Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Is Calpol the answer?


Ah, Winter. Season of Christmas lights, starry nights, frosty mornings and (overhyped) snowfall warnings. And nasty bugs... Yup, those too.

Yes, indeed. Shares in Kleenex are rocketing and we've all suddenly remembered that the only reason we really eat soft-scoop ice-cream during the Summer is because the empty containers make very handy, erm, vomit receptacles during the Winter. The season of sniffles, sneezes and sickness is back again and our family has not proved exempt. Unsurprisingly. When did it ever?
On this occasion it was Gilly who succumbed and has subsequently spent a day-and-a-half in bed trying to get over it while the rest of us (me anyway) tiptoe around wondering who will be the next to go. It is why I never moan about sharp frosts. They may ice up the car but hopefully they're all doing their bit to kill off a few germinating germs, and that's worth quite a bit of de-icing spray and/or screen scraping.

We all react to illness in different ways. We may carry on regardless, we may skulk about waiting for the pangs to begin or we may exhibit a childlike confidence in medicine to get us through. Isaac's response to being informed in the still-dark hours of the morning that Mummy couldn't get his breakfast because of sickness, was a simple prescription straight from the pages of the three-year-old's-medical-manual.

"She need Calpol, I think."

It would be useless to explain that adults aren't allowed to take infant-suspension Calpol and that it would be helpless against the onslaught of a sick bug anyway. Calpol to a child is the sweet-tasting answer to all life's problems. From colds to coughs, sickness to petulance, Calpol's got it covered.

It's a shame that this faith in simple remedies rarely survives into adulthood. When you consider that around 30% of the adult population apparently suffers from insomnia (according to a 2011 survey) wouldn't it be wonderful if those problems could all be solved by cuddling a 'magic teddy-bear' rather than a dose of sleeping pills? Or what about travel sickness? If everyone who suffered from this were to sit on a piece of newspaper believing implicitly in its ability to ward off nausea then it's possible that fewer travel sickness tablets might be required as well.

Alas, such things rarely work. Our logical adult self overcomes them. We remind ourselves that the teddy-bear is inanimate and therefore powerless to help when wakefulness absorbs us. We scoff at newspapers as being merely an old-wives'-tale, with no scientific basis and consequently no chance of usefulness. And so we cast old comforts aside and swallow a few pills instead, trusting in Science to do its thing.

So, is Calpol the answer?
Well, that depends. Our logical adult self would inform us that, when it comes to vomiting, high temperatures and a dislike of broccoli the answer is 'NO'. We would remember - sad but true - that Calpol has definite limitations, as well as benefits, and should be viewed accordingly.

But all the time our irresponsible three-year-old past is yelling at us from within.
"Is Calpol the answer? Yes, oh YES!"

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