Friday, February 1, 2013

Get Well Soon Newfoundland!

Published in the Clarenville Packet.

I’m typing this from my sofa surrounded by wadded up tissues and the sound of my own groaning.

There is clanking and clattering in the kitchen, and from here I see the blur that is my one-year-old, removing all my baking sheets, pots, and pans from their cabinets.

She is robust, healthy, and entirely untouched by the germs attacking me. She picks up the colander, studies it for a second, and then puts in on her head.  I’d take a picture, but I haven’t the energy.  Today, she seems to move at warp speed, but I could just be delirious.

The doctor said I have just a small virus. It definitely won’t kill me.  It hasn’t killed my husband, who has battled it for the past three weeks, and still continues to fight a hacking cough, stuffy nose, and on and off head aches.

This nasty cold is everywhere.

I’m not being hyperbolic when I say almost everyone I know in Newfoundland is sick right now. We are all united in our misery.

The playgroup I attend with my daughter hasn’t met for a month due to illnesses in all of our families. We’ve thought it best just to quarantine ourselves until this crazy, record-breaking flu season comes to an end.

This quarantine has had strange effects on my kiddo. The only companion eye-level to her is the family dog, so she has become rather canine.

Yes, I know it is developmentally appropriate for a child her age to carry things around in her mouth, chew on her toys, and put her face in her food, but nonetheless, it will be nice for her to associate with other human children again.

I did a bit of research on how to prevent the spread of germs. Most of what I found was the usual wash your hands, and cover your mouth when you cough business that we all know to do.  However, I want to share a few tips that I’d never heard before from Dr. Melissa Conrad Stoppler’s article “Ten Ways to Prevent the Common Cold.”

Avoid cigarette smoke. Dr. Stoppler says, “Cigarette smoke can irritate the airways and increase susceptibility to colds and other infections.” This includes exposure to passive smoke.

Use paper towels in your kitchen and bathrooms for hand washing. I know this is not the most environmentally friendly advice, but if someone in your house is infected, their germs can live for several hours on cloth towels. Just use that roll of paper guilt free until everyone is feeling better.

Finally, go throw those snotty tissues away immediately. Obviously the used tissues sitting on the couch or your bedside table will contaminate the surface you leave them on. I am the worst offender of this in my house, but I will now keep a wastebasket next to me at all times.

Hopefully, these tips along with some rest, relaxation, and ever-constant hand washing will help your family end flu season a bit early.

I’m off to guzzle Dayquil. I hope everyone out there is feeling better soon!

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