I’m on Chapter 5 of a week long dose of flu. Here is how it progressed.
Chapter 1: Sore throat and slight dizziness
Chapter 2: Blocked nose, headache, EVERYTHING aches especially the legs & back
Chapter 3: KO. Temperature and disability to do anything useful at all
Chapter 4: Cough and really bad mood (it’s been 5 days now)
Chapter 5: Clean out
What really made this episode annoying is all the effort I put in at the different stages to stop it progressing. In Chapter 1 I used an organic propolis throat spray and also forced myself to stop working and rest; including early nights and an alcohol ban. In Chapter 2 I used an “essential oils” nose spray to clear my sinases and held back with any paracetamol until Chapter 3 when it was needed to lower my fever. To ease the effects of the cough I used an organic cough medicine and to improve my mood I had a couple of beers. Not forgetting to mention the immune system boosting Immiflex, multi-vitamin tablets, vitamin C tabs and echinacea sachets. Here I am a week later, the Pharmacies best friend, thinking if those attempts were in vain and what the heck I can do to not catch flu again this winter.
Let’s start with the difference between a cold and the flu. They are both viruses and both caught from other carriers; door handles, sharing a bottle, kissing your wife, etc. One virus is just worse than the other and you can tell by the symptoms. If you get a temperature and aching body you have the flu. If its just a blocked nose its a cold.
There are hundreds of wives tales on how to alleviate the effects of the flu (everything from chicken soup to filling your bathroom sink full of hot water and breathing in the steam) but one thing is certain; there is no cure. The flu virus has to run its path through your body. You rest, sleep more, eat well, clear your sinuses, to give your body the best chance of fighting it off quickly. You may gain a day or 2 but it will be several days off the bike.
So, let’s move attention to prevention. Surely the best way is not to get it in the first place. Again enter the misconceptions – “I got cold on that ride and this is why I got the flu”, “I’ve worked hard the last week and that’s why i’m ill” – I have used these excuses too.
The #1 suggestion by doctors and health professionals is the flu jab. I had never even considered this, thinking its something that older people take. I was once in the doctors when they were providing them for free and was told I wouldn’t need it at my age (to be fair I was a lot younger at the time).
You can try hard not to make contact with the virus; avoid people who have it, wash your hands LOTS, clean your work-space and house, but realistically, knowing that when somebody sneezes the virus travels 10 feet in the air, if it’s going around you will be exposed to it at some point over the winter.
So there is a benefit of keeping your immune system ticking over at its full capacity. To do this, rest is numero uno, followed by a healthy diet, good exercise and of course all those other special tricks we all have (a recent client in our shop swore by nutritional yeast which I will give a try).
I hope this has been slightly useful and you do not suffer the flu monologues this year!