Man flu: the deadly strain women don’t understand!
This week I just wanted to share with you an observation that I have recently cleared up in my own mind. It’s actually really simple and obvious stuff, and I should imagine a lot of clean-living healthy people already know this, or at least they will read this and instantly agree and see that it is all really quite obvious, and most unhealthy people will disagree, call me names and declare that I have no idea what I am writing about. Such is life.
When I was 17, or 18, 19 or 20…and probably up to my early 30’s, I hated catching a cold. Coughs and colds are murder to a smoker, or at least they certainly were to me. For one, as a smoker, your throat is under attack every day because of your smoking, so when it is sore and inflamed with coughs and colds, it is far more sore and dry and painful than the throat of the average non-smoker who has a cough or a cold. Secondly, if the painful throat is bad enough, it will actually stop you from smoking, or at least reduce you down to just a few quick puffs per day – and that is really guaranteed to ruin your day! Few things make you grumpier than being a smoker who can’t smoke!!
So during the many years I smoked, but particularly when I was young, very overweight, very out of shape and a really heavy smoker, I would catch coughs and colds several times each year and I hated them, they were a real misery.
Sinister, deadly ‘man-flu’
Commonly these days, a lot of men like to take a day or two off work sick when they have a cold, and they feel like wimps if they call work and say “I’ve got a cold” so they say “I’ve got flu” and this justifies a day off…it also gives rise to all the ‘man flu’ jokes and the women who poke fun at these wimp-men who take a damn day off for a sore throat and a stuffy nose! Keep going ladies, they deserve all they get in my opinion!
Now when I was unhealthy – smoking, fat, drinking, eating a rubbish diet and not exercising – having a cold was hell. Let me talk you through the joyous experience of a typical cold when I was a younger man.
- A tickle in my throat, usually in the afternoon or early evening would be the first sign.
- By bed time, that would be a full-on sore throat, with the tell-tale feeling that left me in no doubt that I had a cold coming.
- That first night would go rapidly downhill, with my sore throat waking me in the night, dray, rasping, waking me coughing.
- I would wake with a throat that felt like it had been sand-papered in my sleep.
- So would begin 24 to 36 hours of ‘throat hell’ where endless hot drinks would bring just about enough relief to manage to smoke 3 or 4 ciggies throughout the day…but constantly pain and coughing the rest of the time.
- After throat hell eased, I would feel it move to my nasal passages, and so throat hell would be replaced by 48 hours of ‘nose hell’!!
- As nose hell started, I would be relieved that my throat was less painful, but within hours the inability to breathe through my own nose would drive me crazy. Breathing through your mouth all the time dries your mouth out and makes your throat sore again, it makes you snore at night, it makes you constantly thirsty, it’s uncomfortable. My nose would be horribly blocked and all the blowing in the world wouldn’t stop it…the grunge would just keep on coming out endlessly. Yuk!!!
- After nose hell eased, I would then have 2 more days feeling under the weather, still full of it, and then finally a long ‘tail off’ period, about 1 week to 10 days for my nasal passages to finally return to normal and clear themselves completely. In total, the nasty bit was 4 to 5 days, plus 2 more not very nice days, plus then 1 week or more of ‘drag’ on the end. Not nice. That’s ‘man flu’ that is. Yuk. Nasty stuff!!
When I recall how it felt to have a cold, back then, I understand why so many people call into work sick and take a day or two off, calling it flu. Having a cold back then really did make me feel awful, and it really was painful and unpleasant.
But now I am healthy!
Now, by contrast, let’s now talk through my recent experience of a typical cold now that I am super-healthy.
- Late afternoon, a few days ago, I felt a faint tickle in my throat. My throat was a little dry throughout that evening and I coughed a few times.
- I woke a couple of times that night for a sip of water, as my throat still felt dry. I coughed half a dozen times through the night, no big deal.
- My throat was dry when I woke in the morning. My nose felt a little stuffy, just a little.
- By the time I had had a hot drink, some food, some fresh air and some light exercise, by late morning, I could detect nothing unusual, the ‘cold’ had passed.
