Covid as common cold
In past centuries I’m sure covid would’ve been seen as a bad cold: after all, the common cold encompasses many different lurgies, some of them coronaviruses. My own experience this week has been (so far at least) no more than a middling cold – though of course being vaccinated may have helped there. Today I’ve been much better than the last couple of days and I’m off the lemsips – my usual medication against a lurgy worse than the sniffles.
At the same time, I’m of course aware of all the public information. The stories of people who went through mild to moderate illness, seemed to be recovering, then got hit hard by something nasty (could still happen to me). I learned of things like the cytokine storm, that should probably never have crossed the consciousness of a non-medic. Not to mention “long covid”!
That’s one huge nocebo effect to contend with! It must surely feed in to many peoples’ adverse and longer-term experiences. People who would not merely cope better but recover much quicker if it had been described as a bad cold in the first place.
I succumbed to an element of that at my worst moment: yesterday (Wednesday) morning. I was spooked by feeling materially worse than the previous morning despite having been much better later on Tuesday, and I picked up on one of the big scare stories of the early covid era: blood oxygen. I used my GP’s online facility to ask if I could get a pulse oximeter to monitor myself. They said they could supply me one provided I could get a friend or neighbour to collect it. Today I have it, and it reassures me my blood oxygen is healthy. Not sure how long I should monitor myself: presumably until I hit my criteria for returning to normal life – feel well and test negative.