The first day back after a week off is the busiest day, and I’d argue that’s even more true of a medical office. After a week stuck home with construction I was looking forward to returning to my office when I was felled by a cold.
This is actually an unsurprising turn of events, because the entire crew passed the cold around like a party favour last week. Watching the incubation, and avoiding the team as much as possible, I was not terribly surprised to wake coughing and wracked with body aches this morning.
Of course, the most effective way to minimize your chance of catching a cold, is to wash your hands. But it’s not foolproof. I washed my poor hands until they hurt, but if you’re surrounded by sick people, there’s a good chance you’re going to get sick.
The window on contagion for the common cold (rhinovirus) is between five and seven days. Usually we become contagious a day before we develop symptoms but we continue to shed viruses for up to a week. Which means your coworker who came in last Thursday with ‘just a head cold’ is still potentially contagious on Monday.
And this is why I’m cancelling my workday and will be ‘playing it by ear’ as the week progresses. Although there are medications and herbal formulae to combat all the symptoms of the cold
I cannot guarantee I am not contagious. And for people with compromised immune systems ‘, just a cold’ can prove deadly.
So I’m not going in sick because I believe in walking the walk. I advise my patients on healthier living, including taking downtime when they’re sick It’s not a good example if I’m doing that whilst noticeably ill. And now I believe I’ll grab a glass of orange juice and head back to bed.
More interesting reading on colds and flus: