I generally try - at heart, it all comes back to one thing - they really don't know. Rest, fluids, painkillers are the main recommendations.
I'm going to keep up with all my favourites, steaming, lavender soaked towels pressed to aching eyes always makes me feel better, even though there's absolutely no evidence to support it.
If there's one medicine I have a vast belief in, it's the placebo. Studies consistently show it works brilliantly.
So I'm away to treat my rhinovirus with a couple of hundred sugar pills. But taken in the form of chocolate. I think it's guaranteed to help.

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