Dig Baton Rouge

East of the River: ‘Tis the cold and sinus season

It’s inevitable. Every few months, everyone at my work gets sick. We work in such close quarters, it’s hard to keep anything from spreading. Our “break room” is about the size of a walk-in closet and we have to cram up to six people in there while still having to make room to do the laundry and wash dishes; there’s not much air circulation in those 5 square feet.

This month, a perfect storm of sickness has arisen. At my job we had someone with strep throat, bronchitis, viral pharyngitis, a couple of sinus infections and about five people with colds…all at the same time. I had successfully beaten all of these when it hit: laryngitis.

I never officially lost my voice before. I’ve gotten hoarse due to drinking and yelling, but it always comes back in a day and just sounds scratchy before that. This week, I lost my voice in an instant. It wasn’t a subtle or slow process. I just opened my mouth and barely anything came out. I felt like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Why, Ursula, why take my voice? I already have legs, I need nothing from you!

I can’t decide if the laryngitis was caused by actual sickness or if my sinuses are just reeling from our weather. The 30-degree difference in a 24 hour period is wreaking havoc with my head. Plus, we’re destined to have a warm winter because for once I’m actually prepared for the cold with a new stylish wardrobe. When, oh when, can I wear all these faux leather leggings?

This indecisive weather has given me a post nasal drip for almost a week that keeps my throat scratchy and sore unless I take Sudafed every four to five hours. Then, when I’m on the Fed, I’m fine. Save for the fact that I have to drink about 1,000 glasses of water to counteract the dehydration and to dry up my mucus membranes. Plus, it’s not great to take the main component of Meth every day.

Being overly cautious though, I made sure no one ate or drank after me and have spent my nights taking every herbal remedy to boost my immune system: Emergen-C, tons of probiotics, apple cider vinegar, bone broth, taking detox baths and the dreaded Netti Pot. Three times this year already I was convinced I was sick and either fought off the crud with these remedies or figured out it was just allergies.

I can’t say everyone I work with is as cautious. Most people’s MO is just warning everyone to wipe communal phones down with alcohol so no one catches what they have. Most people still come to work even when they’re contagious.

Come on, at least, wait a day or stay home when the virus is at its most infectious. I know some people can’t afford to miss a day of work, but going to work just ensures your friends will be the one that has to take the financial hit once they get sick too.

Even if I’m not sick, I had to take a day off of work because a voice is very important in a customer service position. I’m hoping this counts as my sickness during Mardi Gras, and I don’t catch anything else during our party holiday.

Without fail, some sickness seems to go around every Mardi Gras. I guess it’s all the communal drink sharing and standing outside despite the elements. Even when I don’t drink after anyone, I inevitably accidentally drink someone else’s drink at every party I attend. There’s always that gross moment when I realize I have someone’s gin drink hitting my lips.

Who knows, maybe this Carnival season will be symptom free after I get my voice back. The only time I ever got the flu was during the summer so maybe every year is different. I’ll keep up my herbal remedies and drink lots of liquid and hope that will do the trick. Heck, I’ll try some Voodoo too if it will appease the Mardi Gras gods and keep me well.


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