Weird Cold Symptoms – Is It Just Me?

April 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm (Miscellaneous) (, , , , , )

The symptom checker at gives the following symptoms for the common cold:

  • Cough
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarse voice
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Fever
  • Body aches or pains
  • Decreased smell

Weirdly, I get some slightly odd symptoms not mentioned here. And one that contradicts the final symptom listed by webmd. When I get a cold, my sense of smell (usually pretty terrible) is greatly improved. I haven’t yet found an explanation for my odd symptoms, and nor have I met anyone who has similar symptoms (unless everyone I’ve asked is trolling me). If anything here rings a bell then do please comment. Similarly, if you have a plausible explanation for my odd symptoms I’d be pleased to hear it.

Here are some other things I’ve noticed about the common cold’s effects on me:

Often, the first symptom of a cold for me is nostalgia. When I start suddenly remembering odd things from long ago, seemingly completely out of the blue, I now know to expect a cold (the correlation isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty good).

Sometime later (after the sore throat and the stuffy nose have kicked in), I’ll find music seems to sound better than ever. This is handy, as in my experience listening to music is the best way to get rid of an earworm. Earworms are another symptom of a cold for me (I’m also more prone to them if I have a hangover – and possibly in hot weather). Just about any word I hear or think of can set off a musical word association game that ends with something playing internally on a loop. It seems to be much more pronounced than at other times, with the frequency of earworms much higher than at any other time (even when hungover on a hot day).

Then there’s the improved sense of smell I mentioned earlier. This presumably accounts for food tasting better than usual which is something else I’ve noticed.

I also feel more energetic than normal when a cold starts.

If it’s a very heavy cold, I get some minor visual hallucinations too.

So, how does the common cold turn me into a hyperactive nostalgic who craves food and music, gets earworms, and(very occasionally) starts seeing things? Oh, and is it just me? Or is this relatively common?


  1. L.M. said,

    Is it possible a cold medication is causing these symptoms?

  2. jdc325 said,

    Good thinking, that L.M. Sounds like a plausible explanation.

    I’m afraid I haven’t had any medication though. No pain killers, no cough medicine, no lozenges, nothing.

  3. Crazy Hypothesis Amnesty | Stuff And Nonsense said,

    […] My most recent crazy hypothesis is this: the common cold hijacks the brain and alters your behaviour. It does this in order that you will encounter a greater number of people (who will then be at risk of catching your cold, so giving the virus a new host). This hijacking has some neutral consequences as well as the negative (for your friends – it’s a positive for the virus), ‘intended’ consequence. This explains my weird cold symptoms. […]

  4. mythbuster said,

    It is easier than that. A, you can’t catch a cold – effectively it is a defrag of the hardrive ie the build up of metabolites reaches a critical point. The immunity then shifts from cellular, that is, whereby carbon bases metabolites usually present as lactic acid carbonic acid and urea are rendered neutral by bicarbonate and pissed out, are just wrapped in mucous to prevent irritation and we shift to humeral immunity – ie snot out of the nearest hole.

    this is why things actually smell and taste more, trying to stop them with sympathetamines is stupid. changes in the weather are another reason why ‘colds’ appear due to shut down of peripheral circulation from cold.

    The common cold unit did the longest ever field trials with spraying flu and cold virus up volunteer’s noses for over 40 years. concluded that even in lab conditions the most that ever caught a cold was 3/32!

    That is not even a reaching placebo! Fucked germ theory and cold transmission in one beautiful experiment.

    colds and flu protect us from disease. Nice to see it discovered here boys

  5. jdc325 said,

    Superb stuff there mythbuster. You’re on form this evening.

    You start by claiming that you can’t catch a cold and go on to claim (based on a trial you can’t or won’t link to) that not many people catch colds in laboratory conditions. Which is it?

    Anyway. Well done. Kudos too on inventing the term “a reaching placebo”. What does it mean?

  6. mythbuster said,

    You can’t catch a cold – what is difficult about that? 3/32 is not a statistic unless you believe in something like ‘vaccine protection’.

    I know it’s hard J20 but keep trying. Even twats like Dawkins in the God delusion doesn’t understand why colds have survived when his stupid theory seems to think that all useless stuff should die out.

    If however the ‘cold’ is understood as a compensatory humeral cleaning event that is a normal natural process it makes sense!

    Hippocrates had a lot more of an idea about the common cold than you ever will, he probably forgot more than you will ever know.

  7. jdc325 said,

    So you still can’t link to the trial you’re relying on to support your claims, and you still think that few people catching a cold means nobody can catch a cold? OK…

  8. mythbuster said,

    This curious notion of ‘catching’ seems to be a medical belief system hitch you are on J20. How exactly do we ‘catch’ a cold and how to ‘bugs go around’?

    We can’t ‘cure’ the common cold because it is a normal function of immunity! Just because Dawkins can’t think past a meme doesn’t mean we are all stupid!

    Do you make your posts up – because that’s some wacky thinking system you got there.

  9. Jack Hawkins said,

    The explanation for your sense of smell being restored by having a cold is probably that you have chronic rhinitis, so when you have the secretory phase of a cold, your nose actually is unblocked for a change? (I have the same)

  10. jdc325 said,

    Now that sounds quite plausible Jack. Thanks for the suggestion.

  11. Theresa LaSalle said,

    I get that nostalgia thing..and a little bit of insanity…it’s so weird…and I always forget that these are signs I’m getting a cold.

  12. HersheysPop said,

    I know its 3 years late but…I was just wondering WHY I wax nostalgic every time I catch a cold. I “googled” it and this was the only similar finding. No. You are not alone….with regards to the nostalgia & hypersensitive taste & smell. I get ALL of that.
    But…with regards to your other symptoms, my diagnosis (after 20 years in Mental Health – never mind which side of the desk) is that you are loony.

  13. Amy said,

    Wow! Those are my symptoms exactly. I have always had this happen to me as an adult and now I’ve just decided to research it. I haven’t gotten very far yet but it is nice to know that I am not alone.
    I will say in addition to the symptoms already mentioned, I suddenly crave to be around certain people.

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