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.


4 thoughts on “when a byte bites back: chronicness and viruses

  1. wendy April 25, 2012 / 11:10 pm

    this is such a hard one. I hear people with digestive troubles always blaming everything they eat on how they feel….and they blame their kids actions on what they ate…but they ate just what they were supposed to…ummm, couldn’t you just be getting a bug? and couldn’t your kids be brats?

    But that doesn’t help us. I often feel like I’m catching a cold one day, and the next day it’s gone. I have allergies, but this year has been harsh, since the winter was mild everything is blooming and taking off at weird times. I’m on 3 different allergy meds right now, and often have to take cough syrup at night (can I tell you how hard it is to find cough syrup without ingredients I can’t have?…It”s very difficult and taste…OMG like crap.)

    I too try to stay vigilent. Try to watch my body signals. Try to drink even more, and eat even better…but how do we know? this could be a sign of a side effect….do I call the doc? The pharmacist? Do I just wait a few days..well that could be dangerous, but often done.
    And the fever thing…My normal temp is about 97.4….if I reach 98.6, I’m running a fever, and finally I have a doctor who believes it. She looked at my chart…OMG, some actually do that! And saw when I came in on days I wasn’t sick my temp was much lower. But my pulse is high, and my blood pressure is all over the place. Sometimes borderline high, sometimes a little high, sometimes very low…and they always have a hard time getting it! Of course, when I go to the doctor I’m usually in pain.
    I went to the migraine specialist the other day, the nurse took me back to get my vitals and wouldn’t let Stuart come…I kind of freaked..can’t hear you know? And I had a headache about in the 7 range…and she showed my my BP 138 over 90, and frowned. I said, I’m not surprised, I’m stressed about not having my husband here to be my ears, and my head is killing me. She nodded right…and went on.

    so what do we do. We try to get to know our bodies the best we can, and when things are different we take note. And try to be proactive. Always have emergency supplies, a good first aid kit, and doctors numbers. But most importantly….Trust Yourself! If you feel like you are getting sick, treat it, get it checked out….and please check out the side effects. I had one drug almost cause me permanent muscle and nerve damage, because I didn’t recognize it as a side effect, I thought I’d just pulled a muscle. Ambilify…other wise made me feel great, but that little side effect…not so little.

    Good luck with the byte problems, I’m the same way. We had to wipe my computer clean not long ago…that was a bitch. Now I have a new one…with great protections..supposedly. We’ll see. Stuart says I go to to many unsecure sites. Well, yeah, I research a lot, and go to a lot of blogs…ummm what should I do?

    Sorry I’m rambling.
    good luck

    (as you know I’m going to take a break for a little while, but if you ever want to talk…please feel free to email me. i will be checking that.)


  2. Autoimmune Maven April 22, 2012 / 2:08 pm

    Excellant observations! I hadn’t thought about how we know what’s what….. However, this crap I’ve had since mid-March (which has now rendered me voiceless TWICE) is quite flipping uncommon……. enjoyed your post chick!


    • phylor April 22, 2012 / 3:28 pm

      Wow — speechless twice since mid-March — that is a real drag — and I hope it becomes uncommon for you!
      I’ve become “speechless” only on the rare ocassion. Instead, I end up sounding like a blues singer who’s been performing in smoky bars and drinking a lot of whiskey!
      Hope you get rid of your bug and feel better soon!


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