Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Winter ills

Diseases tend to spike in the winter, and there are good reasons for that. But knowing it’s common doesn’t make it any easier to tolerate. I’ve been plagued with winter ills a bit more than usual this year. And we’re not even quite at the halfway point in the season.

For the past couple weeks, I’ve have had a case of yuckiness. I call it that because I don’t know what, exactly, it is: It’s a bit like a cold, a bit like a flu sort of thing, and it comes and goes. Or, maybe it’s been a series of little bugs. Either way, sometimes I’m sneezy, lately I’ve had a cough, and occasionally I feel as I have a fever, though I haven’t actually had one. Like I said, yuckiness. Still, nothing that a dose of paracetamol can’t improve.

The worst thing about the case of yuckiness is that it makes me feel tired and/or, well, yucky much of the time. Still, other times I feel pretty much okay, so I try to take advantage of those times.

The weirdest thing this year has been that I got dry and cracked lips, something I haven’t experienced since my last winter in Chicago, which would have been 1994-5. The reason, I think, is that this is the first year we’ve had a split-unit heat pump in the master bedroom. Last year, we had and a micathermic electric heater (which is now in my office, or in the guest room when someone stays the night). The heat pump is more energy efficient, of course, but it also blows hot air, which is drying. As an Illinois native, this is something I know very well.

I’ve used lip balm for years because I tend to breathe through my mouth when I’m sleeping. Several years ago I changed to the New Zealand company Ecostore’s brand of lip balm, rather than the name brand I’d always used, because Ecostore’s is made from beeswax rather than petroleum-based products. Since I was already using that, and had dry, cracked lips, I realised I needed something a bit stronger, for lack of a better word. But, what?

It’s been a very long time since I’ve had to deal with that problem, and that was in a different country, so I really had no idea how to proceed. Then I remembered this stuff called Carmex. What I remembered most about it was the little white glass jars with the yellow lids. I can remember friends in high school or university taking a little jar out of their puffy winter parkas to put some on, dropping it on the floor and it clattered and it rolled away. Later, I remember people using the tubes the company introduced.

So I went to the chemist I go to for my prescriptions, which is a pretty small place with not much variety in consumer products. But, they did have Carmex, and I bought the original version.

At first I was disappointed. The little white glass jar is now plastic. That shouldn’t have disappointed me: Band-Aid brand band aids and Sucrets are no longer sold in metal tins, after all. Despite that, the product is what matters, and it worked: In three or four days, the problem was sorted, and hasn’t returned after I resumed using my usual brand.

The fact I’ve been sick this winter isn’t unusual, even if I haven’t necessarily had conventional bugs or symptoms. The fact I had to go and buy some Carmex was very unusual, though. There had to be something. There always is.

The photo above is my own.

The products and/or names used or depicted are all registered trademarks, and are used here for purposes of description and clarity. No company or entity provided any support or payment for this blog post, and all products were purchased by me at normal retail prices. So, the opinions I expressed are my own genuinely held opinions, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturers, any retailer, or any known human being, alive or dead, real or corporate. Just so we’re clear.

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