Take Your Cold And Go Away
As cold and flu season quickly approaches, I am keenly aware of it.
Because people don’t realize that their next cold or flu could be my next hospitalization.
Every year, I cringe when I am riding public transportation or am otherwise next to someone who is coughing and sneezing.
Dreading cold or flu season
I don’t like to profile people, but if you are acting like you’re sick, I am going to try and stay away from you.
Some friends know me well enough to know that if they are sick, they will check with me first, and depending on what they have or how they are feeling or I’m feeling, we will reschedule our plans.
Exposure to cold and flu symptoms
But obviously, not everyone is that conscientious. That diligence is the exception, not the rule.
And I’ve been known to give dirty looks to people that are sick, and either aren’t covering their mouth when they cough or their nose when they sneeze, or don’t seem otherwise concerned that they are exposing people to their yuck.
I’m not saying that people aren’t allowed to be sick. I’m just saying that I don’t want to be around them when they are.
For my sake.
Having the cold or flu with rheumatoid arthritis
And this comes from evidence. Maybe not scientific evidence, but evidence nonetheless.
Should I tell you how many times I’ve been on a bus, sitting by someone who is hacking up a lung, and two days later, I’m sick?
I don’t think I’ve talked myself into this. I think it really happens. I think my immune system is just that bad. If it’s not overactive, it’s underactive.
The disease makes it worse. The medications make it worse.
And that’s a frustrating thing. It’s just another area of life in which we have lost/been forced to give up control.
Recovery from the cold/flu takes more time with RA
The other problem is that what might knock someone out for a day or two, knocks me out for more like a week. So not only do I get sicker when I’m acutely ill as opposed to a “normal” person, but I also get sicker for longer.
And this often hampers my plans.
It’s a reality that we have to face, and it’s important to take things seriously. If we don’t feel good or something seems off, we need to be vigilant about that.
The difference between acute and chronic illness
We can’t always sit by and simply wait it out.
As my uncle, a doctor, used to say: “Run around the block a few times and then you‘ll get pneumonia – that we can treat. But we can’t cure the common cold.”
I think that quote is appropriate because people hem and haw about having a cold.
I get it. You don’t feel good. And every time I get a cold or the flu, I reminded what it’s like to be acutely ill, and how that feels different than dealing with chronic illness.
I hope people get better at not spreading the cold or flu
But, on the other hand, I know that it wasn’t me or anyone else who caused my chronic illnesses.
However, nine times out of ten, when I become acutely ill, it’s because someone I came in contact with was sick, and was generous enough to share the wealth.
So I say, don’t be so generous. If you’re sick, try not to spread it.
What are your tips and tricks for staying as well as possible during cold and flu season? How do you protect yourself from those who are otherwise healthy when they are acutely ill?
Have you managed RA fatigue better than you used to?