That’s sick

Sure, it’s fun to write vulgar, firebomb editorials castigating some government official or agency or sometimes an entire jurisdiction (like the city of Reno, which appears unable ever to consider its citizens when it’s time to work on the roads). But this isn’t one of those times. This is one of those times when we want to offer advice that we hope will help the weaker among us—those suffering from a cold or flu.

The information in this editorial is basically cribbed from the Food & Drug Administration,, but—what the hell—we’ll try to make the bureaucratese easier to understand. First, you need to know if you have a cold or the flu. A stuffy nose, sore throat and sneezing are usually signs of a cold. Tiredness, fever, headache, and major aches and pains are usually signs of the flu. A bad cough generally points to the flu.

Many people want to know when to call the doctor. They must have better health insurance than we do. The government says to call when your symptoms get worse or last a long time or after feeling a little better, you show signs of a more serious problem. Some of these signs are a sick-to-your-stomach feeling, vomiting, high fever, shaking, chills, chest pain or coughing with thick, yellow-green mucus. Right. Must be on taxpayer-funded health insurance. We can’t afford the co-pay.

How do you avoid catching or passing along a cold? Wash your hands often; you can pick up cold germs when shaking someone’s hand or touching doorknobs or handrails. Keep some of that hand sanitizer around. Avoid people with colds. Sneeze or cough into a tissue and then throw the tissue away. Clean surfaces you touch with a germ-killing disinfectant. Don’t touch your nose, eyes or mouth.

A flu shot can lower your chance of getting the disease. The best time to get the shot is from the middle of October to the middle of November because most people get the flu in the winter. However, if you were smart and asked your doctor for a shot last week, but he said that the shot was only available to people in high-risk groups … well, suffer bitch.

Now, if you are one of the lucky ones in high-risk groups, go get a shot. These people include people 65 or older; nursing home patients; people more than 6 months old with health problems, such as asthma, or with long-term diseases, such as HIV or heart disease; children or teenagers who must often take aspirin; people who are often around older people and those with health problems (not including the flu).

And finally, when you catch either of these diseases, it’s possible to help yourself feel better while you are sick: Drink plenty of fluids. Get plenty of rest. Use a humidifier. Take over-the-counter cough and cold medicine (if they’ll sell them to you without demanding your baptismal certificate). It may help. That Mucinex seems to keep the Flemstone’s Chewable Lung Cookies to an appetizing level.

But really, all that’s going to help is time. Drink a lot of water to keep the nose running.