Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Being sick is never fun. At best, you get a little stuffed up and that’s it. However, during and after an apocalypse getting sick could be devastating. By their very natures, germs spread: your whole intrepid band of survivors could become ill! That is nothing to sneeze at.

Some Hollywood productions would have us believe that the microbes and bacteria we encounter every day are powerful enough to fell super-beings who descended from the heavens! While, from a purely scientific standpoint, this may be true, there is nothing to say that the germs the aliens bring wouldn’t decimate Earth’s population. After all, the aliens would be Earth’s Conquistadors (think Spaniards and Aztecs).

It’s a no brainer that staying healthy is your best bet. Being sick is so not cute and it could be life threatening (especially when there are hulking beasts made of keratin, goo, and mandibles to contend with).

So what should you do to fortify your delicate fleshy immune system?

Eat a healthful diet
Fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as lean protein and whole grains, are a great way to get and keep your immune system running at peak efficiency. Basically, make sure you have a well-balanced diet with all the food groups present. For the record, you should totally start now. Knowing what to do is awesome, but knowledge doesn’t mean jack if you don’t put it into practice.

When the worst happens, you will still need to do your best to maintain a healthful diet. This will not be easy, but eating well while on the run is essential.

Move bitches!
I’m not much for exercise and sweating and soreness. That said, we need to get out there and move.

I don’t know the science behind it and I’m not going to pretend I do, but being active helps people stay healthy. I know that soreness (not pain) indicates that muscles are tearing and knitting themselves back together and getting stronger. I tell myself that sweating forces toxins and bad juju out of the body. (Don’t take that away from me! Sweat is not cute and this is an awesome coping mechanism. Cute workout clothes help too.) As far as the rest of it – why exercise helps boost the immune system, improves alertness and brain function, and decreases fatigue – I’m as clueless as the next lab bunny. But that doesn’t make it untrue.

Be sensible
Do not be fooled by the hype about cold and flu season! It is always cold and flu season. Bacteria doesn’t go on holiday in the summer. In extreme heat or extreme cold bacteria doesn’t survive so well. That only means that if the Earth is knocked off course by a rogue comet that forgot the Rules of the Cosmos, we might not have to worry about the sniffles ever again. On the other hand, we can freeze or cook as well.

Get your flu shot. Sometimes companies offer them to employees for free. Sometimes they are covered by health insurance. Pharmacies offer them (for a price). Admittedly, a flu shot might not be available when you are fighting to stay out of the mandible maw of a space beast, but getting it before the invasion can’t but help stave off sickness.

Wash your hands frequently. Don’t go all OCD and wash your own skin off: that’s not cute, it hurts, and does harm not good. Do wash before and after preparing food, after using the restroom, or other times you may have picked up some nasty germies. Be vigilant, but don’t go overboard: we don’t want to hurt your immune system by depriving it a few scrimmages with the enemy.

No one is an island
During pre- and post-apocalyptic times, friends and family are important. Sometimes we need people to lean on; we need helping hands. Getting sick might not be completely avoidable. Be prepared to ask for help. Be prepared to offer help.

I have occasional bouts of Sciatica. It sucks. Sometimes the pain is so bad that I cannot walk. If an apocalypse were to break out during a spell, I might be screwed. If I didn’t have friends and family who are willing to help me when it acts up, I would definitely be screwed.

Force Fluids
If you feel yourself starting to get sick, make sure to take in more fluids. Drink water, tea and broths. Avoid overdoing the sugar in tea and stay away from sodas if possible. Both regular and diet sodas are generally high in caffeine which is a diuretic. Drinking regular soda (particularly in excess) causes dramatic blood sugar spikes and drops because it is essentially a watered down syrup. Neither fits terribly well into a healthful diet.

How else can we avoid getting sick? What tips or tricks can you provide to help us defeat that microbial scum? Tell us in the comments!

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