How Are You Weathering Through This Flu Season?

I’m sure you have seen all the reports on the current flu epidemic we are currently facing in 2018. As a person like myself who is on an immunosuppressant biologic for my psoriasis, it’s terrifying to know the flu virus is killing people more so now than in past years.

Vulnerability to the cold and flu

Psoriasis is due to an overreactive immune system. Biologics work to suppress the area of the immune system causing the condition.  Although the drugs treat your disease the downside to these options are you become more susceptible to diseases such as the common cold or flu. I have mixed feelings on the flu shot, and in my 30 years of life, I have never had one.

If you are on a biologic you are part of the group which is especially vulnerable to the flu virus next to children under 5 and elderly people 65 and older. I’ve been on a biologic for the last 3 years and every fall and winter I become sick. I honestly never know if what I’m feeling is the common cold or the flu but thus far I’ve weathered through my stuffy nose, itchy throat storms.

Trying to avoid germ exposure

Currently, I’m a student at Georgia State University. Attending a campus increases my risk of sickness because I’m exposed to more people. Every time someone coughs or sneezes in my vicinity, in my mind I can see a huge cloud of icky green germs dancing in the air looking to turn someone’s throat and nose into an inflamed dance floor.

In 2016, I was sitting on a tight congested shuttle bus compacted with other students headed downtown to campus. There are times the shuttle buses are so packed you are literally touching shoulders with the person next to you. This particular day I was enjoying the ride reflecting on my first few days back in school after a 6-year break. And then it happens… This girl next to me sneezes. My day suddenly went from clear sunny skies to a cast of green clouds. Before she could get the sneeze out her nose good, I knew my body was next to be invaded by her fast flying germs. No lie, the next day I started feeling sick, the day after I had a full blown cold (or flu). I can’t prove it, but I’m like 90% sure she was the culprit to my sickness. Unbeknownst to her, 2 years later, every time I see this chick on campus I give her the side eye.

This year I’m trying my best to avoid getting sick. The current flu epidemic frightens me. Check out the following precautions I’m taking to stay flu-free. Some ideas are common practices for many, but for some, they may be new.

Tips to avoid getting sick

  1. I wear an antiviral face mask while on campus. At first I felt so awkward being out in public with a face mask. It draws attention for sure. But I’m reassured I’ve made a healthy decision every time someone around me sneezes. The goal of the barrier decreases exposure to flu germs by providing a barrier with a specific pH balance flu germs can’t survive in. It won’t stop the germs completely but it will definitely minimize your chances of becoming sick. UPDATE: So after a recent visit to the doctor I discovered my white blood cell count (responsible for fighting off disease) is normal thus I don’t have to worry about wearing a mask. However, my doctor did suggest I stay within 6 ft of sick people who are coughing and sneezing. Riding the shuttle bus can make this distant virtually impossible, so I started paying for parking on campus opposed to riding the free shuttle bus.
  2. I don’t touch my face and I am conscious of sweat. Another way for germs to claim piracy over your body is to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with germy uncleaned hands. I am conscious about not touching my face without washing them with hot water. Also as stated before the mask doesn’t protect you 100 percent. Your eyes are still a passageway for germs to creep in. If someone sneezes around you, the germs land on your forehead,  and moving sweat or oil in the area could transfer the germs from your forehead into your eye. I keep napkins with me just in case I need to wipe some sweat or oil away.
  3. I carry bleach wipes. I hate the fact that some of us as children have been taught to sneeze or cough in our hands, all this does is transfer germs to items such as doorknobs or computer keyboards. I carry bleach wipes with me and I wipe down anything of communal use while on campus. According to one study the flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for up to 48 hours.1
  4. If I feel sick I take meds or pump up the vitamin C. Although I haven’t encountered full-blown sickness there are times I feel as though I have an itch in my throat. When this occurs I start to increase my vitamin C intake and will even take meds if necessary.
  5. I carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Most people do this, but I apply more frequently during flu season.
  6. I politely ask my peers (who I’ll be interacting with or close to in a classroom setting) if they are sick. If they answer yes, I politely move my seat and tell them why… most understand.

What are you doing to tend to your health during this rampant flu season?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The PlaquePsoriasis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
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