It’s Cold and Flu Season and as we all know this season has been one of the worst flu seasons. 14,676 people have been hospitalized since the season began in October. This is the highest number of people ever recorded for hospitalization due to the flu. Living in NYC, I’m no stranger to germs and walk with my hand sanitizer like one walks with their keys. Yesterday while I was on the train, this teenager ran on the train coughing with his mouth uncovered. I could see the spit flying out his mouth in my direction. It was disgusting and I wanted to curse this boy out. In fact I have seen people get cursed out for coughing and not covering their mouths and I think they deserve it. It’s nasty. Anyway I was reminded of the time when a man coughed water in my face on the train. Yes. Water from his mouth onto my face.
2016.End of summer. I had gone to a yoga festival in Prospect Park and it was a great day, relaxing with lots of good food and exercise. I got on the train to head home and sat down. Across from me was a man in a security guard uniform with a badge saying he worked security at Methodist Hospital. At the next stop a lady got on and sat down next to me. I closed my eyes just to rest and think about the great day I had and all I hear is a cough and feel splashes of water all over my face. I open my eyes in shock and the security guard is coughing/choking and saying he’s sorry to me and the lady next to me. He sprayed us with water, from his mouth, which landed on my face. And he works at a hospital. I was stunned. The lady next to me asked me what happened. But my eyes were closed so I have no idea. All I could do was sit there and pray that I didn’t catch some rare form of Ebola or MRSA or some flesh eating bacteria (my mom is a nurse and I love Grey’s anatomy). Luckily the shocked lady next to me gave me a wet wipe. As I wiped off the water from my face and arms, I was still in shock and trying to understand how someone could cough water across the seats of a train car. I think the man choked on his water and it must have been very violent so he coughed and choked at the same time. It was very bizarre and he got off the train before me acting like everything was all gravy. Bruh. I went home and drank some tea and prayed. There wasn’t anything else I could do.
But I share this story as a reminder for us to be mindful of how we interact with each other and our surroundings. And while I don’t think this man coughed water on my face on purpose, it still is a great example of how germs can be spread. In order to keep us all feeling healthy and in optimal health, I wanted to share some tips I’ve read and used to try and stay healthy during cold and flu season:
- Wash your hands: We’ve all heard this mentioned time and time again, but yet we still see people go to the bathroom and walk out and not wash their hands. That’s nasty. And you’re nasty if you do that. If that’s mean then so be it, but what’s worse is you exposing us all to your nasty germs by not washing your hands. Wash. Your. Hands. With. Soap. Washing with water is not doing anything. Use the soap and wash.
- Use hand sanitizer in addition to hand washing. I get it sometimes you’re out and you can’t wash your hands but you can sanitize. And then when you get to a bathroom you wash your hands. And please don’t tell me about how the sanitizers kill our natural bacteria. Until you’ve seen someone pee on the train platform and then come on the train and hold the pole you’ll never understand why sanitizer is life-saving.
- Eat more vitamin C and take your vitamins: Most of us don’t get enough daily vitamins in our diet. So take multivitamins daily. Eat citrus fruits such as oranges to get natural vitamin c which aids in boosting your immune system and helps to repair body tissue.
- Use a humidifier: For those of us living in cold climates, a humidifier helps our dry skin and our nasal passages, but they can also help fight off cold viruses. The viruses thrive in cold conditions by adding moisture back into the air you are helping to create an environment inhospitable to cold and flu viruses.
- Zinc and Ginger Tea: If you feel like you’re coming down with something, take zinc within 24 hours. This will help to boost your immune system. Also make ginger tea. Ginger has been used for years in traditional medicine because of its amazing health benefits. I have personally been using it to help me fight any viruses when I begin to feel under the weather and it has worked like a charm. Cut the actual root into smaller pieces, put it in a pot with some water, and let it steep on low for a minimum of 30 minutes. Pour it in a cup, add honey and lemon and you’ll be feeling better in no time. If you are fighting something more serious like the flu you will need to seek medical attention. Personally, I’ve only used it for colds.
- Cough into your sleeve: This is something that drives me crazy and every time I see someone cough and not cover their mouth I want to shank them. But obviously I do not. But just like washing your hands if you are coughing and sneezing without covering your mouth, you are nasty. That is nasty. We all know that the germs travel for miles when you don’t cover. So just be a decent human being and cover your mouth.
I pray that everyone stays healthy and safe during this cold season. My prayers are also with all of those families who have lost a loved one due to the flu. If you are feeling really sick and exhibiting signs of the flu such as a high fever that will not break, headache, body aches, cough, loss of appetite etc. Seek medical attention immediately and listen to the advice you are given. Let’s all take care of ourselves and each other this season.