Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm Less Fond of Coughing

“I’ve been hacking up stuff for a couple days, and it’s turning green.”

“It sounds like the virus that’s going around,” I said. “It’ll last three or four or five or six more days and go away. Medical science doesn’t do anything dramatic.”

“At home I’d tough it out. But I have meetings all week, and I need something to knock it out. When can you get here?”

If you read this blog you know my heart sinks when I hear “I need something to knock it out….”  Either the guest will feel resentful if he doesn’t get an antibiotic, or I’ll go along (if it seems like he’ll lose his temper, and sometimes I’m too slow), and feel bad myself.

Believe it or not, in an otherwise healthy person (infants and the elderly excepted) the only common disease with a cough that antibiotics cure is pneumonia. Everything else is a virus.

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