Body talk

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I think I may be suffering through the longest bout of flu I’ve ever had. It’s been relentless, lasting more than 10 days with sinus infections, ear infections, night sweats, fever, stuffy nose, phlegmy cough. I mean, I feel like warmed over death. And it’s better today.

I’ve got this theory about colds and flus that I’ve written about in the past, but I’ve modified with the onset of this particular strain. I thought it was a kooky theory wholly of my invention, but then I discovered some credentialled researchers backed me up. Anyway, to go way back, people didn’t really treat cold and flu symptoms before the ‘70s. I remember those Contact commerials about “24-hour flus.” When did you ever see a 24-hour flu? Anyway, one time after I had a flu with a horrible fever, I realized that after the fever “broke,” I was basically better.

Somehow, I concluded that the fever wasn’t actually a symptom, but the cure. Since then, I’ve done everything I can to enhance my body temperature when I’m sick—wearing a knit cap in bed, sitting in the sauna for long periods of time, not taking any medicine to bring down my temperature, wearing layers. I believe that the flu virus can only live in a limited temperature range, and that’s why we get fevers.

This time, I did all that, but I never developed a fever until Saturday, when I went out walking with a light coat and no hat. Afterward, the fever came on like a wave—by evening I was sweating and suffering chills. By Sunday morning, the fever broke, and I could tell I was better.

So, here’s my theory modification: By increasing my body’s temperature artificially for the week before, I kept the flu at bay, but I never really allowed an immune response to the virus. That suggests to me, if I want to get over the flu as quickly as possible, the best treatment is no treatment at all. (OK, except for fluids. Pour down the fluids.)