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View Full Version : Getting Sick and Your Mind.



Razor Shines
11-28-2006, 12:21 PM
I am a district auditor for retail stores and yesterday I was in a Radio Shack. There was one guy who worked there who was coughing the whole time and looked really sick. At one point I was standing behind him writing and apparently he didn't know I was behind him. He turned away from the person he was speaking with and turned and coughed right in my face. I won't tell you what I wiped off of my tie. He was very apologetic and I tried to be as nice as I could. All I said to him was "What do you have and what are you taking?".

Well about 3 this morning I started getting really sick, cold sweat, sore throat, cough etc....

Now here is my question: If wasn't thinking about getting sick so much would I still have gotten sick? I know how sometimes a placebo can make someone feel better, so I wonder if it works the other way could I have psyched myself into getting sick? This may not make sense to anyone else, I've been taking quite a bit of Medicine. Any thoughts?

Redsland
11-28-2006, 12:41 PM
If you're spending time in retail stores at this time of year, then you're in a confined space with tons of people.

I'd say it's likely you caught something from someone.

oneupper
11-28-2006, 12:42 PM
You don't catch the flu from the weather...you catch if from other people.

It's not in your head, dude..you're sick.

Heath
11-28-2006, 01:04 PM
Worse yet, why are you auditing during Christmas? When I worked retail in the mid-90's for a Sporting Goods chain, they never did audits in December unless there was a managerial change.

Best times I've ever had was doing retail audits in college. I worked Mon-Fri 7am-5pm with an hour a lunch, paid dinner and hotel room (if it was longer than an hour drive), and got my regular hourly wage. I spent a whole summer doing audits.

Anyway Razor - I'd see a doctor or pound some OTC Meds. And tons of vitamin C and OJ.

Johnny Footstool
11-28-2006, 01:07 PM
Go see a doctor. That's why you pay for health insurance.

Razor Shines
11-28-2006, 02:08 PM
Worse yet, why are you auditing during Christmas? When I worked retail in the mid-90's for a Sporting Goods chain, they never did audits in December unless there was a managerial change.

Best times I've ever had was doing retail audits in college. I worked Mon-Fri 7am-5pm with an hour a lunch, paid dinner and hotel room (if it was longer than an hour drive), and got my regular hourly wage. I spent a whole summer doing audits.

Anyway Razor - I'd see a doctor or pound some OTC Meds. And tons of vitamin C and OJ.

I just do what Radio Shack's corporate office tells me to do. At Radio Shack I'm in the back room most of the time doing paper work, so I'm pretty much out of the way of shoppers.

And yeah, I'm going to the doctor later today. And I realize that I actually caught something, but I guess my original question should have been is it possible to talk yourself into being sick?

Johnny Footstool
11-28-2006, 02:31 PM
I just do what Radio Shack's corporate office tells me to do. At Radio Shack I'm in the back room most of the time doing paper work, so I'm pretty much out of the way of shoppers.

And yeah, I'm going to the doctor later today. And I realize that I actually caught something, but I guess my original question should have been is it possible to talk yourself into being sick?

Sure it is. Just like a placebo can make you feel better, you can convince yourself that you're sick.

However, I think the odds are you are actually sick this time.

15fan
11-28-2006, 04:40 PM
I've got someone who works for me who's a 100% certified hypochondriac, so I think it's possible to convince yourself that your sick.

This time of the year, though, I'd say you probably have something.

I work in an environment with a lot of college kids. My daughter is in daycare 3 days / week, and my wife is on an airplane about every other week. So someone in our house always has something.

I've found that Airborne works pretty well for me. If I take a couple for a couple days when I feel something coming on, it usually minimizes the discomfort and gets me back among the living a lot sooner.

