On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Well, it's flu season again, and again panic has taken over. I haven't gotten my flu shot yet, and I am debating whether to even get one this year--I never have, and I have never had the flu, that I know of. I have had upper respiratory problems, mainly colds, and never to the extent where it would be called the dreaded "flu." I get a stomach virus every few years, but that's it. Even when I was teaching, no matter how many kids were out sick, I almost never missed a day from sickness. In fact, my illnesses were so few and far between I can remember each precisely. (There were two. Each time I passed out when I stood up, and figured I'd better not drive to school.)

So why are some people more immune than others? I tend to attribute my basic health to the fact that I grew up on a farm and "ate a bushel of dirt" as my mother put it. We ran barefoot outside, swam in a really polluted lake (it's since been cleaned up), and pretty much ignored most health rules. We let our dogs lick our faces and never washed with antiseptic soap--in fact, we never had antibacterial anything. We didn't wear latex gloves or face masks when collecting eggs or handling farm animals, and cuts just got a washing and a dab of mercurechrome that cast an eerie orange shadow along the wound. I wonder now if all that dirt didn't help build antibodies. Nowadays we obsess about cleanliness, but our kids seem to get sicker easier, and stay sicker longer. Something's not right.

Of course you know, by writing this I will no doubt come down with a horrible case of the flu. My mother would have called it an "einhora," saying I tempted the evil eye. Maybe I'd better go wash my hands after typing this, or spritz some antimicrobial on my keyboard. Not likely.

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Blogger km said...

Despite the fact that I randomly got H1N1 this past July, I completely agree. I'm all about letting Elena get messy, and I think she's better for it. She's so much healthier than the other kids at daycare.

7:35 PM  

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