All morning I’ve sat in front of my computer trying to write without much success. There’s a box of tissues close at hand and a fog in my brain so thick I’m surprised I’m able to compose this sentence.
Head Cold Brain Fog
‘I can’t think straight,’ I complained to my partner earlier. ‘I’m trying to write and I can’t put together an argument, I can’t concentrate, I don’t know what I’m trying to say.’
‘It’s because you’re ill,’ she replied, trying to make me see sense.
Before you start worrying, let me assure you that I am suffering from a mere head cold, nothing major in the illness stakes, but it is taking its toll.
For the last three days, besides sneezing and blowing my nose, I’ve been unable to do much besides sit quietly and read and sleep. I can’t face emails, I can’t face work, and I sure as hell can’t think. My mood is very low and I just want to hide away from the world until I’m better. But there’s this other part of me that’s telling me to get a move on, get back to work, do something productive for God’s sake.
I was wondering if I was perhaps over-reacting to having a cold when I decided to go online to do some research.
Head Colds Do Affect Cognitive Ability
It turns out I’m not a hypochondriac after all. My cold is definitely affecting my brain’s ability to function.
According to a study conducted by Professor Andrew P. Smith of Cardiff University and published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, participants with colds reported ‘lower alertness, a more negative mood, and psychomotor slowing.
They were also slower at encoding new information and slower on the verbal reasoning and semantic processing tasks.’
The sort of cognitive impairment you see from a common cold is in the same ballpark with the consumption of alcohol, working at night or working for prolonged hours.’ Andrew P. Smith PhD
Unfortunately, the study doesn’t say how long I can expect these symptoms to go on for. But at least I can rest assured that what I am experiencing is perfectly ‘normal’.
So, there seems no point in pushing myself to do anything that is going to require verbal reasoning or semantic processing. Maybe today is a good day to listen to some of those health podcasts I like so much.
For now, I’m just relieved that I’ve managed to write approximately 400 words. I just hope they make sense. If they don’t, I’ll obviously be the last person to know.
Photo: Thanks to butler.corey on Flickr.com