Warriors of cold and flu season


When Science Met Nature…

Jessica’s Science Blog- 02.03.18

Warriors of cold and flu season

One way to pass the time if you’re sick

Today is Saturday, February 3rd, the day before Super Bowl Sunday. As I sit on the couch, sipping green tea and watching an episode of Mosaic, Steven Soderbergh’s exciting murder mystery series for HBO, I’m taking a moment to reflect on my first month of 2018. Some exciting new adventures are in the works, which I’ll share with you in the coming months.

One other development in the new year has been the ushering in of a particularly nasty cold and flu season. Reportedly, multiple Philadelphia Eagles players have come down with the flu. Several of my friends and family have recently suffered through sinus infections or flu-like symptoms. Misery loves company, and I’m in the sinus infection club.

In a futile attempt to alleviate some of my symptoms, I’ve converted our bathroom into a make-shift steam room. I’ve drunk copious amounts of gatorade, hot tea, tomato juice, Emergen-C, NyQuil, and chicken soup. I’ve gargled with salt water. I’ve ingested ginger, turmeric, garlic, lemongrass, honey, and elderberry, some of nature’s antivirals and antibiotics. I’ve alternated between tylenol and ibuprofen to knock out fevers. I’ve voluntarily slept on the couch, so that my coughing wouldn’t disturb my partner. I’ve been prescribed doxycycline, Tamiflu, and Zpac.

I’ve lost many battles. But, I plan to win the war. Like a Katniss Everdeen of cold and flu season. At long last, I bought a neti pot. I wonder if all of this could have been avoided if I had a daily regimen of flushing out my sinuses with a saline solution during cold and flu season?

Schematic of the immune system

It’s amazing to me how long this infection has lingered in my sinuses. It’s been about 31 days since I noticed the first symptoms. I’ve heard that the immune system has trouble fighting off infection in sinus cavities.

One of my biggest challenges has been to balance daily activities with rest and recovery. I tend to overdo things when I feel better, which puts me right back to where I was days before. It’s been frustrating.

One thing that I’m incredibly grateful for is my strong female friendships. I really don’t know what I’d do without my core group of friends. You know who you are. Most of you are scattered across the country. and I miss you every single day. I wish I had more $$ so that I could travel and spend the weekend with you.

But first, I need to have a serious talk with my white blood cells. Let’s work together, guys. I need your full cooperation. There are big things to do. I can’t wait to do them.

As for tomorrow, all I have to say is: E-A-G-L-E-S….Go Eagles!!!!


If you liked this post, be sure to check out my previous blog entries on When Science Met Nature….

JAN: Adult snow days

NOV: Gorillas have sex, too

OCT: Frogs and spiders, oh my! Surprising food web dynamics in neotropical swamps

SEP: The Long Trail

JUN, JUL, AUG: Tales from a far-flung forest: parts 1, 2, and 3,

MAY: We can be heroes! Finding your community on iNaturalist

FROM 2016: The health benefits of yoga: A scientific perspective.


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