can’t escape this one

March 6, 2013 |  Category:   life


Thought I was going to escape getting sick this winter but I guess not. Truth is, none of us in the family have been sick for years so I guess it was bound to happen sometime. There have been days when I’ve felt a sore throat come on, but I chase it away with 2 vitamin C packs and a few drops of bee propolis extract, a tip I got from my friend’s Korean Brazilian mother, and it usually goes away the next day. Like every single time. But not this time.


My mother-in-law once told me that I would make a good quarantine nurse. This after experiencing my quarantine tactics first hand herself one December. I’m not a germaphobe, but I do become ruthless when I know that a virus or something easily contagious has entered the house (does that make me a germaphobe?), but nobody makes fun of me to my face because whatever I do WORKS (I believe those are Mark’s exact words). I’ve been able to successfully contain illnesses from spreading from one member of the family to another – illnesses that are notorious for taking down family members mercilessly one by one. This usually involves extreme levels of repeated hand washing and following the sick person around with a spray bottle of bleach/water solution and sanitizing any surface that has been touched. Ok, not really (maybe). Oh, and because I am highly sensitive to even the smallest amount of bleach and have contracted bronchitis from bleach inhalation, I now wear a surgical mask while wiping down surfaces. It’s a lovely sight and I might as well purchase a hazmat suit to complete the look. This all came about, by the way, when all our neighbors came down with the stomach virus a number of years back the day after we were all together at a birthday party (incidentally at our apartment). We kept hearing reports from neighbors one after the other that the whole family had come down with the flu. I had never seen it spread so fast! Everyone in our family got it too, though a very mild case of it compared to what others seemed to be suffering from. Everyone but me, that is. I have no idea why I was spared, but that’s when I started wielding the bleach spray bottle. It sounds over the top crazy, but hey, it’s worked.
All this to say, I have quarantined myself in the bedroom these past few days as an attempt to spare the rest of the family from this brain-splitting sinus headache that I’ve had for 3 days. Not great timing as I’m in the middle of a concepting/brainstorming stage of a new project I’m working on for a client that has required a lot of in person UX meetings lately, but maybe this state of illness induced delirium will produce some unexpected creativity and visions. Ya never know.
Hope you are staying healthy.

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  • Leslie March 6, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Get well soon, Jenna!

  • Joy @ OSS March 6, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Sad to hear about this. Get well soon.

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag March 6, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    oh good gracious. i seriously think the entire world is sick at this very moment. I’ve never seen anything like it! in the past month, basically every single person I know has been sick either with the flu or norovirus.

    love your bleach spray idea! feel better! 🙂

  • Sheila March 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

    You can get bronchitis from bleach inhalation? My husband and I came down with bronchitis recently and I thought we just caught the bug going around. But I remember we both scrubbed down our bathroom with bleach the day before we got sick. Now you’ve got me wondering. Feel better!

  • Jenna March 7, 2013 at 11:10 am

    @Sheila You can! Do a search. Of course in your case it could be coincidental, however I know how my body reacts now and I get the same symptoms of bronchitis that I do when I overdo it with the bleach, which in my case doesn’t take that much…hence the masks. I think I’m more sensitive than most people. Mark uses bleach solution all the time for scrubbing down surfaces in the kitchen but it doesn’t bother him, for example.

  • oilandgarlic March 7, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Simply wearing a surgical mask around a coughing/sick person helps a lot, but you have to be OK with looking kind of crazy and silly!

  • Jenna March 7, 2013 at 11:53 am

    @oilandgarlic Oh, it’s only when I’m cleaning with bleach! Not when I’m around sick people. I hope I’m not that crazy or silly.

  • Shilo March 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Feel better Jenna!

  • Margaret March 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Sending get well germ-free wishes all the way from England 🙂

  • Noelani March 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I hope you get to feeling better soon, and that it doesn’t spread.

  • Cristina March 8, 2013 at 5:55 am

    have you tried fumigations? they work magic with my sinus headaches…

  • Justine March 8, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Feel better!

  • Jenna March 8, 2013 at 10:04 am

    @Cristina are you talking like a netie pot? Yeah, I have in the past. I think I’m getting better, so hopefully I won’t have to do it. It works, but sheesh, not very pleasant is it?

  • Jen March 8, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    I’m right there with you Jenna – I definitely am about the germs not spreading from person to person. But just be happy you don’t have the uber contagious and just nasty norovirus. I hadn’t been sick in almost two years – not so much as a cold and then got the damn stomach bug probably from the airplane and airport (wished someone would sanitize those places). Hopefully you’re drinking some nice ginger garlic tea. I’m sure it’s not as strong, but a more natural solution to cleaning some surfaces are with vinegar for the more daily cleaning and we’ve used hydrogen peroxide for the toilet.

  • Jenna March 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    @Jen Yeah the norovirus is what went around when I was talking about the stomach flu with the neighbors. I only reserve bleach for sick germs. I definitely don’t clean regularly with it! I don’t think I could survive that!

  • Jen March 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    Aww Jenna, I hope you’re feeling better! I’m the same way when it comes to illness in the house. But I AM a germaphobe. I make the kids wash their hands when they come home from school or after we’re out and about.

    I also yell, “Don’t touch your face!” during cold and flu season. I, um, think I may have scarred them for life.

  • Jenna March 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    @jen hmmm…I make them wash their hands when the come home too. you’re making me think I am a germaphobe!

  • kim March 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    First let me say that I hope you are feeling much better! I recently prevented my family from catching the Flu (my daughter is home with me during the day). I was completely knocked off my feet for 3 days and back up still sick for at least another 3 and the entire time I wore a bandana over my nose and mouth and washed my hands constantly (I know this isn’t realistic for everyone but it worked!) I also sprayed surfaces with a citrus/vinegar spray. Question though…my daughter is headed of to K in Brooklyn next Sept and I am so dreading the norovirus and such…how long does that Norovirus last for and is it really as bad as everyone says??

  • sylvï March 8, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    if phobia is an irrational fear, i dont’ think you’re a germaphobe. white vinegar is a nice replacement for bleach and can be scented with essential oils somewhat (most of them beneficial in conquering bugs also!) to mask the stench.

    a neti pot shouldn’t really be used once you’re already ill, since it can flush bacteria deeper into the head. as an everyday habit it’s more effective in preventing sickness.

    i often gargle with salt water when i feel the first tingle of flu, it seems to be working well, as do high amounts of vitamin c in times of stress.

    feel better soon!

  • Jenna March 8, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    @Kim when the family had norovirus, it was very mild for us and it only lasted less a day, but others had it for much longer. I think the average is about 3 days. There are so many germs (not to mention lice) that you can’t really get yourself crazy obsessing about it, especially at school. The best you can do is have the kids wash their hands thoroughly as soon as you get home from school and to put hand sanitizer and wipes in their lunch boxes if they don’t have a chance to wash their hands before lunch. As I mentioned, we’ve been lucky – or we have strong immune systems. The girls haven’t been sick except for a few sniffles, for years.

    • kim March 13, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Thanks Jenna!