Cold and flu viruses are spreading and mutating all over the place and I have recently and very rudely been reminded of how much of a showstopper getting sick can be. It has been so many years since I have come down with even the most common cold that I forgot how brutal this stuff can be. I always take impeccable care of myself and usually trust that my immune system has my back but at this point I am convinced that no one is immune. The worst part about being sick is obviously the way you feel, but the consequences of the situation are just as devastating.
I would take a regular fever over cabin fever any day, but this week I was blessed with both and I have to say that not only did I feel like I got hit by a truck, I started to lose my mind for a little bit. Being quarantined in a tiny apartment for extended periods of time is the worst because it allows the mind to race, anxiety to flare up and after hours of watching television, getting lost in the internet, reading books and sleeping you run out of things to do and wish there was an alternative to patience. You hit the pause button on your life and have no idea when you will get to hit play again.
There is no fail proof way to avoid getting sick but there are general ways to nourish and care for yourself that have the ability to reduce the severity of an illness if you are exposed to a virus and shorten your recovery time while you are fighting it. I would advise the following, as many of them are obvious and often forgotten or ignored.
Cold and flu viruses can be airborne, and as much as we like to believe that covering a cough or sneeze will protect everyone around us, that is not always the case. So if you can avoid going to school or work sick, you should. It is admirable to have a show must go on mentality but it’s also pretty messed up to have absolutely no regard for the well being of those around you. I am 99.9% sure that I got sick as a result of being surrounded by sick people at work who knew they should have stayed at home. Those of us who have paid sick days should be using them way more often than we are, especially since millions of Americans still do not get any paid time off while sick. I find it interesting and slightly irritating that people who do have this privilege rarely use it. If they would we could dramatically decrease the severity of this epidemic and stop passing disease around in perpetuity.
Most people have reservations about the flu shot to some degree, doubting the effectiveness and worrying that it might not be a good idea, because what even is it? I have been suspicious because I personally find most things that are pushed on me by a broken healthcare system to be scary and threatening, but if you feel like it will help you more than it will harm you, do your research and make a decision based on information for yourself.
Bacteria + virus = not the same
Remember that bacterial infections and viral infections are two completely different things, and not everything is spread through physical contact. Doctors won’t prescribe antibiotics for a viral infection for same reason most antibacterial hand sanitizers don’t kill viruses, because bacteria is not a virus.
Take actual care
If you are sick, don’t just give up and let it have you. Take care of yourself and be aggressive with it. Rest as much as you can, go for a walk if you feel up for it, take your vitamins, eat well and stay hydrated. Watch or read things that will take you to a place where you can forget about how bad you feel and how much of your work and social life you are missing out on, and remember that it will all be waiting on you when you return.