By Dr. Dave Hnida


(CBS4) – Let’s start with the basics on this one: You purposefully wipe your nose with a tissue contaminated (supposedly) by a person with a cold virus. Why? To make yourself sick, on purpose, at a time when it’s convenient for you to be under the weather.

(credit: CBS)

For example, say you have a vacation coming up. Maybe you can just get your illness out of the way and then travel without the worry of getting sick.

Then, would you pay $79.99 for the “infected” tissue (sent to your home) courtesy of an internet-based company that reportedly claims “a tissue that carries a human sneeze is safer than needles or pills”?

Well, if so, you may be in luck. Or maybe not.

The company selling “infected” tissues is called Vaev (www.vaevtissue.com) Based out of California, demand has apparently outpaced supply for this startup — they are currently “sold out” of germ-filled tissues, but promise to have a fresh supply coming soon.

I guess in today’s “I want what I want when I want it” world, a product like this shouldn’t be surprising.

But let’s look at this concept from a medical point of view.

First, there are more than 200 different viruses that can cause a common cold. And that’s not taking into account other bugs that cause things like flu, and so forth.

In any case, let’s say you are successful contaminating yourself with someone else’s cold virus. What about the other 199-plus? You might get one out of the way, yet get nailed by another. And frankly, you might be more prone to do so since your immune system is still recovering from the illness you did have. Think about it. The reason we don’t have a cure or vaccine for the common cold is that there are just too many of them, and they keep on changing.

Now let’s look at the “someone else’s” part of this equation. Who is blowing their nose into a tissue? Are they really sick? Maybe it’s just allergies. And exactly who is this unknown sneezer anyway?

Back to the product. Are the germs still alive by the time you get them sent to you?

Then I wonder, is it legal to send live germs (except for research) through the mail or by any other means of shipping?

And what about the liability for this whole thing? I mean, what happens if that cold turns into bronchitis or pneumonia? Or you have a lousy immune system?

And last but not least, there is the “Ewww” factor. We all have our personal thresholds, but this one obliterates mine. Used tissues gross me out. But maybe that’s just me.

I think in this case, I’ll stick to washing my hands a lot, keeping my immune system tuned up, and passing on the tissues.

Gesundheit, and good luck.

Dr. Dave Hnida

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