At least you can be thankful that you weren't affected until the rerturn trip. Fortunately, it has been extremely rare that I have contracted some sort of malady while travelling. It just seems to make it that much worse if you can't snuggle in your own bed to recuperate.
If you had come down with this on the way to Brazil it could have been really tough making your presentation.
@Max as luck would have it I listened to that Goon show only a week ago. I can't remember laughing so much for a long time (well not since I watched "Fawlty Towers" the week before, anyway). The Goons are brilliant, I am so glad my folks introduced me to them. nnnnNNNNN-Yakkabool......
I wish I could, since you obvioulsy remember my description of my suffering with Sinusitis. But it was diagnosed as a virus- "live with it". It lasted about 6 weeks, but wasn't very contagious. I didn't cross-pollinate anyone, to my knowledge.
@Max I'm certainly not thinking happy thoughts with regard to the parents of that little girl
Wonder how many others from that flight are also in as miserable a state?
One (of many) things that impressed me on some visits to Toyko a few years back were that riders on the commuter trains would wear surgical masks if they had a cough - they did this out of respect for others if they thought they might be contagious.
It might work the other way around too - keep a surgical mask in your carry-on next time you have to share a plane with a hacker (the wheezing and coughing type, not the software type) and wear it. Or take two along, and offer one to the germ-spreader.
@zeeglan: It might work the other way around too - keep a surgical mask in your carry-on next time you have to share a plane with a hacker (the wheezing and coughing type, not the software type) and wear it. Or take two along, and offer one to the germ-spreader.
Not a bad idea -- I'm starting to tend that way...
On a TAP flight from Lisbon to Harare once we were behind a guy who would cough up phlegm every couple of minutes into his handkerchief
Going back to an earlier conversation of ours where we discussed Afrikaans that didn't quite translate into English. I remember the signs in the trains which read in Afrikaans "Moenie Spoeg Nie" which when spoken is rather onomatopoeic. The English said- "Do Not Expectorate".
@Antedeluvian....Afrikaans is often very expressive like that. For example "Gatvol" (for non-South African readers, pronounced "GHutfoll" with emphasis on the GH) is much more experssive than "P155ed off" :-)
@David: ...we were behind a guy who would cough up phlegm every couple of minutes into his handkerchief, then open it up to see what he had brought up...
Now there's a man who needs a hobby.
FYI I remember reading that the aborigines in Australia and the Native Americans in North America were pretty much discusted when Europeans arrived wielding hankerchiefs -- thay couldn't wrap their heads around th econcept of blowing your nose in a hankerchief and then storing the result in your pocket.
@Max... In the book version of the James Bond story "You Only Live Twice", Tiger Tanaka, the head of the Japanese Secret Service, remonstrates with James Bond for exactly the same thing. Owing to the marvel of the internet I can reproduce it verbatim:
There was no handkerchief, only a packet of tissues. (Later, Tiger explained. 'Bondo-san, this Western habit of blowing the nose and carefully wrapping up the result in silk or fine linen and harbouring it in your pocket as if it were something precious! Would you do the same thing with the other excretions of your body? Exactly! So, if in Japan you wish to blow your nose, perform the act decorously and dispose at once, tidily, of the result.')
@betajet if you can be bothered with a lot of mouse clicks instead of turning pages you can read it here. As you say, miles apart from the film. I also thought the book was better - but I do think YOLT is probably the best Bond film.
> There's also a fun Australian character - Dikko Henderson??
I think the best James Bond film is From Russia with Love, a very close adaptation of the book. Superb cast, including Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya ("Seems fit"), and the great Mexican actor Pedro Armendáriz as Kerim Bey, the head of Turkish Security ("I've had a particularly fascinating life. Would you like to hear about it?").
While most Bond movies are gadget fests, From Russia with Love is instead about building trust between allied intelligence organizations though friendship and mutual respect. And there's a great gypsy cat fight :-)
As anyone can see by looking at the picture of the virus, all you need to inactivate the bug is to play golf with it -- that is, attach a golf ball to each of its 56 golf tees. Voila. But seriously, on one trip I actually wore a surgical mask, and really the only problem is that people look at you as if you are sick and keep their distance -- hmmm maybe that 2nd thing isn't so bad afterall...
I cannot wait for the time that they can perform real-time health checks at airports -- a little prick of the finger
Certain airports have pyrometers aimed at the passengers to see if anyone has a fever. I have seen them at Hong Kong and Johannesburg and I think at a pedestrian entry to mainland China through Hong Kong. I have never seen anyone stopped though.
and they thery say "you can get on -- but you have to come back next week" ...
