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There is a movie about extreme weather conditions combining at just the right place at just the right time to form a monster hurricane. It was based on a true story and starred, among other notable actors, George Clooney. Clooney played the captain of the ill-fated fishing boat, Andrea Gail, that perished along with her crew in the storm.

I’m starting to understand the concept.

I’ve been reading recently on blogs about how other RA patients deal/avoid the cold and flu season. Those of us on biologics and other medications have suppressed immune systems and can be at real risk with what might otherwise be a minor issue. As I thought about it, I realized how my exposure to germs has changed dramatically. I used to be a consultant and I’d leave my house in the morning (which is only occupied by my husband and myself) and go to my office, of which I was the only occupant. I didn’t participate in a lot of activities where I came in contact with large number of people, so my exposure was pretty limited.

I now work in a full office, and on top of that, we’ve recently added about 30 people to the office who, for reasons I won’t go into now, greatly increased my exposure to germs. Let’s just say that the company had to hire a day porter to clean the restrooms and breakrooms in the middle of the day because they can’t seem to clean up after themselves.

In addition, I’ve started working out on a regular basis. This puts me in close contact with a lot of germy surfaces. The workout facility is great. It’s the fitness center where my husband took cardiac rehab after his triple bypass. It’s run by the hospital, so it’s actually very clean. But there are a lot of people who use the facility and many of them are doctors or other medical staff from the hospital, and who knows what kinds of germs they’re walking around with on their clothes. (You should see the studies of what kinds of bacteria they’ve found on stethoscopes …)

So all this has combined to expose me to some sort of bacteria or virus and I now have the classic sore throat/cold that is rapidly settling down into my chest.

My various lymph glands are swollen, indicating that my immune system is in overdrive, pumping out all kinds of defense mechanisms to fight the bacteria/virus.

And what can happen to people with RA when their immune systems go into overdrive?

Golly, gee, gosh darn it, I’m also having a flare.

Fortunately, neither the cold nor the flare are too horrible, but couldn’t I just deal with one thing at a time?

(Whine, sigh, whine some more, sigh again.)

I hope the things to which you are exposed all bring you good feelings. Thanks for checking in.

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