- That was it. Start to finish in 17 hours and no one noticed.
Now, this is the difference between catching a cold when you are a healthy person, and when you are not. Let me just explain what all that mucous and phlegm and grunge is that comes out of you when you have a cough or a cold.
I have written elsewhere on this site (I think…) that everything that goes IN to your body, you must either USE or ELIMINATE. So everything you eat, drink, inhale (smoke, air, exhaust fumes, etc.,) rub on your skin, sniff up your nose, breathe in through the air around your head (ummm tasty hairspray anyone??) is all part of the sum total of ‘what goes in to your body’. Somehow, your body has to use this stuff, or eliminate it. The good things can be used – nice proteins, vitamins and minerals, some healthy fats, etc. Everything else has to be eliminated, or removed.
Everything that comes OUT of your body, except for blood in the case of a cut of injury, and reproductive fluids, is a form of elimination. Snot, poops, pee, phlegm, mucous, vomit, night-sweats, greasy skin, coughs, sneezes, greasy hair, acne, boils, athletes foot, skin rashes, hives, ear wax, yeast, unwelcome discharges and so on…these are all forms of elimination, these are all ways your body can rid itself of the stuff that builds up inside and must come out. When your body senses a serious poison (like if you drink bleach or something really dumb like that…or too much alcohol perhaps??) and it has to take drastic and rapid action to purge/eliminate rapidly, it goes for the ‘big action response’ with heavy vomiting. Equally, if the required elimination is further on in the digestive process, diarrhoea is the rapid-elimination process of choice.
Lower level responses, when the elimination is somewhat less urgent, include mucous, phlegm, soaking night-sweats, acne, and so on.
A cold is just ‘house keeping’ inside your body
So when you ‘catch a cold’, and all that unpleasant grunge is pouring out of you, that’s just your bodies way of eliminating some of the crap that’s stored up inside you. Germs are not the cause of the illness, germs are ‘little workers’ that get inside your body and go to work cleaning up the mess.
When there is a lot of mess, that clean up job is big and nasty – like my above description of my typical experience of having a cold when I was unhealthy. When there is not much mess, that clean up job is pretty quick and pretty painless – like my above description of the cold I had last week.
Ever wondered why so many people ‘catch a cold’ or ‘are full of flu’ in January? After all the excesses of the Christmas season and the New Year celebrations, after all that alcohol, the parties, the late nights, the cakes and chocolates, the sweets and puddings, the family gatherings, eating til you are stuffed full? Can you see a connection now? Shortly after all that consumption, the bad bits have to make their way out again.
Now the irony is, when an unhealthy person has a cold and they look and sound awful, everyone is sympathetic to them, “Ah poor you that’s a nasty one you’ve got there” and so on. Yet when one of us ‘health freaks’ has the slightest sniffle, we are told “Ha ha, you’ve got a cold too, see, all that healthy eating crap you do and you still get ill like the rest of us” and if we dare to ever say we feel weary and below par, we are told “Well that cold you’ve got seems very light, I don’t know what you’re making all the fuss about, stop being a wimp!” Oh the irony!
Think about it. The severity of the symptoms is in direct relationship to the persons inner good health. If you don’t like feeling dreadful when you catch a cold or cough, try living a healthier lifestyle all year round…you’ll still catch bugs from time to time but they will be so light you will barely notice - even though I have 3 young kids who often have bugs and I avoid most of them…my 17 hour episode last week was my first one in 11 months, not bad really, 17 hours out of 11 months.
So now when I see someone healthy looking, with a slight sniff, I know they are only likely to feel below par for 1 day, 2 at most, and it’s no big deal. When I see men moaning they are ‘full of flu’ or ‘picked up a really nasty bug’ then I know they are suffering because they are unhealthy and they eat and drink too much rubbish throughout the year and their body is flushing it all out. Moaning you have man flu is just a confession that you are an unhealthy person living an unhealthy lifestyle.
Man up, you wimps.