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Endless Cold

The Endless Cold is a disease found primarily in Ethion. It is so called because it causes the body temperature to drop until it no longer be regulated, eventually killing the person.  

Symptoms

The disease can take decades to present itself, but once it does, the first symptom is tinnitus. Over time, the tinnitus worsens and the person loses their hearing altogether. This is followed by a loss in vision and finally, a steady reduction in body temperature. Eventually, body temperature drops too far to regulate and the person dies. Each stage of progression occurs faster than the last.  

Treatment

The only known treatment for the disease is made from the Death Blossom. If taken regularly, the medicine stops the progression of the symptoms. If one stops taking the medicine, however, the symptoms return. The use of the Death Blossom as a treatment has unfortunately led to the disease being stigmatized, and those who are being treated will often keep it a secret from neighbors and co-workers. There is no known cure.  

Spread

Another reason for the stigma around the disease is the lack of clarity on how it spreads. It is not airborn, and there is no clear evidence that it is caused by bacteria which are easily spread through basic contact. It can be spread through blood. However, because the disease takes such a long time to incubate, it is not always clear how a person may have contracted the disease. Though further study is needed, those who have it, especially if taking the medication, should mostly be able to interact with others normally without issue.  

Identification

Because the early symptoms are rather innocuous, doctors have struggled with identifying it quickly, with many having gone unidentified until nearly stage 2. Doctors are able, however, to rely on knowledge of the affected populations. The disease is found almost exclusively in Ethion, with the most affected population being the orthodox Ethite. Therefore, when orthtodox Ethites complain of tinnitus, they are immediately monitored for the Endless Cold, whereas others are generally treated for other conditions first. Few doctors outside of Ethion know about the disease, so the few cases that have occurred in other countries have mostly resulted in death.

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Cover image: by Molly Mar

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