Flu Season - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 33 Old 02-18-2020, 01:02 AM
Green Broke
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Growing up I never had a flu vaccine. It's just not something my parents ever did. When I started working in health care, then it was required. I've gotten the flu shot since then, except this year. I usually go with my mom but she went without me this year so I haven't gotten around to it.

I really don't remember a time I've ever gotten the flu. Maybe one?

I bet being a hermit really helps. That's my strategy against COVID-19. lol. Though I was in both the Seattle and Vancouver airports recently, both locations that have seen COVID-19...
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post #12 of 33 Old 02-18-2020, 01:17 AM
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I'm constantly exposed to sick people at work, since most of them either can't or won't lay off when they're sick so they come to work coughing and sneezing and generally blowing their juices all over the locomotive cab. I go to work every day armed with a can of Lysol. I used to use the wipes but after reading the labels and all the warnings I decided that wasn't something I wanted on my hands for 12 plus hours, and we don't have running water on the train to wash hands with. As soon as I climb aboard I whip out the Lysol and spray EVERYTHING. The desk, the window, the seat's arm rests, the handle of the fridge, everything. I don't touch anything until it dries. I also keep a pack of masks inside my grip (railroader's travel bag) and if my engineer coughs or otherwise indicates that he's sick, I put one on. If I think he's sick I handle any paperwork he gives me with my gloves on. I will wear masks on occasion when I'm out and about grocery shopping or whatever, but most of the time my sickness paranoia is contained to work since 99% of the time that's where any illness is coming from.

Why all the paranoia? I caught a bacterial form of pneumonia from my foreman the first year out here. Over the next 6 months I was hospitalized 5 times. To this day I still haven't kicked it completely - if I get so much as the sniffles, it rapidly deteriorates into a hacking cough that is so violent I become mildly incontinent and lasts for several weeks. Any sort of respiratory infection or illness and I'm done. I did two rounds last fall - sick on September 14th and coughed until October 10th, then caught another one October 17th and coughed until the day before Thanksgiving, both times tearing my throat from the intense coughing (and yes, I keep a record - I lay off frequently for these episodes and I have to record everything to keep from losing my job). I am getting better about watching myself around sick people, and I've found that Vitamin C drops taken at 4 times the recommended dosage the moment I think I've been exposed helps. I avoid children, period. I've never been a kid person anyway and the vast majority of them are a veritable cornucopia of viruses.

It goes without saying that I wash my hands frequently, though I tend not to use hand sanitizer. There have been several studies that show hand washing is superior to hand sanitizer and I've never liked the smell (even the fun scented ones from Bath and Body Works) nor the way my hands feel afterward. Other than respiratory illnesses though, I don't get sick ever. Can't remember the last time I had a stomach flu or anything like that. And prior to last fall I'd kept myself healthy for over two years, so the attacks are getting fewer. They're every bit as potent as the first time, though. : /

-- Kai
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post #13 of 33 Old 02-18-2020, 01:23 AM
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Some people with masks have low immune systems (cancer, etc.) and are protecting themselves. Others are conscientious and think they might spread germs. People who wear masks have to realize that they can just as easily get exposed to things by having a droplet sneezed into their eye or rubbing their eyes with a dirty hand. Just covering the nose and mouth doesn't prevent mucous membrane exposure. If the mask makes you touch your face more, it might even make you more likely to get exposed.

My job requires flu shots which was fine for several years until I developed an allergy to them that worsened with each shot. I wear a mask at work just in case I was brewing something contagious before I felt symptoms myself.

Something I think people should understand is that getting a flu shot has a fairly low effectiveness rate, worse some years than others, so all the usual precautions to prevent exposure should still be followed. For example, several years ago five of my co-workers tested positive for flu after having their flu shot. Something else to consider is that what we consider "lesser" viral illnesses such as the common cold can also become fatal to people who are fragile or susceptible, so we should be as vigilant about not spreading those. Colds can also develop into life-threatening pneumonia, sepsis, etc.

