As runners, we have a whole lot of positives going on in our bodies’ defense systems that a LOT of other people simply don’t have. Personally, I believe that flushing out your lungs with a nice run, is really, really beneficial for your body/health.
This year’s flu bug is especially nasty. It used to be, “Well, you went shopping and touched the filthy shopping cart handle” or “You pumped gas,” or “You went to the gym” and didn’t use a wipe on hands afterwards . . . or even, “You worked in the church nursery? Bingo, you got the flu!”
This year, the word is the flu bug is “airborne.” Meaning what? Stink man, if someone SEEMS to be sick at work or where you volunteer and you’re in the position to send someone home, do it! Apparently flu can be passed by simply BREATHING it in (coughing/sneezing not required). If you’re NOT in the position to send someone home, educate someone who can (this article might do the trick: https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/01/18/new-study-shows-flu-may-be-spread-just-by-breathing/)
Okay, but here’s the catch. Too often runners take the approach when the early symptoms of flu hit (perhaps a slight fever or just not feeling right) that we can run it out. And maybe because our bodies are “stronger,” it simply takes a bit longer for the bug to take hold, but I want to urge you NOT to take the flu lightly. First off, this year it’s been a noted killer. Secondly, if you take the “tough guy/strong woman” approach and head to work, go to church, or even go running with your buddies . . . uh, seriously? You want to do THAT to your co-workers, friends, and running partners??? Listen, I don’t know of a single person/running partner/co-worker in the world who says, “Wow, please, give me the flu too . . . it’s so enjoyable.”
But note something I mentioned early. The flu being a noted killer. You may be healthy enough to fight through the misery (though if your flu turns into pneumonia, all bets are off). But are your kids, your parents, your co-workers, your co-workers’ parents and children . . . ? If you start coming down with something, isolate yourself, don’t sleep in the same room with anyone, and if people must see you, perhaps a medical mask is in order for them? Silly? Overreaction? Maybe . . . that is, until it happens to you.
So runners, as it appears the flu bug is now full blown in every state of the country, be prepared. If you get it, be super considerate of others and focus on getting well by getting the rest you need, stay as hydrated as you can (though if you get the stomach variety, that’s not easy . . . sports drink is advisable), and sleep as much as you can! DO NOT rush back to heavy training, either. Your body has been decimated . . . though chances are, even a walk could waste you. Key here is, ease back into training and it may mean revising your plans . . . you don’t want to relapse or come down with something else.
IF it’s NOT you who gets ill, take REAL precautions around those who are demonstrating illness or those in your household who happen to get sick. I know a lot of people are thinking about spring marathons, and nothing will blow a hole in your plans faster than missing two (or many more) weeks of training because you took a casual approach to being around family members who have the flu (sleeping on the couch may not be overly comfortable, but it sure beats sleeping in the bathroom, draped over the toilet — something we normally would never put our faces near . . . am I right? : )
By the way, in a bad year for the flu, I’ve read that up to 56,000 Americans die from the flu . . . this is currently being considered a REALLY bad year. Take it seriously (http://time.com/5107964/flu-2018-epidemic/).
Anyway, there’s almost no 100 percent way NOT to get the flu, so be on your guard — if you get it, do the right thing by others; if you don’t, thank God, pray for those who do, and be super cautious around them.
So be smart and have an awesome run today!
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