Healthcare, Markets and Trade

Coughs, Colds, and Commerce

With the change in the weather come the coughs, colds and sneezes which are impossible to dodge living in a city of 20 million

Apothecary's Cabinet

With changes in the weather come the coughs, colds, and sneezes which can be impossible to dodge when you live in Mexico’s capital city.

The capital’s army of independent vendors are quick to catch on to the pecuniary opportunity afforded by the suffering, adding individual packets of Kleenex — two for the price of one — and “all natural” cough drops to the panoply of wares on offer. No need to go out of your way, as a stream of sellers moves steadily through Metro cars, or winds its way through the traffic stopped at the lights.

As in most other places, there are essentially two schools of thought on how to deal with colds. There’s the “holistic” or “green” school whose members prefer to sweat it out with lemon teas, honeys, and the above mentioned drops. This group is often equated with the political left, satisfying our obsession with labels.

Over on the right is the over-the-counter school, the Hugo Boss squad, whose practical members head straight for the nearest pharmacy at the first  sign of a sniffle to stock up on anti-histamines, anti-congestants and — even though doctors swear until they’re blue in the face that they won’t cure colds — antibiotics.

A popular over-the-counter drug for cold and flu medicines was banned in 2007 because certain people were using it to make illegal drugs. Not to worry, said the makers of cold medicines, we have other ingredients that are even better, or we never used pseudoephedrine in the first place.

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