Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do you have cold?

I tend to catch cold very easily. Sometimes it doesn’t help that I am an ice cream lover, sometimes just an auto ride with strong wind buffeting me is enough.

I suffered from a bout of cold roughly a month back and am nursing another one currently. And each time the problem returns, it leads to congestion in the chest leaving me coughing and spitting thick and quavering bob of sputum.

It takes me a complete cycle of antibiotic to find relief and then a month or two later, the demon is back again. Last time, when I was suffering, my mother told me taking antibiotic so often would make me immune to it and that’s a troublesome thing to happen. Last week, after hawking for a day or two and bringing up sputum, I decided it was time to visit a doctor. After the doctor had finished talking about his customary stuff, I brought up the antibiotic topic.

He informed I have already developed some amount of immunity to antibiotics; otherwise, I wouldn’t catch cold so soon after going through an antibiotic course. Generally, once you complete an antibiotic course, you should be all right for next six months or so. So could I go for other stream of medication to cure cold? “No,” he said and continued: “if I want to cure fast.

“Nowadays the problem is people want quick exit from ailments. There are mild dosages of antibiotics but they don’t ensure quick cure and you might think the doctor is not good enough and go to another physician who will give you stronger dosages only to improve his clientele. No one wants to risk loss of clients by giving mild dosages, even if it’s ethically advisable to give milder dosages first and in case of poor response move to higher ones.”

It reminded me that health is a big business. It works through a nexus between doctors, medical institutions and pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies pay doctors to promote their medicines and they work with hired PR houses helping them with their promotional activities by giving favorable quotes to media and delivering talks at health conferences.

Medicines that are taken up for promotion aren’t just those that become available in the market after meeting established ethical and medical standards but also those that have government ban on them forbidding their use either completely or for certain diseases. The outcome is biased health stories and programs in newspapers, magazines and on TV.

The doctor said a long term solution to my tendency to catch cold lies in improving immunity through physical exercise of the kind that taxes your lung causing heavy breathing; which causes inhalation and exhalation of air improving the health of your lung. He recommended yoga. Then he gave the ‘done to death’ advice. “Leave smoking.”

I am not a heavy smoker nor do I live a sedentary life (I do freehand exercise everyday), but whether the exercise helps in this matter or the fact that I smoke, however moderately, adds to the problem, I am not sure.

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