Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Weather, and illness.

I went to bed last night with an annoying chesty cough. I took some tablets, and retired early. I had been feeling cold for two days, after a change in the weather from twenty degrees and sunny, to thirteen degrees and showery. I woke up not feeling that much better, even though I had slept soundly for over ten hours. That got me thinking about the connection between illness, and weather.

When I was young, many forms of illness were blamed on the weather. Coming home in wet clothes, I would be told, “Get out of those wet things, or you will catch your death of cold”.
During some of the famous London smogs, we were issued with cloth ‘smog masks’ at school, and told that we must not breathe the air outside without wearing them. Apparently, the air would affect our breathing, and leave us with long-term lung problems. They seemed to forget that I was returning home to a house heated by smoky coal fires, and to parents who chain-smoked cigarettes.

Sitting too long in the sun was never considered to be a health hazard though. I never knew that sun cream existed, until I was in my mid twenties. But when I started to get severe hay fever in my teens, I was told it was ‘the hot air’, and that I should shut my bedroom window as I slept, so as not to breathe too much in. Visiting sick relatives or friends was never an issue either, as long as they put their hand over their mouths when they coughed or sneezed, I was reliably informed. Once they had finished coughing or sneezing, we were of course expected to hug them, and kiss them goodbye as we left.

It wasn’t long before the government became involved with trying to tell us all that it was nothing to do with the weather. It was ‘viruses’, and they were spread by close contact, especially among families, and on public transport. Information films began to appear, with catchy titles like, ‘Coughs and Sneezes spread Diseases’. They showed people using handkerchiefs, and covering their mouths when they coughed. But despite this new information, my Mum still insisted that the weather was mostly to blame, and that I should always take a jumper or coat when I went out, “Just in case”.

Now I am older, I have discovered that I am more susceptible to illness. A long life has weakened my immune system, making things like cuts take longer to heal, and other medical conditions much harder to shake off, once established. But I socialise rarely, and use public transport even less. Other than walking around with Ollie, I am inside most of the time, and always dressed appropriately for any conditions. But having gone from walking in warm and pleasant sunshine, to having to dress up in warm clothes to take my dog out, in the space of three days, something has got into my system and has left me with a cough that seems difficult to shift.

I blame the weather.

80 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

  1. At least you aren’t blaming yourself for getting sick. When I lived on the West Coast, people never seem to have heard of germs. All illness was caused by your thoughts! I will take the weather as an explanation any day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ha! My mom was the same way about wet hair. But, like you so skillfully illustrate, Pete, moms are usually right. Now that I’m past 50, I think twice about stuff I never gave mind to. And I don’t go out in the cold with a wet head. It’s miserable to do that. Delightful post. Sorry your back has flared up again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mums are mostly right, I have learned to my cost. These days, I am old enough to just blame the weather on everything. Just today, we started out around 9 with a dull 53 degrees. By 4:30 it was 70 degrees, and uncomfortably humid. I am almost always dressed wrong for the conditions now. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. i grew up pretty much the same as you did Pete. my parents would always blame the weather for coughs and fever when we were growing up though we only have dry and wet season back home. now that i am older I notice that it takes longer for me to completely shake off a cold. so it must be age ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ feel better. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have ignored most advice over the years, although I noticed that if I kept my throat warm I didn’t seem to catch as many sore throats (I know it makes no sense and I’m a doctor, but hey…). The weather has been quite unpredictable here for the last week or so as well. I hope you feel better soon, and keep blaming the weather. I’m sure it’s used to it, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This change in what we had come to expect of the weather seems to have really got into my system, chuq. Or maybe it’s just because I have hit the age when things start to unravel? ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hear ya Pete !! You brought back. Some memories fir me:) good and bad ,lol the weather has been crazy in this side of the pond as well . Just a few days ago it was in the 40โ€™s and today high 80โ€™s and very humid , Iโ€™ve had terrible headaches… and yes.. all due to the weather :)!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry to hear this Pete. One thing after another, how is the back btw? My sciatica is still ongoing to the extent that I have had to cancel a short break away for the OH’s 70th birthday. Getting old is not fun when your health plays up! My mother used to despair of me as I would never wear a hat or carry an umbrella when it was raining. “You’ll catch your death of cold” was her favourite expression ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My back is manageable, but still a bit ‘twingey’.
      I think some of those old sayings had merit, as they mostly concerned lowering resistance by being too cold. But that was before we had ‘Cold and Flu’ tablets of course. ๐Ÿ™‚
      (My Mum would make me drink a Beecham’s Powder dissolved in water, and the taste made me shudder)
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I tend to agree with you about the weather, Pete. I’m sure you know the saying about not casting clouts until May is out? That warm weather came long before ether the month of May or the May blossom (there’s always a debate about to which May the saying is referring!) and we all cast clouts left right and centre! Hope you shake off your cough before too long.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Weather definitely not as good as it used to be when we were younger ๐Ÿ˜‰.

