11.16.2007

Feeling a Bit Run-down

Not overly sick. Not lie in bed and moan. Not run over by a truck. Not enough to actually cancel activities and stay in bed until I'm well.

But definitely run-down. Stuffy head, reddish/soreish throat. Thick, cloggy head and throat. I've even had a few bouts of fever over the past few weeks and as they keep going away on their own in less than 24 hours, and as I'm not generally feeling worse than the day before, I haven't yet called the doctor. I'm loathe to get an antibiotic without giving my body a fighting chance to kill off the bugs on their own (but I'm not sure when enough is enough).

I'm a bit freaked out by too many (misused) antibiotics creating super-germs. We've had quite a few MRSA scares in South Jersey, already. My position (as an elementary teacher and as a mom) puts me in contact with WAY more viruses and bacteria than I even care to think about. It's not-quite-but-almost enough to make me germophobic.

For the record, I do flush public toilets with my foot, and use a paper towel to open bathroom doors, and our own bathroom at home has anti-bacterial soap. But I don't have anti-bacterial products in my kitchen, or in my hand lotion, etc. And I always cough or sneeze into my elbow, not onto my hand (and I've taught my kiddos to do the same).

I have had friends who Purell their children within an inch of their lives. Kind of freaks me out. I'm all about clean. But seriously oversanitizing everything is a bad idea. Soap is great at getting us clean. Antibacterials (according to some sources) need 2 minutes to effectively sanitize. I don't know anyone who uses enough for long enough.

If the CDC thinks it's a bad idea, I think it's a bad idea. Not just the resistant bug strains thing, but also the kids-need-to-be-exposed-to-germs thing. Germs that don't kill us (or even that don't make us truly sick), make us stronger.

So ... here I continue down my let-my-body-give-it-a-shot path. I'm treating symptoms (Sudafed, cough drops, on particularly bad days -- Dayquil), but unless things take a definite downward turn, I'll just keep muddling on feeling moderately poorly until my body figures out the best way to kill whatever's ailing me.

And yeah, I know that fluids and extra rest would help. The fluids are a go, but extra rest is awfully hard to come by.

--End--

ps. Should also mention that I'm allergic to penicillin, and knowing that whole class of options is unavailable to me just makes the whole thing a bit more nerve-wracking.

4 comments:

Lisa said...

My general rule is: if you don't have a spiking fever (goes up every 8 to 12 hours) or green snot, you don't have a bacterial infection. And, if you don't have a bacterial infection, don't take antibiotics!

That extra rest IS hard to come by--my cold last week knocked me flat for 2 days with a high fever and chills (no spike=virus, not bacteria). So, I had an excuse to stay in bed and get taken care of. I really couldn't do anything for anyone but myself.

I've been trying to avoid the antibacterial soaps. Soap and proper handwashing should be enough, I'm waiting for the research to definitively say that antibacterial soaps are a good thing or a bad thing.

The MRSA thing is a bit overblown, the basic steps you've described are enough to avoid it. The problem with the illnesses that have caused death are far more related to medical staff missing the diagnosis early on than the bug itself. Everyone needed a focus shift to realize that it was not just a hospital infection anymore.

It's only resistant to one class of antibiotics, and for generally healthy people the other drugs aren't a problem (they are a little harder on the body, so someone with other health problems has a higher risk of difficulties).

We had schools scrubbing down walls, etc. outside of Chicago, and the Health Department finally got out there and gave the media a dose of reality.

Heidi said...

Wish I could lie in bed and be taken care of. But I think unless I were actually hospitalized, that's not going to happen for a variety of reasons. Maybe a high enough fever would warrant it, like yours did.

(no green snot, by the way, just thick and yellow...TMI?)

Lisa said...

I never knew you were allergic to penicillin...

Heidi said...

Yup ... had strep throat off and on for about 3 years as a toddler/preschooler and had penicillin quite a bunch of times. Until I eventually had a severe rashr reaction to it. The base pediatrician told mom that I should never have it again unless it were an absolute emergency. Oh, and any of the antibiotics that are recommended to be taken with food lest they "may cause nausea" are pretty much guaranteed to make me hurl unless taken with an enormous meal. I once took an erythromycin in my dorm before breakfast and didn't even make it to the dining hall across the street without throwing up behind a shrubbery on the way.