Losing our Grippe?

I gotta go back to work tomorrow after having been off since Thursday evening. The time off was not voluntary — I’ve been sick. And then Sarah got whatever I had after that. We’re not sure if it’s another case of Hamthrax (though that would be an interesting coincidence, nearly six months after the initial entry into Germany from Mexico here in Regensburg — which was not our fault!).

I’m not sure how I contracted the illness. I was working from our Nürnberg office on Thursday, which meant mass transit and plenty of shared airspace and handgrips, but I would not have expected such a short timespan between contraction and symptom manifestation. By the time I got home from that trip, I was exhausted and had a cough-causing tickle in my lungs. I didn’t know I was sick then. I didn’t figure I was anything more than tired from a long work day when I went to bed early (around 8pm) until I woke up sweaty around 1am.

I pretty much didn’t get out of bed until 36 hours later. Incredible weakness and dizziness and dull joint pain throughout, which didn’t subside until the onset of the deep, raspy, waterchestnutty (squish-crunch!) slimelogged bronchial coughs. I requested a doctor appointment right away on Friday morning, but didn’t get one until Monday evening. I got the doctor’s note for the time missed (Friday and Monday) plus today. I’m pretty much better, but Sarah’s a couple days behind me in the cycle.

If you get whatever’s going around — Aporkalypse or not — good luck. Until then, here’re some friendly pre-infection tips from my mom. These sound like good tips especially for the traveling sort:

  1. Frequent hand-washing.

  2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face.

  3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don’t trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don’t underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

  4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.

  5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

  6. Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.