What is the etiquette when you have a common cold?

It afflicts all of us, even babies. None of us are immune from it. It is a common occurrence from cradle to grave. There is no known cure but plenty of over the counter remedies are available to help with the symptoms. If ‘grown men’ is the common standard by which bravery is measured then it is particularly noteworthy that ‘grown men’ are very afraid of it too. Forget Halloween, the common cold is the ghoul that seems to scare people witless.

I am currently suffering from one and have recently adopted the etiquette of letting people know by text or a WhatsApp message before turning up for scheduled appointments and meet ups with friends. Previously, I would turn up but this seems to be the height of bad manners these days. After a few, ‘you should have told me’ quips, I now inform them beforehand. A few people, including grown men, have cancelled very quickly as a result.

‘Pariah status’ is accorded to those who are coughing and spluttering. For a country that worries about productivity levels and whether we are working hard enough, those with a common cold are treated with trepidation. Woe awaits the common cold sufferer who turns up in the work place and proceeds to sneeze and cough.

A chorus of ‘Go home’ will be heard much louder than the screeching tyres of the ‘Go home’ vans doing u-turns after public outrage was expressed.

While I love feeling special through being singled out this form of attention where people go out of their way to avoid me on buses and trains as soon as I start coughing or sniffing is, frankly, ridiculous. The level of paranoia about catching a common cold is stratospheric.

Come on people, toughen up. The nation that is constantly boasting about how it won the war is afraid of a Common Cold. Does it get more ridiculous than this?


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