Red in Chicago
11-28-2006, 08:36 PM
i think i'm getting sick from just reading this:angry:

there is nothing worse that having to be around people at work who come in when they are sick...sneezing, hacking and coughing up lungs all day long...personally, i think management should make these people go home...

there is a girl who sits two cubes in front of me...i think she's got whooping cough, she coughs so much...she came by me earlier today and i told her to get away...she just laughed so i sprayed her feet with lysol...i said if you don't leave now, the next squirt moves upwards...needless to say, she got the message...

vaticanplum
11-28-2006, 08:41 PM
I think you are actually sick because there's a lot going around, but you probably didn't get it from the Radio Shack dude. Usually by the time someone is showing symptoms that severe, most of the contagiousness has passed. The most contagious time for a virus or cold is the "incubation" stage before symptoms really come around. The virus attacks your body first; the snot and all forms of grody are actually the signs of your body trying to get it OUT (and succeeding). So the virus and germs are very weakened by that time.

That's a nice comforting thought for you the next time someone sneezes on your face, Red in Chicago. Most of the deadliest germs you're never going to see coming your way.

vaticanplum
11-28-2006, 08:51 PM
Oh, and also, generic germs are hearty little things, but most hardcore viruses have a hard time surviving in plein air. They attach with these little leggy-looking things and need something solid to hook onto. The dark, damp body with lots of fluid to attach to is a prime environment for them. But they die pretty quickly flying through the air.

That's why washing your hands is so important -- they come into contact with a lot of solids and the viruses come in right through your skin, through your eyes and mouth when you touch them, etc. And if a sick person sneezes on your skin, yes, that's bad news. But viruses just meandering through the air, they're pretty frail, especially when it's not very cold.

TeamCasey
11-28-2006, 08:52 PM
Usually by the time someone is showing symptoms that severe, most of the contagiousness has passed. The most contagious time for a virus or cold is the "incubation" stage before symptoms really come around. The virus attacks your body first; the snot and all forms of grody are actually the signs of your body trying to get it OUT (and succeeding). So the virus and germs are very weakened by that time.

I somewhat disagree. That sneezing, coughing is the body's way of shedding the virus. Some people think they aren't contagious at all then. They're wrong.

Colds are most contagious during the first 2 to 4 days after symptoms appear, and may be contagious for up to 3 weeks. Your can catch a cold from person-to-person contact or by breathing in virus particles that are spread through the air by sneezing or coughing. Touching the mouth or nose after touching skin or another surface contaminated with a rhinovirus can also spread a cold.

vaticanplum
11-28-2006, 09:03 PM
I somewhat disagree. That sneezing, coughing is the body's way of shedding the virus. Some people think they aren't contagious at all then. They're wrong.

Colds are most contagious during the first 2 to 4 days after symptoms appear, and may be contagious for up to 3 weeks. Your can catch a cold from person-to-person contact or by breathing in virus particles that are spread through the air by sneezing or coughing. Touching the mouth or nose after touching skin or another surface contaminated with a rhinovirus can also spread a cold.

All of those things are much more likely to happen in cold temperatures, and it hasn't been very cold lately. Viruses in the air can't replicate in warm temperatures and only the strongest can even do so at room temperature (those are viruses to which Americans aren't typically exposed, I think). In these temps, I don't think a virus could survive 4 days after symptoms appear, and maybe not even 2.

This is all why people get flu shots in the winter. The cold air in the lungs and nose makes it easier for the virus to replicate, survive and spread. And the influenza virus is a respiratory condition, that's why the virus doesn't go deeper -- it can't survive in the warmth of the human core. This is compounded by the fact that people are in closer contact indoors in the winter and by the fact that cold temperatures cause body surfaces (lips, hands) to crack, making the spreading easier. And also because the sun gives us vitamin D so most of us are D-deficient in the winter, especially the elderly which is one reason they're so susceptible to illness. Vitamin D has a half life of just two days so in the northern US you couldn't get enough vitamin D between October and March if you were an albino lying naked outside for 12 hours a day.

Larkin Fan
11-28-2006, 10:09 PM
I think you are actually sick because there's a lot going around, but you probably didn't get it from the Radio Shack dude. Usually by the time someone is showing symptoms that severe, most of the contagiousness has passed. The most contagious time for a virus or cold is the "incubation" stage before symptoms really come around. The virus attacks your body first; the snot and all forms of grody are actually the signs of your body trying to get it OUT (and succeeding). So the virus and germs are very weakened by that time.

