Thought I’d share a few interesting things I’ve been learning lately.
- The cold and flu viruses die at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- These viruses survive best and are transmitted fastest in low humidity and cool or cold temperatures.
- A cough or sneeze can spread germs up to 8 feet.
- People with a cold are contagious for the first 3 days and up to 10 days after the start of cold symptoms – for most cold viruses. There are exceptions. People with the flu are contagious for even longer.
- Most colds go away 7 – 10 days after the start of symptoms, but the symptoms may last longer.
- There are over 200 different viruses that cause colds. That’s why the same person can catch a different cold frequently.
- Once sick, you can do things to relieve symptoms, you can do things to help rebuild your immune system, but the cold still needs to run its course.
- Cold and flu germs can live on some surfaces up to 48 hours.
Why have I done all this research you ask? Because our family has, once again, been stricken with yet another version of the wonderful cold. This is round 5 for us this winter. That’s the most we’ve ever been sick. I’m tired. Really tired. Adding joy to the wonderful cold, is the very unpleasant and lingering morning (well, mostly evening these days) sickness that I’m still battling. Every time I cough, by stomach does flip flops. I won’t tell you any more than that. It isn’t very pretty and doesn’t need to be blogged about, but it’s the worst weight-loss plan I’ve ever been on. We missed church (again) on Sunday. We’re missing our homeschool co-op day (again) tomorrow. We’re staying in and containing our germs. You’re welcome.
So here’s my advice for everyone else. If you or your child are coughing, stay home. If you or your child are sneezing, stay home. If you or your child has a fever, stay home. (And by the way, reducing the fever with medication does NOT mean “fever-free”. The fever needs to be gone on its own for 24 hours.) A low grade fever does not need to be medicated. It is your body’s nature way of killing germs.
Why is it so important that you stay home? Because your germs spread. A cough or sneeze (see above) spreads germs up to 8 feet. The germs can live (see above) for up to 48 hours. So think about it. If you go anywhere when you’re sick, you just gave anyone who, for the next 2 days, touches anything within 8 feet of where you or your child coughed your wonderful cold. This may not mean much to you. But to a family of 7, it can mean a very long time of feeling very unwell. To my 9 year old, it means several doses on the nebulizer, and frequently a trip to the emergency room because she’s struggling to breathe. To a 91-year-old great, great grandfather, it can mean hospitalization (my grandpa’s in the hospital because someone didn’t stay home). To a person, like my granddaughter, who has a suppressed immune system, it can mean hospitalization, or rejection of her heart, or worse.
So really, is that trip out of the house worth it? Do you really need milk that badly? Can a neighbor or a friend pick it up for you? Do you really need to send your children to school or church or to co-op? It may not seem like it, but to some people a cold really is a life or death battle.