Hie Thee Home, Typhoid Mary!

I can NOT believe this.  Earlier this month, I spent two and a half weeks sick with a viral respiratory thing that was making the rounds.  I actually considered myself lucky because I know some folks who were sick for a whole month with it.  While I was fighting it, I tried to stay home from social functions, church, meetings, etc.  I didn’t want to spread it to someone else, if I could help it.  Well, guess what?  I was healthy for exactly one week before I was felled yet again by a head cold.  I can almost guarantee you where I got this, too.  I had been at a function about four days earlier where half of the people were sick with the same thing.  I remember thinking, “Jeepers, why aren’t you guys at home?”

That got me to thinking that it might be a good time to take a cold (groan), hard look at cold germs, how they spread, what to do once they attack, and some preventative measures to avoid being felled by these pesky germs.  Here is some info I picked up while surfing the Web.  I can’t vouch that it is 100% accurate but there seemed to be a general consensus on these across multiple sources.

Lifespan:  Did you know that cold germs can last up to six hours outside of your body?  SIX HOURS!  Cold germs seem to be spread mainly by physical contact with an infected person or surface versus flu germs which spread mainly through the air via means such as sneezing and coughing.

Defensive Game Plan:
1.  Avoid contact with people that are sick.  OK, this is hard to do.  But if you ARE around sick folks, try not to touch surfaces that they are touching.  DON’T shake hands with them.  Tell them you have leprosy.  Make something up!  It’s your health you’re protecting.  Be creative!

2.  Clean surfaces that tend to harbor germs.  This can be defensive or proactive but disinfect your kitchen counters, door knobs, and refrigerator handles.  Don’t forget about the TV remotes!  Just think about the number of times your family touches those.  If one of you is sick, those germs are probably being passed back and forth while you change channels.

3.  Wash your hands frequently!  If you touch someone who is sick, wash your hands.  Touch something they’ve been touching?  Wash those hands.  If you are sick and blow your nose, throw away the tissue.  I tend to tuck used tissues back into my purse or up in my sleeve so I can use them again.  Wrong move!  I’m spreading germs.  Throw them away.  Incidentally, scientists are recommending that you wash with good old regular soap versus the antibacterial soap that you see everywhere these days.  They are worried that the bacteria that these soaps don’t kill will evolve into resistant bacteria.  We don’t need more of those, eh?

4.  If you have to sneeze, do so into your elbow or sleeve.  Forget Mom’s old adage about covering your mouth if you have to cough or sneeze.  Then what are you doing with that dirty old hand?  Sure you are going to wash your hands but just how many of us get distracted or waylaid on our way to the sink?  Uh-huh!  Germ alert!  By coughing or sneezing into the crook of your elbow, you are much less likely to infect someone else by touch (unless they are REALLY touchy-feely).

5.  Try not to touch your eyes or nose if you’re around someone who is sick.  This is probably a good habit to get into at any time.  One website I visited said that a nursing study reported that 98% of colds are caught through the eyes (and they didn’t mean by looking at someone who was sick – they meant by you rubbing your eyes after contact with a sickie).

6.  Drink Plenty of Fluids – this is good to do at any time but supposedly it is even more important when you are sick.  It keeps you hydrated.  I don’t know, maybe it drowns the germs or something.  They say that black or green tea is good as a preventative, too.  One cup a day should be helpful.  Tea is also a powerful anti-carcinogen.  That’s enough to make me take a second look at it.

7.  Replace your toothbrush after an illness.  OK, how many of you do this?  I have to admit, I never do this.  Usually, I only replace my toothbrush ever six months, when I come back from the dentist with a new one.  I think I’m going to start having a bunch of toothbrushes on hand and follow this suggestion.  It actually makes sense.

8.  Exercise.  Say what?  According to Oprah’s website, sedentary, post-menopausal women are twice as likely to catch a cold as those who exercise regularly.  Ouch!  I happen to fit into the former category.  Have to admit, though….I’m not feeling very enthused about exercising at the moment.

Bottom line?  Use some common sense.  I know many of you don’t have the luxury of staying home from work more than a day or two.  If you have to go to work when you are ill, take cleaning wipes with you and use them, ok?  Don’t spread the suffering.  And for Pete’s sake, try to stay at home when you can.  We will ALL thank you!

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Hot Flashed Funk

  • good advise.

    Hope you are feeling better SOON!

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