This actually isn't correct. Current research has shown that viral reproduction begins within 30 minutes of the viral organism entering the nasal cavity. After that, it takes about eight to twelve hours for the virus to be present in the nasal mucus. At this point, you are contagious and will be for up to two weeks. The virus will continue rapidly reproducing for three days after this and this is known as the high point of your contagiousness period. You are still very much contagious when you are symptomatic.

Contagiousness decreases over the course of two weeks as the immune system finally rallies its defenses and begins to knock off the pathogen. Even with the immune response, the virus is still present in mucus in decreasing amounts for that amount of time. Until the virus is completed eliminated from the nasal secretions, you're contagious.

Viruses also do not replicate in the air. The basic definition of a viral organism states that a host cell is required for reproduction. The viral pathogens that cause the common cold (rhinovirus, coronavirus, and also certain members of the echovirus, paramyxovirus, and coxsackievirus families) exist year round simply because they live in the human nasal cavity. Cold weather just exacerbates the number of cases we see in the winter because of the fact everyone is in such close quarters, making these viruses much easier to spread.

Blimpie
11-28-2006, 10:13 PM
Sounds like Walking Ebola. Nice of that guy to spread the holiday cheer....

vaticanplum
11-28-2006, 10:17 PM
Well, you certainly sound like you know what you're talking about, so I stand corrected. Except on this bit:


Viruses also do not replicate in the air. The basic definition of a viral organism states that a host cell is required for reproduction. The viral pathogens that cause the common cold (rhinovirus, coronavirus, and also certain members of the echovirus, paramyxovirus, and coxsackievirus families) exist year round simply because they live in the human nasal cavity. Cold weather just exacerbates the number of cases we see in the winter because of the fact everyone is in such close quarters, making these viruses much easier to spread.

I misstated myself about viruses replicating in the air; it is true that they need something to latch onto. But I am almost positive that they replicate best at cold temperatures. The close quarters thing is part of it too, but the cold weather...is that new information? I always thought traditional science held that viruses survive best in the cold.

Spring~Fields
11-28-2006, 10:24 PM
I read it and am starting to get the same symptoms. I knew I should have updated my virus scanner.

I will try some Benadryl to see if stops it, since it just showed up.

Falls City Beer
11-28-2006, 10:29 PM
I thought the cold weather thing was a combination of close quarters mixed with the attenuation of the immune system due to the cold. But what do I know?

vaticanplum
11-28-2006, 10:34 PM
OMG in trying to research this I hit on a site where you can pretend to be a virus and it will walk you through the steps of your life. I understand about two words of it but it's awesome. Like Choose Your Own Adventure but for viruses.

http://www-micro.msb.le.ac.uk/tutorials/balti/balti.html

Will someone please tell me to get back to work.

Larkin Fan
11-28-2006, 11:55 PM
Well, you certainly sound like you know what you're talking about, so I stand corrected. Except on this bit:



I misstated myself about viruses replicating in the air; it is true that they need something to latch onto. But I am almost positive that they replicate best at cold temperatures. The close quarters thing is part of it too, but the cold weather...is that new information? I always thought traditional science held that viruses survive best in the cold.

I hope I know what I'm talking about. I'm a pre-med microbiology major. :)

The cold viruses replicate best at a temperature that is slightly lower than body temperature. You are right about that fact. But that doesn't mean that they cannot replicate at a higher temperature. Every virus has an optimal temperature at which they function best and temperatures at which the effects are lethal to the virus, so they can function at a variety of temperatures until they reach those points (generally an extremely low and extremely high temperature). The viruses can also survive outside of the body for several hours, regardless of temperature, on different surfaces such as doorknobs, handles, desks, etc. and that's why they are so easily transferred.

People still get the infamous summer cold, which the true viral infections (those not related to hay fever) are caused by the same families of viruses that I mentioned in my earlier post. Several studies have demonstrated that cold weather does not affect the immune system's ability to fight/resist infection, so the popular opinion among the medical community now is that the reason that colds are more prevalent in the winter is because of the fact that people are stuck indoors and closer together, increasing the chances of spreading the viruses. In the colder months, the air is also drier which enhances the chance for the survival of some viruses. That is really the extent of the cold weather's effect on viruses in the winter. The rest depends completely on viral transmission from host to host and interaction/replication within the host.

And now I must get back to studying molecular genetics.