Monday, October 11, 2010

Cold and Flu Season - Bwahahahaha

by Amanda Forester

In keeping with this month’s theme, I tried to think of the things that terrify me for this month’s blog post. Then I got sick. Yes, there I was innocently attending the world’s best writers’ conference (that is the Emerald City Writers’ Conference just in case you were wondering), and somewhere, somehow I was infected. I had not been home more than a few hours when my nose started to run, my throat started to burn, and my head started to ache. And somewhere in my influenza afflicted fog I remembered what scares me the most – COLD AND FLU SEASON.

Nothing can turn normal, perfectly adjusted me (those who know me can stop laughing at any time) into a neurotic, sanitizer-packing, germ-phobic mama, terrified to touch the glossy surface of any shared object, more than cold and flu season. The paranoia comes into full bloom around this time of year and I am constantly on guard lest I touch a shopping cart handle without first sanitizing it with a handy disinfecting wipe. Not that at this point it will do me much good, since my congested self is exactly the type of person I try to avoid.

Speaking of people to avoid, this reminds me of my friend’s three-year-old nephew. Last time he came to visit the poor guy had a cold. By this I mean his nose produced a never-ending stream of snot that oozed down his face, collecting in the corners of his mouth, and dripping off his sticky chin. Every once in a while he would wipe his nose with the palm of his hand, smearing mucus across his face, and then search for an unsuspecting victim on whom to wipe the rest of the phlegm. I’m not sure if this counts as paranormal, but I’m pretty sure the mucus winked at me, living so long on that child’s face as to become an alternate life form.

Like any sane person I ran from the afflicted child, but he toddled after me saying, “Give me kissy. Give me kissy!” I blew him a kiss trying to appease the phlegmatic creature before it got close enough to touch me. He shook his soggy head and pointed to his booger encrusted mouth. “On the wips!”

If that doesn’t terrify you, nothing will.

Though I try to avoid any and all illnesses, I found some folks trying to bring out the cute side of germs. My brother recently sent my kids some cute plush toys pictured here. At least I thought they were cute until I read the tags. The creatures are actually giant plush versions of microbes. The blue one above is the common cold (it looks so innocent in plush), the brown one is e-coli, and the cute pink one is… syphillis.

Oh yeah, only my brother, who is currently in med school, could think that was an appropriate gift for my daughter! There is actually a whole website of disgusting microbes, made into cute plush toys. Perfect for the holidays - how about a fuzzy version of toxic mold or the plague? These folks are either genius or very sick individuals – or both!

Does anyone have any tips on how to avoid and/or cure the common cold? I WILL be taking notes. Stay healthy my friends!


  1. The CDC has done studies of what keeps us healthy in an epidemic. Much to my glee, the smartest thing we can do (as I remember it) besides latex gloves/hand washing is Stay Home. My mom is a nurse, and she believes the occasional cold or even flu in an otherwise healthy adult is useful for running up the immune engines and warding off the bigger bugs. I think it's useful as an excuse to stay home and read!

  2. Now we're talking real fears :) Those little monsters inside us. I hate getting sick and hope you are feeling better now. The toys were so cute. Who would've thought to come up with something like that?

  3. Note to self: Do not read Amanda's cold and flu season post while eating breakfast.

    Whoops, too late.

    Who knew there were so many synonyms for mucus? *gags*

    And I trained as a research pathologist. I've seen some pretty sick stuff.

    *reaches for the dramamine*

    Hope you feel better. I can't stand it when people don't chase after their kids with a Kleenex and keep the snot at bay.

    If you can't tell, your images were terrifying. I'm just getting over a cold that lasted over two weeks. I actually think I got one cold, was almost over it, and caught a second one. Germy students.

    It's best to get all these germs when you're young to build up your immunity for when you're much older and your immune system is a dried up husk of its former glory.

  4. Amanda I have a cure that does not involve crawling up in a casket! Jack Daniels ... one shot each evening unless you have a cold and then it's two shots, or the flu and it's three shots. Jack kills germs (actually puts them on the run toward the nearest hypochrondriac who is so tickled to see them coming that they open their arms and kiss them smack on the lips).

  5. Amanda, I am at a loss for words. The plush toys are one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

  6. Oh, man! Do I dread the sicknesses!

    But I'm loving the plush toys! That syphilis is kinda cute. lol

    feel better!

  7. Amanda, that account of the booger-ridden three-year-old is the funniest thing I've ever read!
    I don't have a cure for the common cold, but a sense of humor helps, so I know you'll survive.
    Love the toys, too!

