Thank You For Infecting Me (Or Please Mind Your Flu Manners)

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By Judith Yamada, Kitchen Maven

While their daughter was visiting from out of town, a close friend and her husband, decided to invite a neighbor to their home for dinner. The neighbor, who’d been hinting for an invitation, gladly accepted and thoughtfully brought the hostess a small bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine and his major head cold with frightfully fluish symptoms.

Sniffling, snarfling, and running to the rest room to blow his nose throughout the evening, the fellow appeared quite ill, flushed and gaunt, and was vaguely apologetic about his condition; “I’m getting over a little cold”. When he finally left (and not nearly soon enough, according to my friend) she and her husband disinfected everything he had or may have touched. What was this character thinking?
People, please mind your flu manners! Even if you think it’s just a cold, we don’t want your infection. Practicing social distancing, by staying more than 3 feet away from people, will decrease your risk of spreading your germs and theirs of contracting your illness.
· When you are obviously ill, cancel interactions with others who don’t want your germs; I think that includes everyone. If you have to go to work or school – don’t. Let them know that you’re sick, probably quite contagious and might infect others.
· Get some rest. Your body wants a horizontal vacation. Snuggle up on the sofa and watch a classic movie, prop up in bed with a good book or don a sleep mask and get some much-needed Zs.
· Hydrate. Many cultures use warm beverages such as broth, herb tea and warm apple juice to alleviate symptoms. And drink lots of water. Research shows that hydrating, particularly with warm liquids, can ease the discomfort of overtiredness and sore throat. Staying hydrated also breaks up congestion. And if you are dealing with a sore throat, try a salt-water gargle by stirring ½ teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water.
· To lower a fever, try traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda). It recommends the use of spices to lower a fever. Bring 1¼ cups water to a boil with ½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and coriander and ¼ teaspoon of powdered ginger. Allow tea to steep, covered, for a few minutes then sip slowly.
Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar suggests combining 5 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root with 1-quart cold water and bringing it just to a boil. Remove from heat and steep for 10 minutes. Strain ginger from tea, and stir in the juice of 1 fresh lemon along with honey to taste.
Although you may not feel much like eating when ill, it’s important that you do so, because nutrients fuel the immune system, resulting in a relief of symptoms and possibly a shortened length of the sickness. Homemade chicken soup or any homemade soup containing garlic, onion, and spices such as turmeric, ginger and cayenne pepper, cinnamon or cloves has been shown to be helpful. And after your soup have some anti-oxidant fresh berries for dessert. Any berries will do as long as they’re raw and fresh.
· Don’t try to power through your sickness. You may become increasingly sick or infect everyone in your path. And when you’re well enough to head back out into the real world, and you feel a sneeze or cough coming on, cough or sneeze into your elbow or a handkerchief. Keep it to yourself.
For those of us lucky ones who haven’t suffered a bout with the crud this year, here are some healthy hints to keep us that way:
As many as 80 percent of infections are transmitted through sneezing, coughing or touching infected surfaces and then touching your face.
· Wash your hands – A LOT. Use soap and lather it up. Wipe your hands dry with a clean towel or paper towels to remove remaining bacteria. And think about substituting a fist bump for a handshake. Handshakes are a good way to get sick.
· Ponder virus sharing when you’re touching door knobs, door handles computer keyboards, light switches, faucets, elevator buttons, hand rails, workroom coffee pots and refrigerator doors, remote controls, grocery cart handles, restaurant condiment bottles and chair backs. The list is endless, so wash up and keep your hands to yourself.
· Carry hand wipes with you and, when you’re unable to get to soap and water, use them. When necessary, use a clean hanky or tissue when touching your face. Touching your eyes, nose or mouth without first washing your hands provides an entryway for viruses. That means washing your hands before and after blowing your nose.
A 2008 study from the University of California, Berkeley, found that the typical person makes a hand-to-face connection an average of 16 times per hour. If you abstain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth, you will drastically reduce the likelihood of a virus infection.
In addition to hand washing, keep hydrated, get some fresh air and eat well to stay healthy.

Online resources used in this article are as follows:

Mayo Clinic, Mother Earth News, HUFF POST, WebMD, Reader’s Digest Best Health