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A Constructive Approach to Being Ill

Posted on 2006/11/25 07:32:47 (November 2006).

[Friday 24th November]
I spent today being really very ill indeed. It was a strange sort of illness - a bit like a cold in that I had a high fever and absolutely no energy - but other than that none of the usual runny nose / sore throat / cough type symptoms. I did have a bit of a dodgy stomach though. Possibly some variant of gastric flu?

Although I managed a brief outing in the morning, for the remainder of the day I was entirely bed ridden and feeling worse than I've felt in a very long time. I took some cold medicine (good old Paburon Gold - the Japanese answer to Beecham's Powder) in the evening which seemed to help quite a lot - this brought my fever down and I started to feel like I was getting back to normal.

There are two lessons to be learnt here.

1) I have a policy (which has often been scoffed at) of only taking medicine when I absolutely have to. If I just have a regular cold which is merely a bit of an irritation, then I won't take anything, knowing it will clear itself up within a day or two. I've heard from medical professionals that the more you take any given medicine (say paracetemol), over time the benefit of it gets less and less. Your body builds up an immunity to it or something. Anyway, I feel I've been somewhat vindicated in this approach given that today I was able to recover from a fairly nasty bug using only very weak over-the-counter sort of medicine.

2) The other thing I have got a bit obsessed about over the last few years is washing my hands. Apparently this is one of the reasons that doctors don't get ill that often, even though they come into contact with all sorts of mingy diseased people - they wash their hands after every appointment. I was trying to work out where I might have picked up this bug this week, and the strongest contender seemed to be on the second day of our trip to the Izu peninsula. Japan has plenty of public toilets which is really great. On the downside they're not always that clean, and there's typically no soap. In these circumstances you're probably better off not washing your hands at all - by touching the taps you're probably picking up all sorts of germs, that you're then completely ineffective at washing off with cold water alone. Still, having visited a couple of these facilities during the day on Wednesday, and ineffectually "washed" my hands, then probably later on in the day having eaten something with my contaminated digits, I think I gave the germs in question an express ticket into my stomach.

Anyway, it was a complete waste of a day - it's always frustrating to get ill when you're on holiday.

Still, lessons have been learned.

Comment 1

Sounds very unpleasant... Glad you are feeling better now though. Yes, there's nothing more frustrating than being ill on holiday. This happens to me a lot. As 'm working with the public all the time, I'm subjected to all sorts. Then, come the weekend, I often start feeling rough...! Most annoying!

Recently saw an advert on UK TV for that cleaning "gell" which is a kind of alcohol-based hand-cleaner. You just take a blob of the stuff, rub it in and it basically "disappears" erradicating germs as it goes. Might be a good travelling companion. I'll have to do some research to find the make and if it's available locally.

Talking of illness prevention... A friend of mine who runs his own driving-school, told me once that a good tip (for their trade) is to have the fresh-air vent on his side turned towards his face and "on" continuously. This helps prevent him catching colds and bugs etc., should one of his customers get in the car sniffling! :)

Posted by Nigel at 2006/11/25 08:27:20.

Comment 2

I find that taking a lot of medicines is quite counterproductive as you rightly worte. In my family, save from myself, everyone is a medic, and the fact that they resort to drugs only in the extreme case is enough of a proof for me. As for the hand washing stuff, I agree completely, itīs a shame sometimes I totally forget, for example I have eaten those peanuts here at the airport without cleaning my hands first!! ARSE!!

Posted by Lox at 2006/11/25 11:43:17.

Comment 3

In the airport Lox? Well bon voyage!

Posted by John at 2006/11/25 11:53:37.

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