Saturday, October 23, 2010
Miss Ginger's Malaise is Your Forewarning!
Sometimes referred to a "stomach flu", the only likeness this malady has to influenza is that it is caused by a virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are three main types of viruses that cause Viral Gastroenteritis, each with a "most likely" population target and outbreak season. It really doesn't matter which virus you get, because there is no treatment available for any, other than symptom relief and protection from dehydration. Viruses tend to be seasonal and regional, and a bit of networking has helped Miss Ginger determine that she has had a course of symptoms similar to several other folks she knows. Bacterial gastroenteritis is much less common, with e coli and salmonella being the most common culprits. Symptoms are usually milder, and most healthy humans will survive those infections without treatment as well.
So, if you live along the Gulf Coast and want to know what symptoms to expect:
Onset: sudden, with extreme body aches, headache, weakness, and malaise.
6-18 hours: moderate to high fever (103 F), nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea.
18-48 hours: continued moderate fever, lack of appetite, diarrhea.
48-72 hours: low to no fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea.
Not fun, and I can assure you that even from behind this young lady looks much more poised and in control than Miss G! A hurling drag queen is NOT a pretty site, unless she's hurling clever quips and bon mots!
So, how does one treat this unglamorous malady? Well, the treatments are not particularly glamorous, either,
but they are important, so here goes:
1. HYDRATE! It is so hard, when it's coming our of both ends, but really, the only REAL danger of this illness is dehydration. A childless and whimpering Miss Ginger was quickly turned on to the wonders of Pedialyte by some of her FABULOUS coworkers, and she has to say that, at certain times, it was easier to keep down than water. It's like a magic elixir for the pukey!
2. BREAK THE FEVER as soon as you can with Advil or Aleve. Miss Ginger is not a doctor and cannot prescribe medical advice, but she took 4 Aleve, puked her guts out, and immediately began to feel some slight relief.
3. TRY TO EAT when and what you can. The BRAT diet has been questioned as nutritionally unsound, but we're only living on it for 5 days, and there are some elements that may relieve symptoms. Add chicken soup and mild foods as you can.
4. REST AND WAIT. That's all you can do. Anti-diarrheals are not recommended because they may slow the body's ability to rid itself of the offending bug, and in a day 4 fit of desperation, Miss G discovered they won't work, anyway!
5. RIDE IT OUT. Do what you can to stay comfortable. Peppermint Tea and a heating pad helped a bit with the abdominal cramps. Diaper wipes were much kinder than dry tissue to Miss G brutalized hiney. And there is something in Coca Cola that soothes the stomach.
So, after that pretty picture, Miss G is sure you are thinking "Man, I SURE don't want to get that! What do I do?" Well, you need to be wary, because these viruses are highly contagious, sometimes even after the patient is feeling better and back to work. By and large they are spread through fecal contamination.
Miss G sent her peeps to the Google Searchbar to check it out your best defense, and here's what they found:
CDC suggests teaching children to wash their hands for the length of time it takes to sing their ABC's, but Miss G can't imagine that it wouldn't prevent adults from rushing the job as well! And the FDA says that the type of soap doesn't really matter, and antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers may actually do more to harm the public health. Miss G says use what's there, and "sing out, Louise!"
This type of infection can also be spread by food handlers who don't wash their hands properly. The popular "pot luck" seems to Miss G like an infection fest waiting to happen. As a general practice, she makes it a point never to eat food from a kitchen that isn't professionally managed, or at least comes from the home of someone she knows well. During a known outbreak, she thinks this measure is crucial! At work, she politely declines pot luck lunches and opts for something she has brought from home or purchased from a reputable food service area.
And finally, it can be spread by close contact. If you're sick, stay home. Even after you feel well, proper sanitation of bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom linens is crucial to prevent spread. Close the toilet lid before you flush. According to the National Health Service in the UK, flushing vaporizes germs that can travel up to six feet away from the bowl, taking up to 2 hours to settle! Upon learning this, Miss Ginger began keeping a bottle of Pine Sol or Clorox in each bathroom, adding a few drops to the bowl BEFORE closing the lid and flushing, to prevent such vaporization. It just seemed like a good idea to her!
So, Miss G is going to miss the IPR Ball tonight, in the interest of her health and others! The only thing uglier than a sick drag queen is a whole room full of them!