Global, PE: Just as fear of swine flu began sweeping across North America, scientists in Europe noticed an even more disturbing trend: the spread of the common cold. While the common cold has been around for years, the recent increase in concern about the spread of disease has made this a much more pressing issue in the eyes of public health officials.
The researchers noted the troubling similarities between colds and the flu: they are both more prevalent in cold weather, they both make you feel cruddy, and they both involve snot. Furthermore, their mortality rates are remarkably similar; the common cold kills 0.000% of the US population in a given year, while the flu kills 0.019% of the population in a year. “I mean, if you’re rounding the numbers, they’re basically identical,” said Dr. Schnoz, head of the Austrian Center For Holistic Otolaryngology Options (ACHOO).
In response, on Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta labeled the common cold a “pandemic” and called for immediate controls to be put in place. Tom Ridge, advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services, advised that they raise the alert status of the disease to “red.” When HHS officials told Ridge that they worked on a 6-point scale, rather than color coding, he replied, “Fine, then turn it up to 11.” The CDC immediately issued press releases talking about the horrendous symptoms and mortality rate, then warned people to lock themselves in their homes if they were infected to avoid spreading the disease, and to lock themselves in their homes if they were not infected to avoid getting the disease.
Worldwide, people are responding to the news of the cold pandemic as the media has responsibly and thoughtfully began reporting about it, non-stop, on every television channel and on every website ever created. Sunkist® has announced a special “Cold-Buster” orange available for purchase, that they claim is twice as effective at curing the common cold as other sources of vitamin C; Director of Marketing Suzanne Dumkov stated, “Because technically, two times zero is zero… therefore, they are twice as effective. In fact, they are ten times as effective!” The oranges have sold out across the globe; people are camping out in lines waiting for new shipments to arrive. Thieves broke into over forty pharmacies in New York City last week alone, stealing cases of Dayquil and Mucinex for resale on the black market.
For now, health officials are urging people to do what they can to stop the spread of the disease. In order to stave off a worldwide sneezefest, doctors across the world are advising people to take the following steps:
- Engage in “fist bumps,” rather than handshakes, when greeting people. “Chest bumps” are also acceptable, so long as the faces are turned aside to avoid accidental kissing.
- For couples engaging in French kissing, mouth condoms are recommended.
- Wash your hands in a mixture of vodka and sulfuric acid after using the bathroom.
- Run away screaming anytime somebody coughs.
- Avoid having intimate contact with rhinoceri, the primary source of the rhinovirus.
- Do not share silverware, tongue depressors, lollipops, or dental floss with others.
- Avoid brushing your teeth altogether, as you may reinfect yourself with germs from your own toothbrush.