Thursday, January 9, 2014

Flu Phobia

At the risk of sounding like a paranoid psycho I am terrified of getting the flu this year. Last February, 11 months ago, I caught the flu for the first time. I was so sick I couldn't function (getting from the bed to bathroom was a huge feat) for over 2 weeks. I was sick, but somewhat functioning with help for several weeks after that. I was extremely fatigued and unable to preform normal duties because of this fatigue for months. It took me about 9 months to recover and at 11 months out I still feel like, although recovered, I am forever weakened health wise by the experience. I don't bounce back from colds like I did before, I get run down much easier and I just don't feel the same.

I recently bought clorox wipes for grocery carts, baskets, or other places that sick people may have touched. I always feel slightly embarrassed taking out my wipes and sanitizing everything because I am not normally a germaphobe, but avoiding the flu is worth the moments of embarrassment. I wear my gloves when I go to the ATM or other public places so I can pull my gloves off after touching everything (germs!) and throw them aside. Hand sanitizer is my new best friend. I no longer worry about hurting feelings if a kid at the park or library is coughing near my daughter I instantly pick her up and move.

On the radio last night I heard there have already been 5 deaths from the flu in the city I live in. Obviously, that did not ease my fears of getting the dreaded flu. I know I need to live life and can't just barricade myself in the house, but I am not going to lie- there are times I wish I could (and not go completely crazy from boredom).

Any tips on avoiding the flu through the winter months?


  1. AMEN AMEN AND AMEN!!! I had a similar experience to yours in 2007. It took me 2 years and something like 8 hospitalizations until I felt like I had actually recovered. (But I am happy to say it DID eventually happen.) The idea of being struck down that low with Kate at the age she is right now, and being such a high-needs mama's girl,seriously gives me palpitations to even think about!!! I am always careful with germs in the winter but this year I'm taking it to a new level. Church attendance is really important to me and except right after Kate was born (at the end of RSV season) I have never outright skipped a ton, but I am not going for at least 2 months. This flu season is so scary!!!

    My #1 tip is a lot of work but I can't stress what a difference it made for us. Because I have been staying at home for several years, for a long time my biggest germ exposure has been stuff Mahon brings home from work. It used to be that once or twice a winter he'd come home from work with the sniffles (since people always, always go to work sick), and then a few days later I'd be struck down with a major infection and I'd end up in the hospital. About two years ago we started a new protocol - now when he comes home he changes his clothes (the old clothes go straight in the hamper), showers, and does a sinus rinse (which he hates but I can usually guilt him into doing). Our goal is to get rid of any germs he might be carrying home on his person, clothes, or incubating in his sinuses/throat. Since we did that, I have only ONCE (in 2-3 years) gone into the hospital from work germs. I've had exacerbations due to other things (like this year, where I just keep getting viruses from who knows where), but not work germs. We also both do the shower protocol whenever we go somewhere with a lot of people (grocery store etc).

    1. I am happy to hear you got back to your old normal. I am hoping that day comes for me!

      I love your advice on staying germ free. Hubby manages over 100 employees and also works with the public so I almost always get sick from him.Right now at his work everyone is sick and I am terrified of it following him home. He started sanitizing up to his elbows the second he gets in his car and changes his clothes when he gets home, but I am going to see if he will shower/sinus rinse (maybe swish and gargle too). I would love to cut down the germs he brings home!