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It's not the flu
This past weekend I hadn't been feeling my best. I had a sore throat and occasional chills, and fatigue, etc. The fatigue, etc could be explained by poor sleeping habits and similar lifestyle sundry. The sore throat was more worrisome.

What I didn't have: headache, fever, nasal congestion, excessive sneezing or coughing, massive body aches, or anything egregiously debilitating. So I didn't believe it was the flue.

In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised if a good nights sleep, getting current on my hypertension and diabetes meds, taking a long, hot, shower and immediately getting into warm, clean, clothes would make me feel 100% better. (On a side note, the washing machine we bought on Friday was delivered and installed today, so there should be less issue about warm, clean, clothes in the future). It almost did -- it made me feel confident about my health to go to Binghamton this last weekend -- but not confident enough to do things like drink from the same chalice as everyone else or similar potentially germ-spreading behaviors.

But the sore throat didn't go away. If anything, it got worse. It was worst in the mornings, got better over the course of the day, and then was real bad in the mornings again. It feels crunchy, and swallowing can feel like I'm dragging something hard and sharp over it.

I didn't go to Bound For Glory last night, telling them that I didn't feel like I was contagious, but not wanting to take a chance. This morning, I phoned my boss telling him that I'd rather go to the doctor than to work. I saw my doctor nominally at 3:10 this afternoon, and spent most of the day sleeping until then.

When I got the doctors, they immediately gave me a mask to put on, but within a couple of minutes of seeing the doctor, he told me I could take it off -- it's not right for H1N1, and it doesn't even sound right for anything viral. He had no comments about my ears or nose after he looked in them, and he said my lungs sounded clear. My throat is inflamed, and he seemed concerned about the lymph nodes in the neck.

He said there's a number of possibilities (he mentioned strep, I mentioned staph, he mentioned another bacterial possibility that I hadn't heard of and can't remember), took a throat swab to test for strep, and prescribed azythromycin. I'm cleared to work tomorrow, and there seems little risk of contagion.

I've already taken the initial dose of antibiotics, and I've 4 more days to go with it. I expect I'll probably be feeling a lot better by tomorrow morning or Wednesday, but I'm not stupid enough to stop taking the antibiotics simply because I feel better.

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this won't cure anything, but using a humidifier in the bedroom when you're sleeping will help make your throat less sore when you wake up. of course, you're probably breathing through your mouth because your nasal passages are congested... although additional humidity will help with that as well.

think the air in your bedroom doesn't need humidifying? determine the temperature in the room - probably somewhere around 70° F., give or take a degree or two. get the dew point - not the relative humidity - from a local weather report. right at the moment, the dew point here is 40° F. go to this website, plug in the numbers, and see what that makes the relative humidity in your room. using my numbers, i see that the humidity here in the computer room is 33%; the range for human comfort and health is 40% - 60%. the relationship between dew point and relative humidity vs. temperature is non-linear - at cooler temperatures, even 100% humidity (dew point and outdoor temperature the same), warming the air to household temperatures can easily result in extreme dryness indoors.

in other words, i think you've got what Heinlein referred to as "suit throat"...

So you think I need more humidification than my CPAP machine gives?

i'd almost bet on it. and i suspect that the machine isn't delivering as much humidification as it's supposed to - maybe it needs cleaning, or adjusting, or new gaskets, or something to improve its uptake of water vapor. (IANAD, of course...)

You may be right, but another datum:

In the past, I have had a number of occasions when I've slept in very dry air breathing through my mouth. And, yes, in the morning my mouth and throat are very dry and scratchy. But what' I'm getting now is a different sort of pain.

It may be that humidification is part of the issue, but if so, it's probably caused by a difficulty in preventing mouth-breathing than any problems with the CPAP machine.

in the Heinlein story, the air supply inside pressure suits was extremely dry, and people had to remember to sip frequently from their drinking-water supply. if you didn't, your mouth and throat would dry out, making them more susceptible to infection - "suit throat". this seemed to be something like strep, because it rapidly led to fever and general illness, which could become life-threatening if left untreated.

and isn't the CPAP machine supposed to prevent mouth-breathing?

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