    And yes…..damp weather makes me feel poorly more too.

    I do blame being 66 a lot though!!

    Get well soon Pete. And donโ€™t suffer in silence if that cough persists.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m with Charlie Hopkins. I was married to a woman with four children for 15 years. In that time, not one of her children missed a single day of school due to illness. She gave them vitamins every day. We lived in Michigan, so the weather was, err, atrocious, but Trump was not president. So, I do not know what else I can tell you except, there things out there we can’t see…..
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The weather definitely plays a part in illness. In your case, the sudden shift of cold weather didnโ€™t do you any favors. And there is much to be said for passing illnesses in public and using common sense for protecting ourselves. It just takes us older folks so much longer to heal. I hope you feel better soon. Best to you, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your excellent piece got me thinking about days gone by in the teaching world, Pete. On any of the one hundred and eighty days of the school year, it seemed as if I heard colleagues talking about the weather to explain the behavior of their students. “The wind sets them off. I wish the kids could get outsideโ€”this rain won’t stop. This heat is making them draggy. They’re getting cranky because they’ve had to stay indoors for two days.” Now that I think about it, the weather gave kids a get out of jail free card just about every day of the school year. When we ran out of weather excuses, we could always go the classic, “It must be a full moon.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Back in my schooldays, weather was never an excuse for anything. We trudged through blizzards so as not to be late, and we were not even allowed to remove our jackets and ties when it was close to 90 F. To use another favourite phrase of my Mum’s “They don’t know they’re born, these kids of today”. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha-ha! Our moms could be sisters. I grew up in the Dakotasโ€”a place that frequently topped 100 in the summer and was often below zero in the winter. In the winter, our first job was to shovel the driveway so that the car could get out. In California, we start thinking about canceling school when there is a half inch of snow on the ground.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It has become like that here, Pete. School cancelled, at the first hint of snow. They are worried about the litigation society we now live in, of course. Kids will suffer, as they will be closeted out of existence!
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. We had three different kinds of weather here today. Damp, then cold, then horribly humid. Now it’s cold again! The weather has a lot to answer for! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Cheers, Pete.

      Like

  12. They have a terrible habit of making sure that all children wear hats over here, 25c and baby must have a hat on! And whatever you do dont drink anything from the fridge, cold drinks are bad for you, poppycock ๐Ÿ™‚
    That said if I’m going ot be ill its normally in the winter, no time in the summer ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. We’re having an unusually cool string of days here in Southern Nevada. I’m going out for a casual desert hike somewhere after lunch. Normally, I’d have to drive up to Cold Creek or Mt. Charleston because it would be uncomfortably hot down here in the valley. But today I’m looking forward to a pleasant afternoon in our cactus playground This weather anomaly is most welcome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was having a ‘conversation’ on Rich Lakin’s blog the other day about the ‘Wear something white at night’ road safety films. I miss those Public Information Films, I confess. ๐Ÿ™‚
      It could be central heating, but we haven’t had it going for some time now.
      Thanks, BF.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My cold blossomed into a full blown relapse yesterday. I still echo my parentsโ€™ and grandparentsโ€™ warnings about the cold weather. Funny how those things stick with you.

    Hope you feel better soon, Pete. It can really take the wind out of your sails.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I had a bad cough and cold for three weeks making Easter a washout; this after catching nothing all winter. I used to say I never caught anything after 6 years working at a children’s playgoup and 8 years at Heathrow – immune to everything… My Mum used to say I would get neuralgia if I went out after washing my hair ( and this was in Australia ) . I never did.

    Liked by 3 people

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