Sometimes we get very sick people with respiratory problems in the hospital and they describe symptoms that make us test them for flu, only to find out they only have a rhinovirus (common cold). Smokers, people with cancer or unhealthy lung tissue, are especially susceptible.
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post #14 of 33 Old 02-18-2020, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Aprilswissmiss View Post
I don't get the flu vaccine. Don't get me wrong, I definitely value its use, and I have no political inclination not to get it. I just tend to get caught up in things that tend to be more relevant and stressful in the moment. Oops

I'm certainly not crazy about cleanliness either. I often eat with the same unwashed hands I just groomed my horse with. I hate hand sanitizer, I really do. I don't pay any more attention to hygiene while using public bathrooms than I would in my own home. I don't run away screaming from every person who sneezes. I don't spray/wipe down anything ever unless I need to at my job because I'm expected to.

Literally, the most effort I've ever put into not getting sick is "Well, that other student in class who touched my stuff is visibly sick, so maybe I shouldn't put my hands near my face for a while."

That being said, I rarely get sick *furiously knocking on wood*. The only time I got sick in the past four years was when I had some strange pounding headache for a couple days, but it didn't stop me from riding and working out. I don't even know if I was sick or if something else was off. When I do get sick, and it's been a very long time since I have, it's often a "Huh, I'm sort of sniffly, maybe I'm sick" and then the next day it's gone. I don't remember the last time I got sick with something more than that. I also don't remember the last time I vomited, for any reason.

Last semester my boyfriend was sick for a couple months straight. He went to the doctor and got tested, turns out it's the second time in his life he's gotten mono. I share a house, a bed, a bathroom, sometimes a car with him... Also wasn't afraid to kiss him then either. I never got sick.

Don't know what it is, honestly.
Originally Posted by marymane View Post
The super secret to never getting sick is to just be a hermit and never interact with other human beings in the flesh.

But really, I always plan to get a yearly vaccine and then end up forgetting or procrastinating straight through flu season.
Originally Posted by trailhorserider View Post
I don't think anything of grooming a horse, even picking feet and then eating a snack or something later in the ride with dirty hands. I've also been known to kiss all my animals.....the horse, the cats, the chickens. It's not the dirt that's dirty. It's the virus's sick people are leaving on all the surfaces.

They always warn people about washing their hands after handling live chickens, but you know what, I've been handling and kissing baby chicks since I was 5 years old and never got sick from them that I ever noticed.

I just really would rather not catch the flu from a sneezing kid at Walmart.
Originally Posted by trailhorserider View Post
Regarding the corona virus, I hope you are right. I know one thing, we are lucky the mortality rate is as low as it is. It could be a lot worse. Hopefully it won't mutate into something worse. Can you imagine something that spreads like that does with a high mortality rate?

I'm going to bet that those of you who don't vaccinate are probably not yet 40. I didn't vaccinate then either. But now I'm in my mid-60s, it's a whole 'nuther kettle of fish. Add to that my husband is a provider at an urgent care and is still seeing 30+ people per day who are testing positive for flu, so get regular exposure through him.

I don't know where any of y'all live but honest to God people down here! Running around with streaming eyes/noses, coughing their fool heads off, sweating when it's 20 degrees out because they have a fever, and going out to eat with their sick kids who are slinging snot everywhere.........BRRRRRRRRRR! And hygiene is NOT up to par in most restaurants, high or low end doesn't matter. So out comes my sanitizer. I was in Costco the other day and it seemed like this woman with a sick 2 year old was following us all over the store. She didn't put him in a cart so he could spew his germs all over her, no she let him walk all over the store coughing and slinging snot and touching everything. UGH!

Like most horse people, I eat after/during grooming my horses without washing. But most of what they might share isn't zoonotic so not something I would worry about. I also kiss my dogs, cat, horses, chickens and Knock on wood, have yet to have any issues because of it.

I think the Corona Virus became such a huge deal because of where it started out. China has a HUGE population and they live and interact much closer than most of us here in the US/Canada do. It's been fairly regularly found (not the new Novel strain) in horses, most often in winter when horses tend to be shut in more. The new strain is rough, and very potent, but I think it will have a hard time really establishing itself here in the US, unless it's in a big city. Good personal biosecurity should help contain it.

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post #15 of 33 Old 02-18-2020, 07:34 AM
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I'm a lot like @Aprilswissmiss - haven't ever gotten the flu shot and not too diligent on the cleaning... though I was my hands often. I'm older than 50....

I really thought I would get sick during the last few weeks, traveling on an airplane exhausted, coming in contact with different people but knock on wood nothing. I do think kids carry the bulk of germs as they are in school with other kids that might not be so clean, kinda why I'm not a fan of fast food restaurants as they tend to have kids...

