Summer cold, the ‘different animal,’ has me in its grippe

I’m quite frustrated that I can’t find video for the old Contac commercial with the jingle that went:

“A summer cold is a different animal
an ugly animal… oooh!

It hits you in the summer,
When you’ve got a lot to do!”

Hey, I didn’t say it was Shakespeare, I just said I wish I could find the video.

Anyway, I seem to recall someone deriding the ad at the time, saying that a summer cold was in no way different from a winter one. It’s never felt that way to me. To me, there’s always been something particularly miserable about going out on a hot day with the runny nose, raw throat, mental cloudiness and vague feverishness that comes with such a bug.

And my belief was vindicated last week with this section-front piece in The Wall Street Journal, “Summer Is the Real Season for Bad Colds, Not Winter.”

And in fact — the bugs themselves are different:

Colds in summertime can last for weeks, at times seemingly going away and then suddenly storming back with a vengeance, infectious-disease experts say. A winter cold, by contrast, is typically gone in a few days.

The reason for the difference: Summer colds are caused by different viruses from the ones that bring on sniffling and sneezing in the colder months. And some of the things people commonly do in the summer can prolong the illness, like being physically active and going in and out of air-conditioned buildings.

“A winter cold is nasty, brutish and short,” says Bruce Hirsch, infectious-disease specialist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. “But summer colds tend to linger. They can go on for weeks and reoccur.”…

The piece also notes that because summer colds linger so long, people mistake them for allergies.

I knew better when mine first struck a week or two back. I had been using a new nasal spray that had my allergies under great control. And then one day, bam, my nose is running anyway. And I feel like total crud, Ferris.

Also, my grandchildren had been passing a bug back and forth, and my wife had had it. So, not just allergies.

The piece also notes, “A summer cold’s symptoms also can be surprising. Along with the sniffles, sufferers may also get a fever, diarrhea and achy body.”

I’ve had all of those, except — I think — the fever. And I could be wrong about that. In a meeting this morning at ADCO, my wary colleagues were accusing me of having fever, partly because every time I touched the surface of the conference room table, I left damp handprints.

I don’t know. I just know it feels pretty lousy.

How are y’all feeling?

14 thoughts on “Summer cold, the ‘different animal,’ has me in its grippe

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    Dunno. I hate the chapped nostrils that come with a cold weather cold, although tissues with lotion help.

    I take it you are sure this is a cold and not a reaction to the high pollen levels?

  2. Rose

    I’m in the same boat, Brad. Third week of school and the bugs start coming home with my son. They jumped from him to me and unfortunately I always seem to get a worse case. Ugh. Gimme my Sudafed!

  3. Tom Cod

    Hey, the Federal Trade Commission forced this one off the air as there was simply no evidence that a “summer cold” was different, “animal” or otherwise, from a winter one.

  4. Paula

    Me too! Searched and here I am….I also am dealing with a summer cold, and being “of an age”, I kept thinking of the jingle to the commercial, looping thru my brain….at least I now know more than the first two lines!!

    May we all feel better, especially since it is Friday!!

    1. Alana

      Looks like it was a very successful piece of advertising since so many of us remember it and are looking for it!

  5. Sharon Flaherty

    That commercial was so funny! I was looking for it myself when I came across
    your blog. People running over a hill, followed by a big balloon, then the balloon
    goes back over the hill, with the people chasing it.

    “Strike back – with Contac!
    Sic ’em tiny time pills.”

    Wanted to show it to my brother am devastated it does not seem to be around

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