  8. Luckily I am NOT eating my breakfast yet! OMG! That is hysterical and utterly terrifying at the same time! Marvelously done, Amanda. I am almost happy you are sick so that this post could be inspired. Almost. ;-)

    Yep, germs are everywhere! I work in a neonatal ICU with veerrrryyy tiny babies who have a negative immune system so we are fanatics about germs. Oddly I don't worry about myself so much though. I am a firm believer in the power of denial. LOL! My hubby gets sick ALL the time. Of course, his idea of "sick" is a vague "I just don't feel quite right." Then he moans and groans, predicting in ominous tone to rival Vincent Price that I am doomed to be deathly ill any moment now - just like he is. I never do get sick, which really annoys him!

    Now, of course, since I have said that I will probably be stricken with H1N1, the Swine Flu, and the plague all at the same time.

  9. Grace - oh, stay home is a great one! Perhaps you could pass that on to my boss...

    Anita - that lttle blue cold bug looks cute but man does it pack a punch! Am feeling a bit better now - thanks!

    Olivia - ooops - sorry for ruining your breakfast! Kids are great for giving you one germ after another... and they seem to recover much faster than I do! I guess I'll be greatful later when my immune system is a "dried up husk of its former glory". Now there's something to look forward too!! Hope you feel better!

  10. Amanda, lock yourself in your room!You told me way more than I wanted to know! Eeek! Now I've got to go wash my hands with bleach!

  11. Carolyn - hahaha I'm running out for a little JD! I KNEW you would have a great cure!

    Lydia - I was pretty speachless when I read the little tags on those fuzzy crtters.

    Judi - I actually don't want to tell my daughter what the pink toy is for fear she'd tell someone, "my uncle gave me sy******". Oh, the horror!!

  12. Joanne - a sense of humor is essential - especially when crawling out a window to avoid snot-nosed kids!

    Sharon - three cheers for the hale and hearty among us! That's a pretty darn good trait working with at-risk little ones! My husband doesn't get sick very often when when he does he just goes to bed. When I get sick I still try to struggle on (and stay sick longer). I'm sure there's a lesson there...

    Amelia - sorry to put the scare on you like that! :)

  13. Ha! No avoiding the cold and flu season! My little one has been sick on and off since September 13! She just got over roseola. Ugh! Will it never end? I got a flu shot, and she's getting hers next week. Poor baby. Hope you feel better soon!

  14. Funny, funny, Amanda.I don't blame you for running from the child. Germs that have passed through a child's system are potent.

    To fight my fear of flu, I swear by echinacea and astragulus, vitamin C and zinc. Once the symptoms are full-blown, they don't help much. But taken as soon as you feel the first tingle, the beginnings of a scratchy throat, the first post-nasal drip, you can avoid coming down with it. I never leave home without them.

  15. Shana - Oh, poor baby! And poor you! Having a sick little one is pretty miserable. I remember years where my kids went from one illness to the next. Hope you all will be healthy soon!

    Mary Margaret - I've heard of everything but astragulus. Sounds almost like a disease itself! But anything to try to prevent a cold. I'm going to look into it. It's got to be better than squirting saline up my nose!

  16. Since I stopped traveling so much for my day job, I get sick less frequently. Airplanes are one of the germiest places on earth, and hotel rooms run a close second. The first thing I do when I get to a hotel room is to whip off the bedspread. Eww, eww, eww. Then I use an antiseptic wipe on the remote control and the telephone. Clearly I watch too much CSI.

  17. Tamara - oh my gosh, I know I sat on that hotel bedspread. Ewww. No wonder I caught the plague! Good idea about the sanitizing wipes. Next time!

  18. So sorry you got sick! I was thrilled to meet you at the Emerald City conference, but now I'm eying my autographed copy of your book wondering what sort of cooties might be on it :)

    Be well!


  19. Cheryl - great idea! The first time I saw a video showing how use a neti-pot I thought it was some kind of torture device. It does work though, and it's not as bad as it looks!

    Tawna - I was happy to meet you! I wish we had more time to chat. Fear not about the book - I promise I did not lick it! Besides, I was feeling great that day. Although I have heard you are contagious before you even know your sick. Hmmm, maybe a santizing wipe might not be a bad idea!

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  21. Washing hands after venturing out, and lots of vitamin C. That's the best I got. :} And ya know, it was a scary post, Amanda!