Two problems- you are ascribing a degree of accuracy to medical diagnosis which I don't think exists and I am sure the airline will want compensation for changing the ticket- do you know how much that costs?!!
I was existing China hosting a bug I had caught and was scanned with the pyrometer on the forehead. As I stood there with the sweats, I hoped they did not ban me from entering Hong Kong and my flight home. They let me in - very poor screening if you ask me.
Maybe there can be "quarantine" seats on the plane. First class, business class, coach and quarantine. Quarantine is on the wing. (It can't be in the wing because isn't that where they store the fuel?)
I have about an 80% hit rate, as in I get sick on 80% of my trips. I don;t think it's always on the flight though. Spending a few days in an exhibit hall with thousands of people leads to a lot of germ attack opportunities too.
@Duane: Spending a few days in an exhibit hall with thousands of people leads to a lot of germ attack opportunities too.
That's a good point -- but I don't recall getting sick when flying to conferences back in the 1980s -- and those were the days when DAC attracted 20,000 attendees -- what's changed (apart from me getting older)?
@Elizabeth: In my experience, zinc appears to be helpful in reducing the length and severity of symptoms...
I don't usually take vitamins and stuff (I have an enduring belief that beer and bacon provide all the nutrients necessary to live a full and happy life), but for my next trip I plan on starting taking vitamin C and zink about a week before Ileave and keeping it up for a week after I return.
but for my next trip I plan on starting taking vitamin C and zink about a week before Ileave and keeping it up for a week after I return.
This is how you take Chloroquine, which is anti-malaria medication. I hope you don't get the same side -effects. It is only taken weekly. The first time it is nothing. Each subsequent time you feel a little worse- nausea, headache and by the end you would rather have the malaria.
I recall reading about an interesting experiment. Apparently, the key to avoid getting sick is to not touch your face - particularly around the eyes - unless your hands have been freshly washed.
In this experiment, there were 8 (I think) people sitting around a table playing cards. Four were in the highly contagious stage of a cold. The rest of the players were literally wearing dog cones to prevent them from touching their faces. They played cards for several hours, with nobody leaving the table or washing their hands until the end. There was lots of coughing and sneezing leading to plenty of airborne droplets. At the end of the experiement, the non-sick people were careful to wash their hands and faces before proceeding on.
End result? Nobody new got sick. Recommendation: Be very disciplined about not touching your face while flying and wash your hands frequently. With escalators, touchscreen check-ins, etc. you share a lot of germs with other people in the airports and planes.
As a corollary, I became very disciplined about using anti-bacterial hand-cleaners and washing my hands as soon as possible after dropping my kids off at day-care (when I used to do this). The frequency of the colds that I was getting dropped significantly.
Max, you are on target! Many recent studies show that old-fashioned soap and water works better than the "high-priced spreads" in terms of killing off the bad guys. Furthermore, those gels are a major contributor to the rate at which the little buggers mutate into anti-biotic resistant forms!
Re "We are being hoisted by our own petards, as it were...
Have you been watching that "Virus wipes out the world" mini-series:"
Since I have an aunt who is an Ivy League Professor of English Emeritus (and a renowned authority on Shakespeare), I feel compelled to point out that the proper citation is "HOIST by one's own petard...."
While I rarely watch much TV anymore (including scifi-ish programs, despite having been a voracious reader of that type of literature for a great many years), I suspect (without even having heard of said program) that such is likely as the ending of human history: "NOT WITH A BANG, BUT A WHIMPER..." On a similar note (IIRC) EM Forster, "The Machine Stops."
I thought after what happened the LAST time you were in ATL you'd never want to come here again.... Did you get the bundle of "lab photos" I sent you? I think my basement is a contender for the "Bob Pease Memorial Award" for messiest workbenches....
I'm considering it. Its a tempting thought but I need to make a count of vacation days etc. I also need to think of my elderly dog who I really don't like leaving at the boarding place for more than a few days.
And now you've reminded me of another reason that I don't like to fly.
Now of course if I could somehow hitch a ride on the corporate jet....
Since the company president and two VPs are hams, I doubt that I could convince them that it was a working trip. On the other hand it does somewhat improve the possibility that the corporate jet might be going that direction although probably not with me on it.
I might have better luck convincing them that I could learn all kinds of useful things at EElive... Need to think about this.
@Max...conversation starters.... my sister was at a very staid dinner once at a time when my dad and my other sister were overseas, in France. They sent us a letter in very bad French (Franglais is probably more accurate.. :-) Anyway someone asked my sister at the dinner, "How are you sister and your dad doing on their travels?" and she replied, "Fine, they sent us a french letter the other day!" After that their table was not so staid..... but I wonder if "french letter" will be understood by our American readers?
