Thursday, March 13, 2014

Gone viral

Last week, I was examining an ill infant. She had runny nose, cough, and vomiting. No fever, though, and as I checked her, I felt confident that this was a viral illness that needed to run its course.

Then she coughed in my face. I felt the mucus land on my cheek and in my eye.

Oh no.

Definitely one of the hazards of my job, I have become somewhat of a germophobe. I was my hands before and after I touch a patient. Before I eat. As soon as I get home. I clean my stethoscope before I examine every patient. And clean it with bleach wipes if I see someone who has been vomiting. Last fall I had a toddler vomit in my lap while I was examining him. It was as horrible as you might imagine. I felt it seep through my pants. Luckily, my clinic is connected to the hospital. Someone got me some scrubs to change into and I cleaned my legs with bleach wipes. I know I shouldn't have done that but ick. Washed those clothes in hot water. And prayed that I wouldn't get sick. Luckily, that time I didn't.

Most days this time of year.

I hate being sick. And who's got time to be sick anyways?

Two days after I saw that baby, my eye turned red and started to drain. I started antibiotic drops for pinkeye. Meanwhile, I had a scratchy throat and felt kind of blah but continued with work and running.

Today I feel yucky. My stomach is funky and my nose is stuffed up. The sun is shining, and normally I would have run outside, but I decided to try to do my treadmill speedwork. I figured I could stop if I felt bad. Plus I had ready access to the bathroom. Happily, with my bottle of nuun at my side, I completed those intervals without a problem. You never know unless you try, right? And I actually feel better now. Trying to fight the good fight!

I feel so much better now!

I use my ability to push through a run as a gauge for how sick I am. If I start running, and don't feel better after I get moving or have to stop in the middle of a run, I know I'm really sick and need to rest. Those are the days I call in sick. And luckily this rarely happens.

Most experts say that if your symptoms are above the neck, you are probably safe to hit the streets. Running may actually make you feel less stuffy, as your body releases adrenaline, which can open clogged nasal passages (source). But if your symptoms are below the neck, for example, in your chest, vomiting, or body aches then you should probably skip the workout. Seems logical to me. Take a day or 2 to rest and recover. You won't lose any training time.

Ha. Tell that to this type A++ runner!

Do you run when you are sick? What do you do to stay well?


  1. Glad the intervals felt good! I wash my hands a ton and try not to touch my face. I think I did it to myself this time with the cold as I've been using My Fitness Pal and restricting calories too much. That's what happens when I pay attention to exactly what I'm eating: I cut out a little too much. Ha!