A Healthy Streak I Would Like to Continue

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by Athena Merritt |

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Right around this time last year, I was cobbling together homemade chicken soup to get rid of a cold. My victory was short-lived, because a second wave struck a week later. 

That’s long been my M.O. — battling an endless series of colds, viruses, and sinus infections. That’s why, as others rush to get back to life as it was, I’m thinking about holding on to some of life as we know it now. 

It’s been eight months since I’ve had a cold or a sinus infection. I know it’s not nearly as impressive as “How I Met Your Mother” character Ted being “vomit-free since ’93,” a joke explained by Screen Rant. But, as someone seemingly lacking a robust immune system, it’s incredible. 

Avoiding illnesses make days with sarcoidosis seem that much lighter. I want to continue my current healthy streak for as long as possible. So, I’m keeping some recent changes in place even after the pandemic ends. 

I’ve always tried to steer clear of sick people and ward off germs, a lesson driven home by my love-hate relationship with prednisone. This year has provided a permanent excuse to avoid unwanted handshakes and hugs, which the Mayo Clinic reports are several ways the common cold spreads.

Hey, stare all you want — masking up when it will help prevent illness is a practice I’m holding on to. I used to feel like masks were a flashing beacon announcing my vulnerability. But thanks to uniform use, they have become an extension of style to add a layer of protection. 

Gone, too, are my days of lingering in close contact with strangers during the height of flu and cold seasons. I plan to stay 6 feet away and shop as I shop now: quickly and with as few trips as necessary. 

I’m also hanging on to my habit of removing my shoes before entering my home and treating everything potentially touched by others as contaminated. Doing so serves as a constant reminder to combat germs by taking steps such as hand washing and wiping down surfaces. 

We’ve been given a huge helping hand in staying well this year. More employers have embraced working remotely, people must wear masks in public, and remaining socially distanced is commonplace. But when safeguards are lifted, we will face the same old threats we always have. 

In an online survey last year of 2,800 workers in 28 U.S. cities:

  • 90% of professionals admitted going to work with cold or flu symptoms   
  • 33% said they always go to the office, even if they’re sick
  • 54% said they go in sick because they have “too much work” 
  • 40% said they go in sick because they don’t want to use sick time

I can’t change other people’s behaviors. But this year has made me realize that cycles of sickness are a norm I can change. 


Brighter side: We all could use a break from bad news right now. So, I’ll be closing my columns with a roundup of positivity until we are able to say goodbye to masks, hug our loved ones, and leave our homes without fear.

  • Brewing kindness: A New York brewery has debuted a limited-edition beer to help hospitality workers left jobless by the pandemic, Newsday reported. A four-pack of the 16-ounce India pale ale, called “Hopspitality,” costs $20. It’s a collaboration of the Long Ireland Beer Co. in Riverhead, radio station WBAB/102.3 FM, and the Long Island Hospitality Association trade group.
  • Spinning tales: If you can’t imagine being entertained by wool, you aren’t among Washington-based artist Andrea Love’s 500,000-plus Instagram followers. Wool animations of lemons squirting juice, a stove top heating, and breakfast being prepared are among the many short films Love has produced in her basement studio, as Colossal reported. You can view Love’s creations on Instagram and on AndreaAnimates.com.


Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


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