The cold and flu season is upon us. But when does it leave El Salvador. The Ministry of Health, with its posters, TV ads, and house visits spreads the word on prevention of the common health threats, but it’s like no one pays attention. We are awash with stagnant water. More fingers invade nostrils than, well, I’d better not print what orifice comes to mind. Even the moderately well-bred folks expectorate at will. Trash litters the streets, parks, school grounds and private property. Animal dung is common. Watch your step! Don’t drink the impure water. Cover or drain any standing water. Wash your hands with soap. Don’t send sick kids to school but care for them at home. Get whatever free inoculations are offered. Health providers knock on doors to vaccinate kids under five and inoculate seniors like me against swine flu, Asian flu, any flu they have serum for. Free!
Blessed with having spent the vast majority of my 76 years in the United States, I’ve had excellent health care, good teaching from my parents, teachers and doctors, knowledge and practice of diet and exercise, and perhaps some good genes from my ancestors. I have no complaints about my physical condition that could have been prevented or that can be corrected at this point in time. There have been some lengthy periods where I have let myself go until my pants wouldn’t button and I’d have to start my normal health program from scratch. I’m about ten days into another restart right now.
A few days ago, I felt sluggish as I began my 3-mile run. I was surprised that my time was better than two-days before. But I knew I was coming down with something.
The next day, an off day of my run & workout schedule, I had no energy and felt sleepy. I even took a rare afternoon nap. But when I woke up the next morning, I determined I would not lapse into the lethargy that would lead me to another lay off. Good for me! My run took a minute off my time. The number of reps in my park workout increased. I felt good…but I knew I had la gripe, the common cold.
Margarita and the kids were gone most of the afternoon, so I let good judgement take over and I took a nap. We went to Bible study, which always perks me up. I had a late, light supper and went to bed after the news at 10:00 p.m. as usual.
This morning, I woke up coughing up some thick phlegm. Margarita ordered me to stay away from the cold liquids I drink during the day. She would make me hot tea with honey. I asked her to make me some hot oatmeal as well. When I spoke, it was in the unnatural bass voice of laryngitis. That’s OK. I don’t sing much anymore. But it sure sounded funny when I talked to her or the kids as we walked them to school.
I mentioned H1N1 because there are at least three reported cases in the country. Typically, two are preschoolers and one a senior citizen. I hope tonight’s news doesn’t indicate more cases. We lost several people in the last round. There’s always a new strain and we’re among the last to get the serum to protect us. We are not an oil-producing country nor do we mine rare minerals needed for nuclear programs. So, we are wary.
I will continue to “civilize” my family by word and by example in hopes that they will profit from my education and practice of good health behavior. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” I was taught. Where you only have a couple of ounces of cure, prevention is even more valuable.