What I have learned about “THE FLU”, Delta travel and what should I do next?

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nasty flu virus

Flu bug, I really hate you!

Have you ever said: “I had the flu” or, even worse, “a touch of the flu”? I know I have said both of these things and I will never, EVER say that again lightheartedly or in a joking manner.

Let me say also right away that I am the worst sick person in the world as my wife will attest to. My stages of whininess and complaining is worst with the onset of the sore throat (the way all colds start, right?). Once we are past that part, the sneezing the coughing the other common cold symptoms are all a pain but tolerable and my griping becomes much more tolerable (my wife may not completely agree with me on this last point).

A few years ago in April I was so sick I sure thought I had some sort of “bird flu” or something of the kind as it took the better part of 10 days, from start to finish, to be completely over the severe cold symptoms I had (yes, there was much whining I have to admit).

But this past Friday morning I awoke at home feeling just fine after flying Monday thought Thursday each day on Delta jets visiting New York (twice), Salt Lake and New Orleans. Then, in the span of just one hour, my temperature spiked to 101.5* and stayed there for the better part of four days. I also slept for the better part of all of those four days (I normally only sleep 5 or 6 hours each night). This was unlike anything I have experienced in my life. The only tiny consolation was I never did get a sore throat.

I have never had to will myself to move and had no appetite at all. I was totally unable to hold a thought in my head. My head would not stop hurting no matter what I took. Sleep, despite being constant, was not restful. My body ached from tip to tail if you will. Folks, I now understand what it means to really have “the flu” and can say I have never had it before. Nothing I have experienced has ever been this bad.

I also can say Tamiflu seems to work reasonably quickly but the side effects are not nice. Heck, a buddy of mine, who also contracted this nasty bug, jokingly suggested he might as well just ask for a lethal injection when he went in to see his doctor for treatment. Yeah, this was no fun at all.

But here’s the thing, I have now on 3 of my 4 last trips on Delta come home sick. Once with the flu and two other times with colds. I am starting to get paranoid to fly (not something I am used to).

I always start the cold and flu season with a flu shot and have for many, many years. Clearly this year’s flu shot did not cover the strain I got hit with but it must have helped me in the years before this one.

I do try to careful when I fly about what I touch. I don’t fly with sanitary wipes or a mask but I think I am going to add disinfectant jell and use it from now on. I also don’t quite understand why this latest round of flying has been so rough on me. I mean average 100 segments in the air each and every year so why this run of bugs?

nose screen

Would you wear these?

Is there a simple solution? A twitter follower said I had to try these things, that is, First Defense Nasal Screens as I could only get the cold or flu via my nasal passage and this would block them. I am no doctor and not sure how I would feel about wearing them but if they really work they could be worth the effort.

At this point, now that my temperature is at least nearing normal again and I am not sleeping both day and night I would love to get some feedback from RenesPoints readers who fly Delta all the time. Are you getting more sick lately or is it just me? Is there something you do that absolutely works for you? Please let me know! – René

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  1. If you ask Sara, she’ll tell you I am the worst sick person ever. 🙂

    MAN FLU!

    sleep, drugs and more sleep is the only solution for me

  2. For me, it starts with using disposable sanitary wipes on key surfaces (armrests, tray table top, back of seat in front where table touches, pockets, air vent and buttons). It’s an easy process that takes all of 30 seconds, at most. You’d be surprised at how many others I see doing this and nearly everyone who is sitting next to me comments positively.

    Then, throughout the flight I use nasal saline spray to keep my nasal passages moist … and, ahem, “recirculated.”

    Despite being near some people who seem awfully sick, I have yet to catch a bug on a plane. (fingers crossed)

  3. Haven’t had a cold or flu for at least a year, while flying over 100 segments. FWIW, I don’t take any special precautions, including flu shots.

    Cold and flu viruses can be contracted via the nose, eyes and mouth, so nasal plugs likely won’t be 100% effective. And since one can pass on the flu as early as a day before symptoms appear, perhaps you can take some solace from knowing that a small percentage of your fellow passengers probably got to share your misery.

  4. Take two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water once a day for flu prevention/relief, and gout prevention/relief. You may laugh, but I can attest to the fact that it works.

  5. I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV :-)), but I highly recommend Totral VR-X (“VY-rex”). My chiropractor introduced me to it about 10 years ago. I take 3 tablets (chewable-but-awful-tasting) per day in the morning. When I travel by plane, I up the dosage to 5 tablets 2 or 3 times per day. I hardly ever get sick now (when I do, it’s usually during a season change and I’ve run out of the stuff without reordering in time).

  6. Last time I got sick was on a flight in India, where it was the first class flight attendant sneezing on the food during meal service. I exchanged several emails with their CEO who insisted that all staff are examined daily and forbidden to work when ill. (Turn your head and cough??). I requested not only a refund but also my fees for the day with my client I had to cancel. (I got the ticket refund only). My point is that often it is the FA or other unseen staff who report to work sick, since they can’t afford a day off.

    My wife has supplied me with a ton of disinfectant wipes and trained me to clean every surface, including seat belt buckles, etc. I have read that aircraft air circulation is row-by-row, so worry more about fellow pax in your row than behind you. Also, I read that directing your air nozzle towards your lap will keep others’ coughs and sneezes at bay. I once bought (and returned after one use) a hang-around-the-neck air filter/sanitizer. And of course, some super vitamin C capsules can’t hurt. Finally, drink lots of fluids.

  7. i haven’t gotten sick recently but it seems i catch something when i go to the west coast??? more so then other flights even to EU?? the last bad illness was after a 3 day run on DL///

  8. I had H1N1 in 2009. Sickest I’ve ever been in my life, temps up to 104F.

    Most people claim severe colds and other infections for flu when they are not. I will certainly never make the mistake again. Most annoying of all is when they misunderstand that the flu vaccine is like “a little flu”. No it’s not! The vaccine is stimulating your immune system, and having a rapid response means you may have a touch of symptoms. Everyone get your shots!

  9. I was on a Delta flight about a month ago and the woman sitting behind me was having sneezing and coughing fits and wouldn’t cover her mouth. I could feel the spray in my hair. Sure enough I was sick within a few days and passed it on to my wife. And yes I did ask her to cover her mouth but she just glared at me.

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