Cold season during a pandemic
Last week, my kid got a sore throat. I’m normally nursing something post-Halloween. One year a kid puked in the car on the way home from the day-of party. Call it candy, excitement, whatever, it’s all caused by germs. We just acquire our germs around this time every year, no exceptions. The issue this year is stigma. Are we allowed to have a head cold? Nope. Coughing? Gotta be Covid.
We adults heard “sore throat,” exchanged a look, and began stocking up groceries and supplies.
Even stuck at home, we’re asking him to cough carefully, to watch what he touches. Much of it is courtesy, and he should know that it feels good when someone ill is also caring for you with behavior adjustments. But some of our efforts feel…extra. We are being so careful! And it’s not just us: everyone we hang out with is monitoring the progress of his cold. “Any fever?” a text will flash. I feel obliged to answer, to quell their fears alongside my own: “Nope.” I can’t help feeling they’re writing it down to allow a requisite amount of time pass before we’ll see them in person.
There are so many cold germs in the world already, and we normally catch a few every year. Less than we used to, thanks to growing immune function and managed allergies. But we haven’t been sick at all since February. Masks do work. Those immunities, even the good ones, are lowering. And a tiny part of me hopes it IS covid, that we can move past that like a runner’s hurdle in our path. It would feel amazing not to be afraid of a germ anymore.
But sometimes, dully, it’s just a head cold.