Will everyone just stop being sick every autumn!

Same old same old, autumn comes and suddenly everywhere you go in Poland you find that a good 75% of the people are sick! Sales in the pharmacies must be sky high in Poland’s autumn season with things like Rutinoscorbin and Coldrex positively flying off the shelves. And this in a country where to be inappropriately dressed for the weather conditions is a hanging offence. This is what you get for being such pussies about dressing up warm – zero resistance to autumn bugs! We Brits are not so stupid after all. You may laugh at us as we waltz around in shorts and T-shirts through the rain, wind and below 10C weather but there’s a reason to this madness – building up the immune system.

Sadly our household is no exception to the autumn sickness rule. We are all carrying something right now, most noticeable is a dry cough in the night and sore throat but we’re all feeling generally a bit crappy. I’d really like to stay healthy but every autumn is the same story; I’m doing well until the sheer quantity of sick people I’m exposed to finally tales its toll. I can resist a lot but when almost everyone you meet is blowing germs at you in addition to the ones Zosia brings home from playschool, what chance do you have? I’ve also been here long enough now that my instinctive British immunity has been weakened to such an extent that were I to don my T-shirt and shorts I’d probably die of pneumonia the next day!

This years drug of choice is AscoRutiCal Forte, a mixture of 200mg ascorbic acid (vitamin C), 200mg of calcium and 50mg of that most popular of Polish chemicals, rutin. The old Polish favourite and what must be the best selling drug in the country by a long way, Rutinoscorbin, also contains ascorbic acid and rutin but only 100 and 25mg of each respectively and zero calcium. Get the forte stuff, the more chemicals the better! Perhaps the advertising works then, eh?


I don’t recall having ever come across such mixtures in the UK and had never heard of rutin until I came here so does anyone know how they/it came to be so popular in Poland? Was this some Communist thing or what? What does rutin do anyway?

I’d forgotten about the autumn sickness until recently. Don’t know how because it’s the same every year, so I’ll have to revise my “guide to the Polish working year” as follows;

  • JAN-MAR: Everyone is Skiing or on other winter holidays
  • APR-MAY: Everyone takes time off for Easter and Majówka
  • JUNE: Might actually get some work done
  • JUL-SEPT: Everyone is on summer holidays or moving children around the country
  • SEPT-NOV: Everyone is sick
  • NOV-JAN: Everyone is concentrating on Christmas & New Year.
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2 thoughts on “Will everyone just stop being sick every autumn!

  1. “but there’s a reason to this madness” — That’s a lie! For one, I used to wear a bespoke kilt (bare dirk asock, might I add, Stewart Hunting Tartan) a few winters included, to reinforce the immunity of my system, and then darn what: It’s been quite a time since I had to take away my brekker porridge and chew on furagins in its stead.

    So let me tell you where the strength of the flesh comes from: the spirits! Vodka-abandoning Poles had to have it coming. Brits, on the other pub, gulp and dram and sip and shoot and quaff and swig wherever they can, won’t you, sir, say?

  2. Just spent the last week with what started as a sore throat and headaches, then a chesty cough, runny or blocked up nose (which still hasn’t abated) , shivers etc – fortunately the Mrs and the young baby have managed to avoid getting the lurgy from me. However I think your theory is correct – since living in this bunker we have rarely had the temperature higher than 18 degC, lots of draughts and only had the heating on at night to 15 deg in winter. This last year we’ve been heating even in the summer because the baby was small and the house is always cooler then outside (thermally heavyweight building). Add to that new windows fitted and heating around 20 – 21 deg and I’ve been softened up and primed for infection.

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