Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Down with flu

... or something like it, anyway. I am writing this to clear some doubts that people have regarding the flu. I am not talking about the dreaded bird flu, so take heart.

Usually, flu creeps in with bouts of sneezing on Day 1. They make you so uncomfortable. When I am riding my bike, I have to ride really slow, or the next sneeze will see me bang head-on into an oncoming pedestrian or, God forbid, a vehicle. The bouts come with a frequency that is more than I can care to count, as, simultaneously, my head is feeling woozy and my eyes shut tight as I try to gain control over myself. However, I can safely say that they are more than ten every 15 minutes. This phase of the illness lasts for about 16-20 hours.

The next phase is the one of watery nasal discharge. The water just keeps coming out. It does this so surreptitiously that I am alarmed when, for example, I am with a patient, and the slow ooze just comes out and rolls down the upper lip. It is a tough thing to behave as though nothing untoward is happening. The patient looks on quizzically as I attempt to wipe the snot off with as much finesse as I can muster. Take medicines at this stage? You've got to be joking! There is no other symptom except for the runny nose.

Phase three comes like a tiger stalks its prey. You are forced to take a pill for it as it is so debilitating that you couldn't work if you didn't take one. This is the phase when body aches, headache and fever come in. You know, the hallmark of flu and all that. Soon, I am swallowing a paracetamol pill every four hours to fight back the pains and the fever. I dare not take an anti-histamine, for I am exquisitely sensitive to their sedative effect. A dose that does nothing to an infant, believe you me, will knock me off for at least 12 hours. Yes, you read that right, twelve hours!

Today, very great trepidation, I took 5 ml of a cold syrup that I normally prescribe to a 2-year old. The result: I am still woozy after 4 hours of it! As I write this blog, I am repeatedly correcting and re-correcting my words as the fingers just won't fly over the key-board the way they normally do!

Okay, now this is prediction: by tomorrow, the fever etc. will subside and phase 4 will kick in: the snot will turn yellow, I will start feeling better, and hopefully,over the next few days, I shall return to normal.

At least that is what I hope for.


Let me now say the following:

  1. A flu is caused by a virus.
  2. You cannot catch the flu by drinking cold drinks or eating curds or ice-cream.
  3. Hygiene is the ONLY way to prevent spread of the virus from one house-hold member to the others.
  4. Chicken soup is really helpful, as are any hot/spicy foods like usal, mysore dosa, chi. hot and sour soup, chi. chilly, and so on.

I think that's all for now.

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