I don't get sick often, the last time I got sick it was a stomach virus that lasted 12 hours, and then was gone, that was a few years ago. Could have been food poisoning but a friend that I had come in contact with got the same thing.

I hope you are feeling better!!
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post #16 of 33 Old 02-18-2020, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by trailhorserider View Post
I do much of the same stuff, although not quite as fanatical as you, like I don't sanitize my purse or the truck door handles or wear a mask.........but yeah, shopping cart handles, fast food tables, bathroom doors, all the same! I am always rifling through my purse for the hand sanitizer. Oh, and gas pumps.......think of all the hands that have been on there.......I always sanitize afterwards. And I also get a flu shot. Knock on wood, I haven't had the flu in quite a while, some years anyway. I must admit though, I am a needle-phobic and probably wouldn't get the flu shot except my Mom has a lot of health problems and has had pneumonia a couple of times, so I get the shot because I would never forgive myself if I gave her the flu. Otherwise I would probably take my chances because I hate shots.

About the masks......I see a lot of people wearing them in the stores and I've always wanted to ask but have been afraid to......are they afraid of catching something or afraid of spreading something? I am a little leery of masked people for that reason. I figure they could have TB or something! There was actually a friendly older gentleman at Walmart the other day, wearing a mask. Because we were talking anyway, I almost asked him why he was wearing a mask but then I chickened out.

Anyone else worried about the corona-virus? I'm not worried about it too much at the moment only because I try not to worry about things I have no control over. But I figure it's only a matter of time until it is everywhere and we all will have been exposed to it. I know it's not supposed to be as bad as the flu.........but if you are one of the unlucky ones that gets severely sick, that is no comfort. And like I said, I worry about my Mom especially.

I feel like I'm in the same boat as you, I live with my parents and my mother has quite the list of pulmonary issues and just a common cold could easily knock her right into the ICU.

I think that is the main reason why I'm usually so diligent in keeping myself sanitized when I'm out in the public and getting my shots but alas, I dropped the ball on that one.

As for the corona-virus, I live in the vicinity of a university where there are many students who come from China (specifically central China, where Wuhan in one of the larger cities). We've had a few scares early on and many were tested but they all luckily came back negative.
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post #17 of 33 Old 02-18-2020, 11:02 AM
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I've been sick with strep throat an really bad head cold this year. I haven't done a flu shot in several years. Last time I did the flu shot that year, I got really sick with the flu.

I spent 4 days throwing up couldn't hold anything down. I was so sick I thought I was going to die. Lost 10lbs in four days. Never have been that sick since that goodness.

That was also the year the school closed down, for 2 days to disinfect entire school. Over half the elementary was out sick. They had a total of 89 students elementary an high school,out sick, an 9 teachers.

We had a whole lot of throwing up going on in our house. 2 of 4 kids ended up in ER do to dehydration.
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post #18 of 33 Old 02-18-2020, 11:13 AM
Green Broke
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So far so good on the flu this year. We never got vaccinated growing up; it just wasn't something people did in our area. When I started working in healthcare it was required, and I've gotten it most years since. This year I did not-- I had a nagging respiratory virus this fall and they wouldn't vaccinate me because 'I was already sick' even though I felt fine-- but I had a runny nose and cough. Then when I tried to get the flu vaccine before the holidays, everywhere has run out and won't be getting more. Guess I'll take my chances this year. Area schools are reporting 50% absentee rate, so I suspect they will close for a week or so coming up. It's funny-- when they schedule a spring break that tends to shut down the spread of the late winter flu strain, but then people complain that school gets out too late in the spring, so the next year they won't schedule a spring break, then the flu and absences drag on into May, or they give up and close the school for a few days anyway and have to make it up. Just give everyone a week off in late February or early March and call it good. We can all use a break about then anyway. I work in a library (where everyone who is sick comes to get movies and books or dump their sick, feverish kids who were sent home from school when mom can't take off work to stay with them) and my husband teaches middle school, so we're both contaminated and surrounded by coughing little vectors of illness most of the year. You'd think I'd be immune by now. Hubby rarely gets sick, and when he does, he's over it in two days. I get it and it hangs on three weeks.

