I attended a very small Christian college; our enrollment, including 'commuters', was just under 300. This is quite an intimate setting. It is difficult to skip a class when you are one in five. It harder yet to avoid the flu when you share an apartment-like dorm with 5 other suite mates. My friend Rachael was the first of room 104 to contract the plague, I mean, Asian flu that fall. Our hands-on nurse quarantined her to our room and put me in charge of bringing jello and juice until she got well. Rachael was no whiner--confident, smart and tough-- so it kind of freaked me out to see her stay in bed for days. When my turn came, as it were, she took care of me. I guess our room lucked out because our outbreak was staggered, leaving someone standing to care for the others.
Which brings me to one of the biggest news stories of last winter. Remember the wall-to-wall coverage of the deadly Avian flu due to touch down at any minute? There was talk of state quarantines (which is noteworthy when your husband works in the neighboring state), high death tolls, lost manpower and apocalyptic mayhem. Like so many things (are liquids deadly on planes this week?), one never knows what is hype and what to heed. I guess I pictured myself caring for my sick children, able to run to the store or doctor to procure the necessary items for their survival. The advice to keep tuna stored under the bed should have been my clue, because in delirium and fatigue and malaise, I couldn't manage to go downstairs to get an icepack no matter how bad my head hurt, and this isn't even the flu of the century. As for foraging for my kids, today was the first time all week I have hopped in a car for a brief excursion in the real world. The day before Zack got sick, I had marveled, privately, how healthy we had been. I didn't prepare. But what would I do anyway?
Well, here's my crunchy thoughts, if I were to do this week again. I am a big fan of oscillococcinum; anecdotally I have had success with it in the past, at the very beginning of the flu. There is also some great research supporting elderberry extract as well. My naturopath uses the antiviral herb, Lomatium Dissectum. It's a little tough to find, but when Lexi was 6 and got really sick, it seemed to work miracles. There are reports about NW Native American tribes that weathered the big 1918 outbreak using L. Dissectum--with fewer deaths. I think I am going to have some on hand, just in case.
As for the tuna under the bed, I think I will hold off. Lexi loves tuna; would eat it everyday if I let her. (She now knows she has a mercury quota each week.) But in case of flu, I think I'd fare better with a little camping stove, noodles, broth and water--and a whole lot of prayer and luck.
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