It all started Thursday – that annoying tickling sensation in the back of my throat, that funny cough and the slight sniffle – but today, it’s the Real Deal.
I’ve got a cold – not such a big event in this day and age. After all, my local pharmacy has an endless supply of OTC medications from which I can choose, and most of them do a fairly good job of relieving my worst symptoms.
Back at the beginning of the 19th-century, though, things were different. Illness was not taken lightly, and even the common cold made news. Here are a few 1901 East Pittston (
) social notes in the Reporter-Journal, the nearby Gardiner newspaper: Maine
Bad colds are raging among the children in this vicinity. Some have not been able to attend school for a few days as the colds are so severe while they last. They come on sudden and some have been as well as usual and attended school one day and be sick in bed the next day.
It seems the adults were falling like flies, too:
Miss Ada Thompson came home from Gardiner, Saturday, where she has been recently employed, and is confined to her bed with a bad cold.
’s neighbor, Charles Henry Crocker, was next: Ada
C.H. Crocker has been confined to the house for about a week having taken a sudden cold but is now able to be about again.
There were a few cold medications on the market, but I’m not at all sure about how effective (or safe!) they were. Bayer was making aspirin then, so at least
and Charles Henry could take something to relieve the headaches and body pains. (I’m reminded, though, that there were only cloth handkerchiefs – no disposable tissues – can you imagine the laundry issues? And don’t you love the instructions for using the Nasal Tablets? “In solution for gargling the throat or snuffing up the nostrils.”) Ada
At any rate, there’s a lesson for us all here.
When people got colds one hundred years ago, they were a lot smarter than we are today. When they got sick, they went to bed, and they stayed home until they were better.
We should pay closer attention to that, I think.