I do think the coronavirus is going to be a bigger deal than most think. Much of the world's economy and goods/supplies is tied to China, and right now, NOTHING is going out. Huge swathes of China are shut down indefinitely. Medical reports from people on the ground show a much different picture than the news/media is sharing. The Chinese response of quarantining tens of millions, rushing to build hospitals in days, etc. is very telling that this is no ordinary virus. It's more virulent and more serious than many think, and conventional pneumonia treatments don't help. The incubation period is long-- first they thought 10 days, then 14, now evidence is showing as long as 30 days, and you're capable of spreading it for much of that before you know you have it, the virus lives on surfaces at least a week, and the illness presents like the common cold at first, so people still go to work, school, etc. The medical establishment is bracing, especially as so much of our medical equipment and supplies are made in China, and they are hoarding it and not exporting, so supplies are already running low. I have some relatives who work in emergency medicine in parts of the country with high rates of international travel, and they are very worried. There is some evidence it may be a biologically-modified virus that 'escaped' containment, and that would account for the Chinese response. I don't know. It worries me. There's not much anyone can do about it, unfortunately. I'm usually not much of an alarmist, but this could be the 'perfect storm' and it wouldn't be a bad idea to stock up on some shelf-stable foods (rice, canned soups and fruits, dried beans, frozen meats) in case it becomes rampant in the US and quarantines are enforced. It happened in 1918 due to the Spanish Flu, and it can certainly happen again. Then, most people had stores of food in their homes. These days, most people don't, and grocery stores carry about 3 days worth of food. Better to be prepared and not need it, than to need it and be caught short.
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Last edited by SilverMaple; 02-18-2020 at 11:20 AM.
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post #19 of 33 Old 02-18-2020, 12:55 PM
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Want an immunity boost? Just go on the underground (subway)! ^<^ I live on the Piccadilly line that connects directly to heathrow so corona worries are real. I think its honestly being massively downplayed. Its at the point they dont even have enough resources to test for certain strains directly - they gotta do it via process of elimination which takes forever. Man... mother nature is so good at mutating and evolving as well eh?

There is really no reason not to get the flu vaccine even if only to protect others. Most people mix the flu with a cold so I never know/trust when people say they've had the flu. Anyone whose has actually ever had the flu would be chasing the vaccine haha. Got any vulnerable/elderly relatives etc? I would feel so bad if my mother (who also has resp issues) got the flu from me. She can't get vaccinated as her immune system is compromised.

Also remember that santiser doesn't kill off "poop germs" (c.diff eg) or even MRSA or ecoli and plenty others... The protective coating too strong so you gotta physically wash those particles off. Got poop on your hand and have to choose between sanitiser and a good rinse in plain water? The latter. Obviously in addition to soap and sanitister is preferable after but the alcohol gel is largely ineffective at breaking down the protective coatings on the nasties. Anything that IS good at breaking it down would also eat your flesh so no good for regular users. Unfortunately medical staff dont take this seriously in wards and think a pump of sanitiser does the job and BOOM full blown norovirus on the wards -.- Visitors aren't educated enough either.

Since using more sanitiser (inc my phone) and getting over the habit of touching my face my skin cleared up though! But I never wash my hands at the yard either. I feel cleaner rubbing and kissing my horse than one minute on the bus lol!
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post #20 of 33 Old 02-18-2020, 02:15 PM
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Like many others I don't mind animal germs as much as people germs and as muddy and dusty as a barn may be I'll always feel cleaner in one than in any public place. Like some others too I also avoid children. Kids are great they're just not my thing. Though you'd think the parents would be more vigilant about making sure they're snot is under control, if anything because it can't be comfortable for the poor kid to have it running down their face. I know I'm always really uncomfortable when I have a runny nose, it's the worst.

I wash my hands all the time though and I take my time doing it, don't often use hand sanitizer though. The smell is weird no matter what they try to do to it and it doesn't compare to just soap and water. I don't understand people who basically just put the soap on and then rinse it off without scrubbing. I guess it's better than nothing but half a second isn't enough time for the soap to really do it's job! Plus more people need to pay attention to under their fingernails where germs collect and most people don't get to when washing their hands, I've noticed.

Hope those in areas where they're concerned about the Corona stay safe and hopefully a true outbreak in those places never happens. I admit I myself am honestly not too concerned as I live in a small town in "fly over country" so the possibility of it spreading here and in large numbers is quite small, I'd bet (knock on wood).
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