@David Ashton - Yes, this American knows what a french letter is! Same thing as a chapote anglais (english cap)! And it does not go on your head (not your cranium, anyway)! For those not in the know, it's a condom.
@JimFord....for an American you are unusually well-informed, I am impressed :-) However it is Capote Anglaise (although it goes on the male member, it is feminine so the anglaise gets an e on the end. And if you want a number of them, both words get the s: Capotes Anglaises. They are also good at protecting against certain kinds of dreaded lurgies!
Touche! Thanks for the corrections; my French is a bit rusty. I seem to remember one of the Gimmick book series with all (and I do mean all) the slang terms from French included. That's where I got my information. Where that most amusing and informative book ended up, I'm not sure. I think I lent it to somebody and never got it back. Zut-alors!
@Jim...that's incredible! I also had a gimmick - "Francais Parle par Adrienne" (sorry, difficult to do accents on my keyboard) where Adrienne was a long haired good looking girl on a mortorbike - is that the same one you had? It WAS a great book. But the strange thing is I also lent it to someone and did not get it back! Those books obviously have itchy feet!
Could be. I thought her name was Genevieve, though. So many women, so little time... Don't tell my wife! Seriously, I'm going to have to look up those books! Great stuff, not just for the naughty bits. Somebody I knew in high school had a German one as well. Should be able to find them on the Internet. Best to you!
My colleagues and I have a strategy when we travel, as suggested by a physician friend who travels extensively (this applies especially to long and/or oversease flights):
Hydrate, but stay isotonic. This strategy is based on the idea that if you keep yourself from drying out and also keep the pH in your UT slightly elevated, you avoid allowing in infections by circulating clean fluid through your system slowly but evenly. It is important to stay isotonic, though, which means you occasionally need electrolyte replenishment as well as merely H2O. Consume about 500cc per hour, and make sure at least 125cc of that are electrolyte-heavy but low-acidity (Gatorade, Vitamin Water, etc.) Also, by keeping your mucosal membranes from drying out, you can smother-out quite a few invasive bacteria and sweep-away many virii which would try to enter your body through exposed mucosal membranes that dry out.
Immune-system hyperboost immediately before and while in flight. Take 250mg Vit C and as much Zn as you can stand (it upsets some people's stomach, so determine this before you go). While in-flight, take another dose. If you have used Echinacea and found it helps you (it doesn't help everyone), you can take that, too.
Finally (and this depends on where your destination is), eat some yogurt or take some pro-biotic capsules. The other primary way that systemic infections invade is via the gut. If you flood your gut with friendly bacteria, they help not only by keeping the pH elevated so that virii find a hostile environment, they also keep invading bacteria at bay which is great if you're travelling somewhere that might have food with different fauna in it than what you're used to.
Get lots of rest if possible before and after your flight. It is almost impossible to overstate the value of being well-rested when going on a long flight - that boosts your immune response, too.
@liverdoner: Get lots of rest if possible before and after your flight. It is almost impossible to overstate the value of being well-rested when going on a long flight - that boosts your immune response, too.
I think this was the thing that really brought me low -- flying through the night to get to Brazil and then flying through the night again a couple of days later to come back. I wonder if I would hav ebeen brought so low if I'd been able to afford the business class where they now have fully reclining seats/beds?
@Max Maureen and I got Business class on a South African Airways flight from Perth to Johannesburg recently (thry could not get the plane's wheelchair in between the business class seats, so we had to stay there.....) and boy was it nice. The seats became a bed, and the seat control panel alone had 14 buttons on it. I dream of winning the lotto and flying business wherever I go....but I can attest that SAA business class is tops!
As you know, Max, I have been laid up the past few days with someting that resembles the dreaded lurgy, although in my case,the gastro-intestinal tract doesn't seem to be affected (I have claimed possession of a cast-iron stomach for many years). As I have not taken an air flight for several weeks, but have been assiduously present on these blogs, I wonder....
I just returned from a trip to Korea and China. On the Chinese portion of the trip I saw several people in public transportation spaces (airports, train stations, on the train and on aircraft) wearing masks. The number would be far less than 1% of those I saw. In China and Korea, announcements were made and screenings were performed to attempt to find any sick individuals entering the country. Ebola is a big concern in both countries. China had posted signs about the bird flu.
I think the airplane food attacked me when I was returning to the states from Beijing. My digestive track is still feeling the effects from the Wednesday afternoon flight.