Healthy Obsession

How can a nation widely credited for having one of the highest average longevity could have so many hypochondriacs? Health is a near obsession for many Italians. That is not to say they go to the gym, they work out, or even that they watch their diet. No, they are just obsessed with minor ailments and the prevention of the horrible “febbre.”

Italians don’t get colds, they get the “febbre.” Although the word exists, I’ve yet to hear one use it.  Instead it is always something more serious, the febbre! The febbre prevents all activity, they will not go out, and they certainly won’t go to work. Instead, they are likely to be at home wrapped up in a blanket, and this is the one time they may drink tea.

The particularly afflicted watch their temperature as a day trader watches the stock market, tracking every high and low; taking the temperature two or three times if the first time didn’t measure up. The numbers are a precise science, a measure of their suffering.

Luckily a scarf is one of your best protections from the febbre. You might think that scarves are a fashion accessory but for many Italians they are a preventative, a safety measure against the dreaded febbre, for if your neck catches a cool draft, you will surely get a sore throat, perhaps followed by the febbre.

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