A Shot in the Arm
I awoke one day last weekend with possibly the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life, and Tylenol wasn’t helping, so by mid-day I was afraid I might have come down with the H1N1 flu. It is rampant in the Ozarks right now and schools throughout the region are closing.
Luckily, the headache finally subsided when my husband finally brought me my sinus medications and I was able to down some.
Keeping germs confined to one person is pretty tough in The Little House, that’s why I still insist we both take the flu shot. We got into the habit when I was caring for my elderly mother, who had a chronic lung disease, and we’ve continued taking it to keep our immune systems strong.
I might be a little more paranoid over the flu than the average person.
The deadly effects of the disease was all too real for my family as my father, who was the youngest of 13 children, lost a majority of his older siblings to the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918.
They too lived in a very small, 2-room house in rural Clarksville, Arkansas.
My dad wasn’t born yet, but the fact that he had never met many of his brothers and sisters was something he carried with him throughout his life, and of course, was a story passed through the generations in our family.
To this day when I hear someone pooh-pooh the immunization for warding off the flu, I think of my poor grandmother and what a devastating loss it must have been to watch so many of her children die, knowing there was nothing they could have done to prevent it. I wonder what she would say to people who now have the opportunity to fight the virus before they even fall ill, but take that luxury so casually.
Our doctor finally got in the regular seasonal flu shot this week, and we’ll both be heading in as soon as we can get into town.
The details surrounding the H1N1 around here are sketchy, our doctor’s office could only say that the health department would be the only one receiving it and they didn’t know when.
When I was covering school districts and health issues for local newspapers, I learned a lot about the myth surrounding the flu shot.
Doctors, health officials, the CDC, and nurses all told me that it is absolutely false that the flu can be contracted by taking the shot.
The regular, seasonal flu shot is a dead virus, meaning it cannot spread the virus once inside the body. If you’ve become sick after taking a flu shot it is either because a). You had come in contact with the virus before and you would have fell ill anyway, or b). You had some sort of allergic reaction.
Since my husband and I have started taking the flu shot (maybe for a decade), we haven’t had a major bought with the flu.
A friend at book club gave me some other common sense methods of warding off colds and the flu that she got from a relative who is a doctor. I thought I would pass them along, as there is a couple on the list that I didn’t know:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
- Do not touch your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose while out in public. I also carry hand sanitizer while out and use it frequently and use the cart sanitizer provided at the grocery store.
- Gargle twice a day with warm salt water or Listerine. H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show symptoms. This simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method kills the germs and prohibits proliferation.
- Drink as many warm liquids as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, by washing the germs into the stomach where they will not survive.
- Clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. 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.
- Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C, or if you take Vitamin C tablets, make sure that is also has Zinc/biofavonoids to boost absorption.
Even in our Little House, when one of us has gotten a bug, we have been able to keep it from getting bad, or keep the other from getting it by:
-Immediately, upon the first sign of a scratchy throat, we begin downing Vitamin
C, Zinc and Echinacea (I haven’t had a cold in 2 years due to this method).
-Covering our mouths and noses with tissue when we cough or sneeze and then
immediately washing or disinfecting our hands before touching anything.
-Wiping down the house with disinfectant a couple of times a day, including door- knobs, water faucet handles, phones, etc.
-Using separate hand towels.
-Immediately changing the toothbrushes after the fever subsides, to help prevent re-infection.
I heard a news broadcast the other day even recommending that the sick person wear a facemask in the house. We haven’t gone there just yet, but one never knows!
Hopefully, the preventative measures will keep us well in The Little House this year, and I hope they will help all of you too!
Do you have any tried and true methods of staying healthy during the cold and flu season?