Wednesday, November 06, 2002

A cold or flu near you

If there's one thing you gotta love about the Web, it's the way it allows advertisers to reach out to consumers in a way that blends faux concern and blatant marketing in one snazzy package. Take the ever-so-helpful Cold and Flu Watch site from the folks at Vicks. Just enter your zip code, and you can find out the prevalence of colds and flu in your particular neck of the woods. In my town, happily, the risk of colds and flu is low; the most common symptoms in my area are cough, nasal congestion and chest congestion, which sure sounds like a cold to me, but what do I know. At least I'm lucky enough not to live in Manchester, Oklahoma City, Riverside, Nashville and Philadelphia, which the site lists as having the highest cold and flu risk. If you do live there, well, gezundheit.

This would seem to mean that my daughter, who has been coughing more or less constantly for the past week, has very little claim to the flu, or even much of one to a cold. But of course, I already knew that, because I have administered the time-honored Mom test: If you haven't got a fever, you're not sick. It's off to school for you, missy. If you don't have enough ingenuity to hold up the thermometer to a lightbulb, you need all the schooling you can get. Yes, ma'am. Because I say so, that's why. And so does Vicks.

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