January 20, 2013
Vitamin C, check.
Antibacterial soap, full to overflowing in all of my soap dispensers.
In anticipation of flu, I am taking every precaution in my arsenal of tried-and-true home remedies. I have heard from a number of normally healthy people just how bad this bug is, and Iím doing everything in my power to avoid the germs.
Iíve heard the stories of hospital admittance. Iíve heard the stories of being too sick to get to the hospital. Iíve heard the stories of 10-pound weight loss in a few short days, and I want to steer clear of as much of all that as is humanly possible.
My son, visiting home over Christmas, got a cold. I followed that kid around spraying Lysol to avoid the spread of germs. I didnít want the gift of flu to be among my Christmas gifts.
He rolled his eyes as I put out the Vickís, and somewhere in his glance I caught sight of his recall of why itís good to live away from parents. But for the few days he was home, he was mine in all his germy-ness.
My medical degree does not allow me to know whether a cold turns into the flu. I doubt it, but I wanted to take no chances. I made certain to drink tons of water and get plenty of rest. Everything I knew to ward off sick.
Thankfully, no one else in the family caught his bug. And I patted myself on the back for my quick and able response in that emergency.
Then I read that a breeding ground for flu is the workplace, where a recent study found that 84 percent of the people go when sick. And, to add insult to injury, most do not alert others to their sickness.
So, you could be working next to Typhoid Mary and never know it. Well, unless the watery eyes, hacking cough or constantly running nose would give it away.
Prior to reading this study, I believed myself to be Teflon because I had the flu shot last fall and believed none of those nasty bugs would stick to me. I sympathized with the sick around me, knowing in my heart that would never be me. I had taken precautions.
Now I read that a flu shot doesnít seem to be the kryptonite I had imagined.
Now Iím being warned to watch where my co-workers gather, and steer clear.
Donít touch door handles. Donít touch sink faucets. Donít even touch keyboards. The 84 percent bad eggs out there could have touched the same surface, thereby infecting the healthy. Like me.
Iím warned not to touch my face during the workday, lest any germs that snuck onto my hands might have direct access to my body. And while I should be OK with most of that, I feed my face a lot during any given pay period. Curbing that could be tough.
The only exception is for the gallon of water the medical experts suggest I keep on hand to hydrate myself and wash those germs out that snuck in while I was munching on my favorite sweet and salty mix.
And being the Catch 22 that this is, that gallon of water means flushing the system.
And that leads to a minimum 20-second washing of the hands.
And that means your hands are clean. Until you touch the door knob to leave the restroom.
Keeping healthy is not for the weak.
Last week I heard my husband begin sniffling. And that sniffle turned into lethargy. And then I heard the moaning begin.
I pushed a few Vitamin C in his direction. I told him to drink plenty of water. I sprayed all faucet handles and refrigerator doors with Lysol.
He claimed he felt no better.
Finally, I told him that was enough. Some people live through a cold, and he had better be one who planned on doing just that. No more moaning about being sick. ďPut on your big boy pants and get to work,Ē I told him.
Tough love. Hopefully itís a good preventative for sick.
As he headed out the door, I waved goodbye to my addition to the 84 percent.