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    • #21191
      Brittany Foster
      Keymaster

      It’s getting to be that time of year again. I just received the flu vaccine two days ago and my doctor reminded my to take proper precautions to help prevent sickness and worsening PH symptoms. For me, the Fall into the Winter are the hardest months with common colds, viruses, the flu, stomach bugs, air infections, strep throat etc. I feel like every year I am hit with a combination of all of these and my immune system really takes a beating.

      To help protect myself as best I can, I make sure to wash my hands frequently, especially when I am around younger children. I have hand sanitizer for when I can’t get to a sink and soap. If people around me are really sick I try my best to avoid being in their presence. I use disinfectant spray and wipes daily around my house to kill off unwanted germs.

      How do you help protect yourself against sickness? Do you use a mask for your protection when you are out in public or when you are sick?

    • #21194
      Colleen Steele
      Keymaster

      We still have to get out flu vaccine, actually Cullen will probably get his at an appointment later today.

      So on a funny note about how my son protects himself…He is taking a communications class in college. The 1st week of school he was asked to share something about himself with the class. So of course he shared that he had a transplant and why he wears a mask. Then he adds, “If anyone comes near me with a cold or the flu it will kill me!” Not, it could put him at risk of getting very sick, but it WILL kill him!

      He said the class was silent and they all looked like a deer in headlights. I told him he probably freaked everyone out. He said, “Good, at least they will think twice before coming to school sick!”

      I can’t believe he told them that! LOL!

      • #21204
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Colleen,
        LOL that is awesome actually that your son shared that with the class. I’m glad he is speaking up about it. I am sure that all the kids were shocked and were NOT expecting that haha! Talk about an ice breaker, I bet they were all like a deer in the headlights. I’m sure the teacher was too. Now they will all think twice about protecting themselves. Luckily for him he has a lot of experience with open communication !

        • #21213
          Colleen Steele
          Keymaster

          Brittany, he has suddenly become more vocal about what he has been through. Since he started college he seems a little less concerned about how people might treat him if they know his full story. He doesn’t want his identity to be based on his transplant and PH. This time he decided to just get it over with…this is why I wear the mask…then move on. Best of all, no one in his class is treating him any differently. He also really wanted people to understand the importance of not exposing others to illness.

    • #21198
      Robin Webster
      Participant

      Ok. Here’s where my bossy, militant personality really comes out. I get my flu shot, avoid crowded indoor places (especially those where sick people tend to show up even though they shouldn’t … funeral homes, grocery stores, pharmacies.) I am vocal about asking a visibly sick person to “respect my space” — given my health circumstances — when they try to enter my office at work or try to handle something I will then have to handle (such as reach for my phone, etc.) If an employee is sick, I insist that they stay home with their germy self. I do the online ordering and curbside pickup for my groceries during cold and flu season. I avoid airline travel during that time, as well, but if I have to travel I will use a mask (even though I know it’s minimal protection.) I never, ever, ever touch door handles. I use my sleeve or shirt tail or coat. If there are handicap “buttons” to open the door, I press them with my elbows and just wait for it to open. If I eat at a buffet (which is rare) I never touch the utensil handles. I use a napkin to hold them. At doctor visits I touch nothing … not the chair arm rests, not a magazine. If I have to use a kiosk to sign in, I touch the screen with my knuckle instead of my fingertips. (Much less chance of the knuckle touching my eye, nose or mouth.) If they try to put an oximeter on my finger, I reach in my purse and use my own. If I have to sign something, I reach in my purse and get out my own pen. If someone tries to hand me their phone to look at a photo, I ask them to send it to me instead. And if I feel something coming on, even the slightest bit, I immediately shut down. I stay home, rest on the couch, drink more fluids than I know my cardiologist allows (lol!), and take some Benadryl to keep it dried up in my head so it doesn’t settle into my lungs. But I think the number one thing I do is that I wash my hands like a surgeon! I’m not kidding. It’s a wonder the skin on my hands isn’t raw. Most people don’t really know how to wash their hands, or else they just don’t care. (I am a casual observer of this in restrooms, etc. Jeez. Just turning on the faucet and sticking your hands under their for two seconds isn’t going to cut it, people! haha! I scrub up like I’m going in to perform surgery and I’ve just handled raw poultry. The fingernail brush, the whole deal!) I wasn’t always this extreme (I used to just refrain from putting my hand on the rail of escalators) but in the past seven years it has become second nature to me and I don’t even have to think about it. I’m weird now … and I’m not even a little bit sorry.

      • #21205
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Robin, it seems like you are taking good care of your health and doing all that you can to protect yourself against all of this. Gotta do what you gotta do, no matter how that may come across to others. People need to have respect for our health and respect for our boundaries, especially if we are vocal about stating them. I think it’s great that you have these expectations of others and expect them to follow it.

      • #21212
        Colleen Steele
        Keymaster

        Robin, many of the things that you are doing my son was advised to do after transplant. It was actually suggested that he not attend buffet’s at all. He avoids touching things by using his elbows, especially for doors. Like Brittany said, “You do what you have to do.” When it’s a choice between feelings or your life it’s understandable that you would choose life.

    • #21211
      Sunny Simson
      Participant

      As for me, I try to wash my hands often and do not share personal items as well as avoid the crowd during the period of acute illness. Nevertheless, the best protection for me is to be vaccinated.

      • #21214
        Colleen Steele
        Keymaster

        Sunny, I think doing those 3 things you mentioned goes a long way in staying healthy. Avoiding crowds is another biggie that my son does. He has turned down attending certain things at certain times of the year for that very reason.

