when a byte bites back: chronicness and viruses

Cough and the Common Cold

Cough and the Common Cold (Photo credit: RobertFrancis)

The other day a suspicious email in junk folder was accidentally opened. Hoping a quick reaction time, anti-virus software, and computer scans averted my laptop from coming down with some nasty infection. Of course, now every “hiccup,” slow to load page, makes me nervous, and wondering if there is still something lurking among the bits and bytes.

swimming in dangerous waters

I react much the same way to the potential/perceived arrival of unwanted health guests. Is this a shifting or morphing of current conditions, just a brief encounter with a bug, or opening the portal to a longer affair?

Seasonal allergies, for example, have morphed from sneezing and itchy eyes into a persistent sore throat; just like the one that precedes colds, and can be a side effect of two current medications.

Feeling extra foggy-groggy, lethargic, headachy, and nauseous can subside after a few days or might indicate stocking up on kleenex, saline nasal spray, hot beverages, Dramamine (gravol) and comfort food would be a wise decision.

When is feeling exceptionally fatigued a reaction to medication, a shift in the chronic state, or an incoming infection? With no working internal thermostat, sensations of feeling hot or cold, skin feeling sweaty or clammy are ordinary, so when to get out the thermometer? Feeling more achy could symbolize a “flare,” over-exertion, or the flu. Depending on your “normal” body temperature, a reading of 98.6 could indicate a mild fever. Nausea and whooziness, feeling weak and shaky can mean the onset of the flu, or manifestations of chronic health conditions.

Not as hyper-vigilant as the above sounds; the blending chronic condition symptoms, potential uninvited guests and side effects come “naturally” now. I even have seasonally adjusted colds: the springtime one that open morphs into a sinus infection; in summer comes with a nighttime, keep-me-awake cough; an especially achy fall version; and a winter holiday cold where I bring kleenex along with the presents.

And, by the way, what is an “uncommon cold”?

Welcome any suggestions, and your experience with chronic illness and bugs, viruses, and nasty germs.