I'm a member of several online lupus support groups, and one of the more recent topics was that of how do we cope with the possibility of contracting the swine flu?
I was at the doctor's office yesterday, just for a regular yearly checkup, and I asked about the flu shots -- both kinds, regular and swine flu. She's not giving the regular flu shots; I can get one at my local pharmacy, like I did last year.
And she suggested I NOT get the swine flu shot, anywhere, anytime. We don't know what's in it, was the general agreement, and people with lupus don't need to experiment with any kind of medicine or inoculation.
Okay. So I woke up this morning with a sneezing fit, feeling kind of feverish. I took my temperature, and YEA, no fever. Just an ordinary allergic reaction to good old N. Central Texas air. Maybe the neighbor mowed his yard. Finally.
So that presents another question (not the yard, though). What do we do to avoid getting the swine flu?
I already don't go out much, due to the Texas heat and intense sunshine of the summer. I shop at a grocery store that provides sanitary wipes for their cart handles (I always picture a baby drooling all over the handle) and I use them faithfully. If I see or hear someone with the "sniffles" or is coughing, I go the other way. At other places, or with friends, I haul out the hand sanitizer and use it before I do anything else, such as eating lunch, or shopping in a department store.
Is this enough? What about masks? I see lots of people wearing masks, although I must admit, I see this mostly on television, where they are showing the populace of such cities as Mexico City or Hong Kong, not Dallas-Fort Worth. Besides, I've heard that wearing those masks really doesn't help much.
I don't like avoiding crowds, just to avoid the swine flu. I mean, my life is limited enough as it is, with restrictions placed on my simply having a disease that strongly suggests I avoid the sun and rest as often as necessary.
So I'll probably take my chances on driving to the mall, parking my car and wearing a broad-brimmed hat as I walk to the main entrance. Then I begin my stroll twice around both levels before I'm pulled into a certain store's seductive window display (a bookstore, of course!) and then it's time to go home.
Where my granddaughters, ages 9 and 4 years, have arrived for my son and me to watch while their mama goes to the hospital to be with a friend during childbirth. Okay. They're active -- very active little girls, especially the 4 year old who insists she's a horse, and crawls around the house, neighing loudly. The 9 year old has brought her laptop computer and settles in at the kitchen table to play games.
They don't look sick. Neither of them sneezes or coughs, and they don't look feverish. But the 9 year old announces after an hour or two, "It's time for me to take a Tylenol. My mom says I have a cold."
Oy, vey. I have hugged her, played on her computer, handled her lunch dishes and milk glass....no wonder I woke up this morning thinking I have a cold.
There goes one of the recommendations -- that I avoid crowds, or people likely to have a cold or the flu.
Where grandchildren are concerned, I'll still hug and play with the little germ factories. And I'll take my chances with the swine flu.