Wednesday, March 15, 2017

No, that OTC drug won’t cure your cold or flu.

I admit that I am one of those people who hates to call in sick. I came down with a cold recently, and left to my own devices I would have gone to work anyways. But my wife talked me out of it, and it was the right thing to do.

This scenario plays out differently in a current radio advertising campaign for Vicks DayQuil and NyQuil: “The No Sick Days Medicine”.

You can hear some of spots here.

To summarize one ad, a father coughs and laments that he is feeling ill and will have to call in sick and also miss his daughter’s dance recital. But then it’s DayQuil to the rescue, and sick day begone.

Everyone wins.

Except the handful of people sitting around him in the office and in the auditorium at the dance recital for an extended period of time, who are highly vulnerable to contracting whatever is infecting his respiratory system.
You see, DayQuil may reduce congestion, Tylenol may reduce pain and fever, Ricola cough drops may numb your throat, and VapoRub may open your sinuses. But as the manufacturers of these products will admit, none of those OTC medicines will cure the common cold or help you recover any faster (for a more thorough examination of symptom relief, check out this article from the website Science Based Medicine).

We all have our remedies to help us feel better. But only the antibodies that your incredible immune system produces against the virus that is infecting you will neutralize that infection. And the best way to help your immune system do its job is to get some solid rest.
The most important point that I want to make is that regardless of what concoction you do or don’t take for your cold symptoms, you are still contagious. Even if you temporarily do feel a little better.

For all you know, your cold may actually be the flu. And if it is influenza, there are several thousand people in the U.S. every year, especially grandparents and young children, who would strongly prefer that you do stay home.

So instead of being patient zero, be a hero by taking that sick day. Survey data shows that in America, not enough of us do — a fact that is apparent in our culture.But let’s reverse this expectation. 

We all deserve it, right?

(Originally posted here on Medium).