23 August, 2010

material monday: fighting the (virus) fight

Still fighting off this cold, it's a nasty one, but not completely immobilizing, which is a blessing. This is, also thankfully, just a cold and not Pertussis, of which we apparently have an epidemic currently. We also have one of the highest, if not the highest, pertussis vaccination rates in the country, so, interesting that. In case I have not mentioned it before, we do not vaccinate. It is actually contra-indicated for our children, but even if it weren't I don't know that I would, seeing as there ARE side effects and vaccination does not confer immunity. It does not. If a vaccine 'takes' it confers antibodies, but antibodies are not immunity. (they do help though, don't get me wrong.) So a vaccination will not prevent infection if you have a weak immune system. Good hygiene is needed as well. Interestingly, infection rates and hygiene practice are correlated. Almost give the appearance that vaccinations themselves don't do much?

Ok, ok, I'm not anti-vax. I am anti-baby-vax, and anti-bunched-vax, as I believe both are dangerous. I feel that mass vaccinations are a sort of stop-gap measure against poor hygiene, and I believe that adults who cannot avoid contact with people with poor hygiene (i.e., people who persist in coming into contact with the public when they are sick.) should get vaccinated. My Dad works in an industry that requires a LOT of travel, and a LOT of public contact, so he gets offered vaccines everywhere he goes, and he accepts them gladly, because he is around the babies occasionally and does not want to carry a disease that can hurt them. As he put it "vaccines were to inoculate the people who were carrying disease, so that children would not catch them."

That makes sense, since most kids are not going to go beyond certain spheres of community. It's the adults traveling between groups that really are the spreaders of disease. I'm not talking about once the disease has been introduced to a group, because once one kid has it all the other kids are going to get it really fast. The key is to prevent the introduction of disease into a group. So, if we can stop spreading disease between communities (good hygiene! and, yes, vax) then the kids can be safe and disease, I truly believe, can be obliterated.
But, HOW?

1. When there is an epidemic in our area, like the current pertussis outbreak, we severely limit public outings, and monitor our friend's health to prevent exposure. That means, the only shopping is for groceries and gas, and we limit those as much as possible and go during off hours to avoid crowds.

2. When we are sick, we do not go out. Asher's friend, who is only around a few days a week, came by yesterday and I had to say no to a playdate as even though Asher was ready to play he is still sick and this would not only set him back in his recovery but risk infecting his friend. It was sad, but he was pretty accepting of the situation. After all,he's had to give up cheese and ice cream because of his cold, so I guess he's getting used to it!

3. We do not go to work, or school, sick. When Milt is sick, he stays home. If he is out of sick days, he uses vacation days. Recovery is a lot faster when you stay home and take care of yourself, and forcing yourself to go and give 10% in a work/school setting while exposing everyone around you is just counterproductive. Either way you'll have work to catch up on, and if you just stay home you can get back to work sooner and won't have wiped out everyone who could have helped you who are now stuck at home (or out infecting the mall).

(I know that we only get a limited amount of sick days, and I think it is a travesty. It should be policy to not come to work sick, because then instead of one employee out sick you wind up with ALL your employees out sick, because they keep infecting each other. Just saying, it is time for reform.)

4. we FIGHT THAT ILLNESS! When I get sick the first thing I do is start megadosing on Vitamin C. I really mean MEGAdosing too. I also bundle up, as much as I can stand it, and drink lots of hot liquids (like tea and broth). Raising my temperature seems to help my body burn out the illness, and sweating is a good way to release toxins. Hot showers wash it all away, and I keep my trusty slippers on whenever I am roaming around. Yes, it can be a little uncomfortable to be all bundled up in August, but when I can literally FEEL myself getting better it is so much better than sucking down popsicles to soothe my throat while my head pounds and I shuffle around listlessly between couch and bed. The boys get the same treatment, along with somewhat paranoid monitoring for dehydration. Milt is a little stubborn when it comes to taking care of himself, but he will at least take vit C chewables when I remind him.

So that was a really long-winded way of getting around to my fight the illness kit:

from top left, clockwise:
my teakettle (used to heat water for tea and broth), a comfy not-too-heavy sweater, my cute and comfy slippers, vitamin C chewable, vitamin C energy booster drink powder, and Miso paste for healthy broths.

That's about it; I add varying amount of veggies to the broth, depending how much I feel like 'eating' as opposed to drinking, try to keep my temperature up and take vitamin C as soon as I start to feel tired or congested. Now back to tea-sipping!


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