I’ve recently returned to my home in Spain after spending just over a week in the UK to see family over Christmas and New Year. On the first 2 days, I was struck down with a 24 hour vomiting bug, more than likely picked up on the plane there. And on the way back, I have what feels like a very mild flu, again most likely picked up on the plane returning.
I have hot and cold flushes, headaches, muscle and joint pain, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, fatigue, congestion and all the other symptoms you associate with the flu.
What is surprising is, however, I travel a lot, and I mean a lot, and the worst thing I usually get is what I call ‘Aeroplane Airways’, where the air conditioning dries out the respiratory system including the nose, causing a hoarse voice, a dry cough and stinging eyes, and this usually sorts itself out in around 2 days.
Whereas this, I believe has been caused by travelling with the great unwashed. I’m not being a snob, but there were people on the flights there and back who were obviously ill, who were coughing a spluttering all over the place, and not even covering their mouths with a tissue or even their hand.
Not to mention the charming gentleman sat behind me who sounded like he was either trying to hock up a grand piano or was about to enter the Spittoon World Championships. Then there were the usual screaming kids who obviously never have been taught ‘Coughs and Sneezes spread Diseases’.
So, after waking early to get to the airport with bags of time I sat in the airport reading my newspaper with a coffee, and I wasn’t feeling great then. Stomach cramps, hot and cold flushes and dizziness. This is practically alien to me, firstly because of Spain has quite a low instance of Flu outbreaks, partly because the Flu Virus likes the cold, but also the diet in Spain is a very healthy one, meaning the immune system is able to bounce back pretty rapidly.
So you can see why it’s not only surprised me that I’ve been ill twice in as many weeks, but also highly irritated me that people haven’t used common courtesy when it comes to coughing and sneezing. It’s not hard to carry a few tissues with you, or even a face mask if you’re not well. Also these facemasks can prevent you from becoming ill. The Chinese have the right idea when flying, they nearly always wear these masks.
So yes, to all of you people who cough, splutter, sneeze, spit and just generally do it with gay abandon, remember, you’re a major part of the problem, because you’re the ones spreading it.
Hand sanitization is one of the most important things you can do to prevent the spread of nasties, and if you must cough up half a lung, do it into a tissue, take the tissue to the toilet and dispose of it, wash your hands thoroughly, and make sure you replenish your tissue supply.