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There are no friends on a flu day

Biff America

I slept with my dog last night. Actually, it wasn’t too bad. Unlike my wife, he didn’t toss and turn, steal the covers or get any wild ideas in the middle of the night.

While I slumbered with our cur, my bride slept 50 feet away in our conjugal bed.

This arrangement was not a result of a spat, squabble or me catching her turning on the heat. Rather, it was a goodwill gesture by yours truly to keep her from getting a tickle in her throat.

They say there are no friends on a powder day: the message being that powder skiing is too fleeting and precious to obligate one person to wait for another.

When the snow is soft and deep, common courtesy flies out the window. The same could be said about the cold and flu season.

The flu season this year is the worst in decades. From coast to coast, schools have closed, businesses have gone understaffed and Paris Hilton became camera shy.

Children and the elderly are most at risk. There have been deaths and productivity lost caused by the most severe outbreak in my lifetime.

Several strains of influenza are out there and all are named after the plagues’ homes of origin. Some of the worst flu varieties are: Fijian, Caledonian, Beijing; the most heinous being the Panama flu, which clogs your canals.

Drastic situations call for drastic measures. The sickness is spread by the exchange of germs and bodily fluids. Certainly those of us who are married have fewer fears over bodily fluid exchange, but no one is safe from the germs.

They say if you shake hands with a person, you are in fact shaking hands with every person that he or she has shaken hands with. That being the case, I no longer shake hands; instead, I’ve been bowing.

I’d highly recommend bowing; it gives you an eastern flair and requires no touching. The one drawback is you constantly crave rice.

Another preventive step is to stay out of any businesses in which the help looks sick. If I’m at a restaurant where the waitress or cook is sniffling, I get up, bow and leave. Of course, this is after tipping.

The most important thing you can do is wash your hands. Doctors say you should wash several times a day, especially when out in public or visiting certain Web sites.

Equally important is to never touch your face after you have touched anything that might have been touched by anyone else. This is easier said than done, and I would guess it makes dating nearly impossible.

It is also advised that you avoid likely contaminated areas. Particularly dangerous places are doctors’ offices, schools, daycare centers and Saddam Hussein’s mustache.

By the same token, doorknobs, banisters and (according to my wife) vacuum cleaners and dirty dishes should also be given a wide berth.

Despite your best intentions, you might get sick.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, if that happens, you’re pretty much hosed.

Your only hope is to ride it out and hope that you have a mate like mine who will not disturb you while you’re suffering but rather leave the house to go skiing.

Until a few nights ago, I thought I might have dodged the bullet.

I had followed the advice of the pros and did all I could to lower my risk of exposure.

But germs are like relatives: no matter how careful you are, they can still show up during the holidays.

When I first felt the throat tickle, my wife, who works in a health food store, handed me various herbs and potions as she headed out the door.

I’m currently taking echinacea, goldenseal, yellow dock root, skullcap flowers and fo-ti root; they all seem to help as long as I wash them down with Nyquil.

So far, the tickle and body aches haven’t gotten any worse. I’ve been trying to rest as much as my obligations will let me and I’m doing my best to keep my germs to myself.

It seems I’m hovering on the precipice of a health disaster, and a single nudge could send me one way or the other. Of course, my biggest concern, is if I am ill, to not infect others, particularly my wife’s family who is visiting for Christmas. I’d hate to have them too sick to fly home.

In the meantime, I’m just fighting the good fight trying to keep my resistance up and taking my medicine. If anyone who is reading this sees my wife, tell her it’s safe to come home and that I think the dog needs to go to the vet Š

Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of “Biff America,” can be seen on RSN television, heard on KOA radio and read in several mountain publications. He can be reached at biffbreck@cs.com.


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