Ester Marsh: It’s not just COVID going around

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 22, 2022

I went to see my grandbabies in Virginia about a month ago and came home with a common cold, and yes, it was worth it! To be responsible for my family and workplace, I went ahead and tested to make sure I didn’t have COVID because some symptoms are “just” a common cold. Test was negative. Hydrated well and doubled my vitamin C. Two weeks later started feeling worse, well shoot, another COVID test again negative. Started to feel better and had a setback. Dr Acquawon is my GP but since I tried to get in the same day she was booked and I saw her very competent Ryan Cannici. My common cold had turned into bronchitis and started antibiotics and felt 75% better the next day!

Nowadays you are scared to cough because everyone instantly thinks it’s COVID. Well, the common cold is still out there too! Except in the elderly, frail or newborns, colds are not especially dangerous. Colds generally take care of themselves in 7-14 days and don’t require special treatment other than rest and hydration. You can ease aches and pains with over-the-counter pain relievers. Most doctors recommend rest and lots of fluids. If you do come to work out don’t push yourself too hard. Go for an easier workout and wipe down your equipment when finished. This is part of proper fitness etiquettes and did not start during COVID. The flu (influenza) is also going around and it’s a contagious virus common between the fall and spring when temperatures and immune systems are at their lowest. The flu is spread through direct contact and airborne germs, which are released into the air through coughing and sneezing. You should not work out and let your body heal itself and fight the flu. The easiest and most effective way is to get a flu shot, now, before November when the flu season typically begins. Flu strains change year to year so an annual shot is recommended. Washing your hands frequently and keeping a safe distance from flu sufferers help prevent you from getting the flu. If you are knowingly sick and come to work out anyway, you aren’t only affecting everyone who is there but you are not doing your body any justice. Doctors recommend in both cases rest and plenty of fluids. If you work out anyway (believe me, I have personal experience), your body is not able to recover from your workout. Your whole system is fighting to get you well and does not have time to recover your muscles after your workout. So you’ll be very sore, and again, exposed everyone else to your ailment. Doesn’t it make more sense to rest and hydrate for a couple of days (or longer) so you can get back on your feet and workouts again?

Your body will thank you and we are thanking you. Guess what? We can’t wait for you to come back after you are not contagious anymore and are feeling like yourself again, whether it’s COVID or the flu.

Ester Marsh is health and fitness director of the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA.