Ah, the flu

So, I was going to make a ranty blog post about people wandering around with the flu, infecting the innocent populace. Except technically, I was walking around doing exactly that on Monday when I was likely contagious but I went to work because I felt fine. Or on Wednesday when I was stubbornly trying to get some things done as I was in my slow decline to full on flu. So I won’t be super ranty. I also don’t have the energy to be super ranty. But I will discuss it.

Frankly, because I contracted this flu (as did my partner)[despite me getting the flu shot, I might add], we were not able to help our family yesterday when our new nephew made his entry into the world. Because flu + newborn doesn’t mix. Especially when it has smacked us immunocompetent adults down for 3+ days, and has made me worried about it moving into my lungs.

And that really disappointed me. It’s such an honour to be the one on call, to come and take care of the toddler we love for as long as needed, until childbirth was over and the parents were able to bring their family back together. It also means we won’t meet our new nephew until we are through with the virus.

I know there are people out there who will tough it through, but here’s the thing – in a public health context, toughing it out and stubbornly going on with your errands does spread disease and impacts a lot of peoples’ lives. Toughing it out is stupid. I know, there are lots of reasons why someone can’t take time off, but frankly, it just means that you’re miserable and unproductive in your job, exposing your co-workers, clients and co-commuters to a disease that can have serious consequences (and that they don’t want, trust me), and actively working against your body being able to fight off the disease by stressing it. It’s called presenteeism, and I’m not sure an employer would rather have all his staff out sick because you didn’t take some sick leave.

I don’t know where we contracted this from. It may have been simply putting a hand down on a counter where someone had just coughed into their hand and then put it down. And we transferred that virus from the counter to possibly our eye, since we both wear contacts (another mucus membrane that can provide viruses access to your body). Cue several sick days of complete exhaustion and coughing, chills and sweats.

But we’re both using our sick leave, and we’re trying to protect our friends, family, co-workers and complete strangers from the influenza virus. The flu shot is not guaranteed to work, and apparently this year, the flu has shifted from the strain that was used to make the shot, making it not super effective. But it’s something at least. Time for some more tea…