Eithne Shortall: Welcome to ‘The Sickening’, the time of year where someone will always be ill

The Sickening happens mainly to households with kids and involves bodily fluids, possessed children, sleep-deprived zombies, and many, many sequels

The pressing work project or fun night out are forgotten as high temperatures and pain relief intervals instantly colonise your brain. Picture: Getty

You’ve probably heard of ‘the quickening’. This is the quaint term used to describe the fluttering sensation a pregnant woman feels when the baby first starts to move in her uterus. It’s a magical, singular experience, like having a delicate butterfly trapped inside you.

Despite the rhyming names, it has precisely nothing in common with what will befall that same woman a couple of years later, when she enters a new, decidedly indelicate stage in ...