It’s winter and with that comes cold and flu season. The increase in the spread of viruses rises every fall/winter season. Thanks to school activities and increase in time spent with others, it’s hard to avoid being exposed to people suffering from one of many types of contagious illnesses.
Here are 3 reasons why you should “Stay Away” when you are fighting a cold or flu.
1. You are contagious, period. Regardless of how careful you are about NOT coughing or sneezing on those around you, you are still sharing the same air. If you work in an office, the air is circulated and the filters in the system DO NOT remove the contagions from the air enough to eliminate the risk of passing it along.
A statement I overheard a health professional say the other day left me bewildered on people’s understanding about how viruses are spread. The person said “I’m not coughing on anyone and I wash my hands between clients. There is no way I will spread it. If I can stand up, I have a responsibility to come in.” I was shocked by this statement. As a healthcare and fitness professional, I have the responsibility to ensure my clients have a safe, healthy environment to come to, so they can heal and work on whatever they have going on. They shouldn’t have to worry about being exposed to something that may potentially land them in bed sick.
Remember… You don’t have to cough or sneeze on the person to pass it. Being in the same room or area (lunch room, shared office space, classroom) increases the chances of passing along the bugs.
2. The people that you risk of infecting, don’t want your germs. People are busy and if they become sick with an illness that you could have prevented the spread of, you will be affecting their lives in more ways that you think. Perhaps it’s a sporting event that they compete in or worse case, they may have a weakened immune system and your bugs can in fact kill them.
My daughter is on day 6 of a high fever, cough and runny nose thanks to being exposed to someone who should have been home in bed. She’s missing school, rock climbing training (she has a competition this weekend) and just feels lousy. She works with kids and during the winter holiday was working with a young girl who was coughing and sneezing. Upon arriving on the first day, the parent told my daughter that they weren’t going to come to the class because the little girl was not feeling well but they decided to go anyway. 10 days later, she came down with similar symptoms of the flu. Obviously, no one can say for sure where she contracted the illness but clearly she got it from someone. You have to be exposed to someone with the bug to get it yourself.
Another example… My father was a lung transplant recipient. Because his body was constantly trying to reject the life saving gift from another family, he was on extremely strong immune suppressant medications. He essentially had NO immune system. While he may have received an additional seven years of life, he refused to go out very often into public, especially in the winter months when cold/flu season began. The risk was far too great. He would only go to places where there were few people and he wouldn’t stay too long. If any family member had a cold or the flu, we stayed away.
3. Your body needs rest, so you can return to your normal life sooner than if you play the “I’ll just push through it” game. We’ve all been there. You feel like crap with a fever and sniffles, but you have plans (work, exercise, entertainment, etc). You’ve spent the money (or need the money) and come hell or high water, you’re going to do what you want to do. So, you go, suffering through it only to come home feeling exhausted and worse than you did before you went. Not only have you now exposed multiple people to your disease, you have possibly extended the time that you will suffer from the illness. Our bodies are amazing machines, fighting off viruses, healing broken bones, injured muscles when the occasion arises. One of the ways it does this is through rest. The system is so busy working to repair the problem, if we increase the demand by dragging ourselves around town when we don’t really need to be, the immune system slows down, effectively lengthening the time you will feel the effects and even possibly increase the symptoms.
We all are busy and suffering from colds/influenza is a pain in the butt. No one has time for it but it is vital that we all work together to avoid further spread to those around us. We all have a responsibility to each other to take care of ourselves and thereby taking care of those around us.
Be BIG. Be BOLD. Be BEAUTIFUL. Be YOU!!!