      • #21241
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Not sharing personal items is another good one. I feel like I have always been one to be like “oh here I have chapstick if you need it ” to one of my friends or sharing a straw from their cup or something. I definitely need to be more cautious about that that’s for sure ! I’m glas you get your vaccines. I just got my flu shot .

        • #21260
          Colleen Steele
          Keymaster

          I agree, not sharing personal items is a good safety precaution to practice. I might add that this applies to not sharing with family members too. We became more attentive to this post-transplant. You might think since it’s a family member sharing a sip of there beverage or taking a bite of something from a utensil they used would be ok. Living with someone puts you at risk of catching whatever they come down with and sharing personal items increases those odds. They could also have a virus that they aren’t symptomatic with but would cause issues for you.

    • #21286
      Jimi Mcintosh
      Participant

      I protect myself by getting the flu, pneumonia, shingles and any available booster shots. I try to get seats at games in the less congested areas, at public events, read the CDC recommendations on new viral strains, and areas with frequent outbreaks. Try to blend in, rather than standing out, let the people I spend time with to be aware of special requirements. Keep a CB list of medications, Dr names and numbers, keep medical alert updated on my phone and refer to “jump drive” in my pocket, with more detailed info. I change the cabin filter on my vehicles more frequently, along with HVAC filters. Avoid areas where smokers and vapers gather. Avoid areas where people are wearing loud fragrances and oils

      I avoid eating or drinking after my grandkids, they bring all new germs home
      from daycare or school. I received a warning from the county, because my medical suppliers had forgotten to place an “oxygen in use” sign on the front door, warning emergency responders.

    • #21671
      Sarah
      Participant

      Wow! What great ideas to stay safe. One thing someone suggested to me was to carry spray disinfectant in my purse (not anti-biotic) and spray the menu and table in a restaurant.

      Another thing I’ve learned is to stop being so meek. Once, as I was checking in for a same-day surgical procedure, the girl at the front desk was wiping snot on two totally wet tissues as she handled my id card. I said, “You have a cold?” and she replied “Yes, I wash my hands a lot.” That was my cue to say “Why don’t you do that now.”

      Instead, I wimped out, which was bad enough, but then she used her snotty hands to put on my bracelet for the surgery. Huh? I used my sanitizer spray to clean my bracelet and my ID card, but made up my mind to speak up, even if I am mocked.

      I was in the ER once for an infection from a minor surgery on my face (skin cancer) and since I had pain, swelling and a red line running down my neck from the infection (and had reason to suspect that the dr. had not washed his hands thoroughly) I asked the attending dr. to wash his hands before touching me. They put it on my chart and the orderly giggled when he washed his hands prior to cutting off my bracelet.

      So be it. Let them laugh. They are not the ones who suffer.

      • #21673
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Sarah,
        I totally agree! Let them laugh all they want. It is OUR life that we have to worry about and other people not washing their hands properly, especially those in the medical profession is just plain ignorant. And the fact that they laughed just makes it way worse. I am glad that you are going to speak up though. We need to speak up for our health and our safety and be our own best advocates.

    • #21746
      Cristi Starling
      Participant

      Besides all the previously mentioned precautions, my son’s dietitian told me our body’s first line of defense is in our gut. A quality probiotic can greatly help your immune system stay strong.
      My son goes to school with all those hacking snotty kids. I have do fight internally;)

      • #21756
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Cristi,
        so true about the gut health! I have been learning more about that since getting diagnosed with a motility disorder after my heart surgery and I also had recurring cdiff for a little over a year last year and the year before. During that time my immune system took a real hit and I felt like I was catching everything and anything. My doctor did tell me that probiotics are no longer necessary because I had the fecal transplant through pills that are currently being studied. She said those were my body’s probiotics . But maintaining a healthy gut is so important for over all wellness and I’m glad you brought this up!

    • #21806
      ronald cole
      Participant

      Hello Everyone,
      I have not been on lately, I feel my PH is worsening. I am weaker, so much more tired. I was given a gift by the STATE OF TEXAS. I have a wonderful woman coming in 3 days a week for 5 hours each day, cleaning, changing the bed, laundry, and some cooking which for me is a Godsend.

      I have developed little tricks with Hand sanitizer, I use the advanced Natural. I have 3 bottles, I use for my Hands, and also once a week I put a drop on my toothbrush, rub it in and then rinse with cold water. I love the idea of using a bacteria-free toothbrush.
      I also take some in my hands and wipe down my cpap machine and hose on the outside, if it kills 99.9 percent of bacteria, think of having sterilized Items around the home.
      Just a thought, we do not need any more problems than we have now. Happy Thanksgiving to all and God Bless everyone here. Ron

      • #21813
        Colleen Steele
        Keymaster

        @texas2018 I am so sorry to hear that you have been experiencing decline. It must be a blessing to have a helper come in several times a week. Hopefully that bit of assistance has been a way for you to conserve your energy and enjoy the company when she is there.

        It is always good to hear from you! Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for the tips!

      • #21825
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Ron,
        You are such a wonderful person and I hate that you are going through so much right now. I am glad that your state is getting you the care that you need and deserve. That must be a huge help to get that extra set of hands around the house and also someone to watch out for your health. I have a home nurse that comes one or 2 times per week depending on how I am feeling and it really makes a huge difference for me. I hope you have a great holiday and a good Thanksgiving and that you enjoy each moment the best you can. Thinking of you!

    • #21807
      Cristi Starling
      Participant

      Fyi- hydrogen peroxide is just as good at killing germs for toothbrush, surfaces, etc.

      • #21826
        Brittany Foster
        Keymaster

        Cristi,
        Good tip! I have never heard of that being used on surfaces before. Makes sense though. People put peroxide in their toothpaste to kill mouth bacteria so I guess it would work for surface bacteria too!

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